Our Approach

We believe that learning begins with curiosity. From kindergarten through 12th grade, every Clonlara student learns through an individualized, meaningful, and relevant process called Full Circle Learning. This research-supported method encourages students to formulate questions and discover answers about subjects that capture their attention, leading them to deeper understandings that they are able to share, challenge, and extend.

Full Circle Learning encompasses Clonlara’s mission and philosophy, offering a tangible framework that empowers each learner to take charge of their own education. The method is applicable at all age levels and is inclusive of all students regardless of learning style and differences. As you read the following descriptions of each step in the process, please note that they do not necessarily have to occur in order, depending on the step that is most relevant to a student’s learning at the time.

Choose a topic or explore your interests. Brainstorm what you want to learn or explore. Consider your curiosities, interests, strengths, goals, challenges, passions, talents, and needs.

Research is the identification of resources, a mentor, and the amount of time to be spent on the study. It is the laying of the groundwork for the proposal, the determination of how to dig deeper into the topic and how to approach the topic/project. It also includes setting the end goal of the study.

What do you hope to discover? How will you learn about this? What resources will you use?

  • People
  • Places (field trips)
  • Internet
  • Books, etc.

The Mentor can be a parent, teacher, tutor, community member, family member, another student or an expert in the subject.

Fieldwork can include: creating, constructing, doing, reading, researching, watching, experimenting, practicing, modifying, experiencing, following assignments and/or writing about the topic. It is the step in which the student progresses from a simple knowledge base to discovery of new content or greater skill. Fieldwork may be done in any environment: a lab, a library, a trip, a classroom, or a group, for example.

The Summary is the record of the learning experience. It includes a listing of the resources used, the discoveries made, and the student’s experiences during the study. Progress Report Forms are completed by the Mentor.

The Portfolio is a completed product that shows the learning experience. It is presented in a format that best illustrates both the topic and the learning process.

The Presentation may be an exhibit, a demonstration, a performance, a speech, or a meeting with a support team to discuss the learning progress. It may be a sharing of skills and knowledge in a tutoring session. It may be completely oral, or it may include written materials and visual displays.

The Reflection process address questions such as: “What did you learn about yourself?” “What did you discover about how you learn?” “What curiosities and interests have you developed out of this experience?” “What worked and what didn’t?” This may be shared in multiple places, including the summary, portfolio, presentation and/or Progress Report.