Choice I, II and III offer young people the chance to explore eight different content areas of their choice each year over the course of four 8-week segments. For example, a youth might spend the first 8 weeks of the year engaged in Spanish or Cooking and Chemistry each Wednesday morning, have lunch and community-building social time, then move on to Lego Mindstorms or Woodworking for the afternoon. New Choices are offered every eight weeks. For each of the four 8-week segments, there are two or three morning and two or three afternoon options from which to choose. Our goal is to provide new input, appropriate amounts of invited instruction, and space for self-motivation to emerge. The 8-week segment format of these programs allows for youth to truly immerse themselves in subject/ content-specific areas for an extended period of time.
The middle hour of the Choice day is a chance for young people who have been in different pursuits to come together and reconnect through Check-in. This is followed by outside games and, in true Choice fashion, some weeks the youth choose the game, while other weeks the Facilitators select the group activity. The staff choose games that will build stronger ties within the group and allow young people to be challenged by activities or roles that are new to them. For instance, a young person who is generally reserved might be given a leadership role in a game, while a more extroverted youth may be given a role that encourages him or her to develop observation skills. Some weeks these collaborative games are played within the young person’s individual Choice program and others are played as a whole community. This gives everyone an opportunity to connect and build skills in working with people of various ages. As always, the goal is to provide an atmosphere that fosters deep connection-making and respectful interactions among both peers and Facilitators. This middle hour of the day has proven to be a valuable time for young people to tap into their Interpersonal and Bodily Kinesthetic Intelligences in a safe and nurturing environment.
The Choice programs are scaled to meet the developmental, social and academic needs of the youth, with Choice I serving as a building block for Choice II, and Choice II preparing pre-teens for the content they will be exposed to in Choice III.
Choice programs are likely a fit for youth who: are seeking Facilitator-initiated activities (that still, of course, incorporate some ideas and wishes from the youth); and show a desire to participate in collaborative/group activities.
Choice I is likely a fit for youth who: are reading and writing independently (for content and discussion), and demonstrate proficiency in adding and subtracting.
Choice II is likely a fit for youth who: have mastered the skills outlined above and also demonstrate proficiency in multiplying and dividing, reading aloud in a group setting, and engaging in group discussions and debates.
Choice III is likely a fit for youth who: have demonstrated proficiency in the skills outlined above, and who are also proficient in basic mathematical operations, including long division and multiple-digit multiplication; demonstrate ability to follow and contribute to oral discussions and debates; show ability to write proficiently for communication; handle peer challenges directly (as opposed to engaging in gossip); and seek Facilitator support or guidance whenever deemed necessary.