From Pre-K through high-school, students at New Hope Academy are guided to consider issues, to question, and to contemplate the steps for making intentional choices. Students and staff are encouraged to examine: who I am, how I live, how I make my life choices, how I take responsibility for my choices, and to consider how my choices impact others. Integrity and commitment to values is interwoven into the curriculum and consciously modeled in interpersonal relationships within the school community. Education is defined as life-long learning through continued self-reflection, leading to autonomy and self-mastery.
A commitment to volunteerism and Service Learning fosters student’s awareness of how to substantially create a peaceful and loving world. By providing opportunities for older students to mentor and work with younger students, children learn leadership, empathy, mutual respect, and how to nurture others. Virtues are examined through weekly themes using stories, personal experiences, videos, and guided discussions.
Problems are seen as opportunities to grow and simple techniques are modeled to help everyone develop skills in consistent conflict resolution. We provide an environment where children can take safe risks, face challenges and even fail, enabling them to develop perseverance and resiliency.
To gains skills with inter-cultural competency, which are needed to successfully navigate our global community, educators must model and encourage students to consciously experience and embrace diversity. At New Hope Academy we explore many levels of diversity from ability, race, nationality, age, ethnicity, religion and culture. We share food, music, literature, dramatic arts and dance from many cultures and religions.
Students learn languages beginning in the preschool with American Sign Language (ASL), and move on to study both Korean and Spanish, eventually concentrating on one language within a semi-emersion environment. New Hope Academy has the most comprehensive Korean foreign language program in the U.S. A. today, teaching K-12th grades. Qualified Upper School students may participate with Youth For Understanding to study abroad.
Around 20% of our upper-school is comprised of international students from a variety of countries. We have created a unique English language and culture intensive program, to support our international students English acquisition needs.
For 20 years annually, The New Hope Gambia Project sponsors a 3 week humanitarian aid venture to The Gambia with student, faculty and parent volunteers. The New Hope community sponsors scholarships for over 50 Gambian students per year to attend schools in The Gambia, the smallest and one of the poorest countries in Africa. An upper-school elective, the International Development Class, provides students with real-life experience by acting as agency staff resourcing and securing surplus medical equipment for hospitals in The Gambia. Students learn professional and business skills needed for global community effectiveness in the not-for-profit sector.
True empathy comes through understanding and appreciating the value of people who are different and the deeper realization that we all share common hopes and dreams. Personal exposure to ideas, values and beliefs of others are needed to create true connection and friendship with others. Interacting with other people and understanding their situation also helps children feel gratitude and appreciation for what they have, and empathy for those who have less.
Children need to interact with nature to appreciate and become good stewards of the environment. Children at New Hope Academy are growing gardens and playing in unique nature-based playgrounds that include a labyrinth, outdoor musical instruments, and living willow structures. Our 8-acre wooded campus is a living outdoor laboratory for environmental education.
Partnering with the University of Maryland’s Landscape and Storm Water Management Departments our students have worked with undergrad and graduate students to design and plan nature playgrounds and gardens. In the process we discovered significant storm water management issues on our land and the adjacent Town of Landover Hills property. We applied for and have been awarded several grants, from Chesapeake Bay Trust and the EPA and are now entering the implementation phase for green solutions to these issues, including bio-swells, rain gardens, permeable pavers, a demonstration green roof and cisterns.
In preschool the children begin planting gardens, and harvesting and eating their bounty. Composting, recycling programs, time for ample recess and physical activities, and lessons on nutrition all help the students to appreciate the miracle of life. The students learn how to take responsibility for their personal health as well as the wellbeing of the natural world around them.