Intellectual Playfulness Drives Our Practice
Few schools have intellectual playfulness as one of the main pillars of their classrooms. It is a powerful approach to engage students in learning and to prepare them for the complexities of today’s world as teachers encourage open-ended problem-solving and academic risk-taking. As a residential community in which students and faculty learn, play, and live together, we have a uniquely rich opportunity to design learning experiences that spark delight and wonder along the path to deeper learning. We believe that joyful classrooms today create students who will be learners for a lifetime—learners who are better able to manage life’s inevitable stresses because they have experienced the lasting joy that comes from discovery and sincere engagement. Moving onward from VES, students will be better able to recognize opportunities and solutions because they’ve learned to value and enjoy the process of searching for them above memorizing the answers alone.
Small classes. Big ideas. A place where you'll find joy in learning.
When you attend classes at VES, you can expect challenging, thought-provoking and intellectually playful learning. You will find teachers who are passionate about what they teach and invested in your success.
VES classes are purposefully small—with an average of 12 students—so your voice and your ideas are important to the conversation.
Our faculty create lessons that spark delight and wonder along the path to deeper learning—fostering your curiosity and working together to formulate insightful questions, tee up new ideas, and collaborate on designing solutions.
VES teachers use a wide variety of teaching and learning activities to keep classes dynamic and engaging for each individual student, including project-based and place-based learning to Harkness discussions and guided inquiry.
Throughout the year, students showcase personal examples of learning inside and outside of the classroom to their peers, our faculty and staff, parents, the Board of Trustees and our broader Lynchburg community.
And our teachers are committed to being accessible for extra help and support. Students are encouraged to drop by teachers' offices for assistance or to explore a topic more deeply, talk with them at seated meals, seek guidance in daytime and evening study halls or catch up on the weekend. And for students needing specific support, learn more about our Learning Resources Program. Individual attention and encouragement creates self-assurance, giving our students not only the support to succeed, but also the desire to achieve their best.
Hear Mimi Csatlos, director of College Counseling and Advanced Studies coordinator, discuss the pillars of our academic philosophy and how they play out in our teaching and learning.
At VES, our faculty are designers , and we are committed to an Academic Philosophy in which:
- Dynamic questions shape our content, experiences, perspectives and outcomes.
- Intellectual playfulness drives our practice.
- Creative thinkers and producers are our goal—committed to making beautiful work and communicating effectively, with one another and throughout the world.