by Paul Romani (M.Ed.)

Does Pear Tree’s Approach Help Kids With Focusing Problems?

by Paul Romani (M.Ed.)

If you have a child diagnosed with or displaying symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or ADHD (ADD with hyperactivity), you might be wondering if Pear Tree School would be the right fit for your child.

There isn’t simple answer to this. The issue is that for any student to learn in any educational setting, they have to physically be able to focus.

On the one hand, the educational setting can help or hinder a child’s ability to focus. Pear Tree School, for example, uses a uniquely engaging educational approach that incorporates:

  • Theme-based learning (where school subjects, knowledge and skills are taught in real-life context – making learning meaningful, and therefore engaging!)
  • Project-based / Inquiry-based / Problem-based learning
  • Hands-on learning (i.e. the students learn by doing, rather than simply watching/listening)
  • Masters-qualified teachers / mentors (learning with amazing teachers increases student engagement)
  • Daily physical education (to nurture the production and release of students’ energy levels)
  • Mandatory healthy hot lunch program (to ensure optimal brain development, body nutrition, and healthy energy levels throughout the day)

If you haven’t already done so, watch our promotional video for a snapshot of our amazing approach!

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Compare this to a traditional learning environment that would have none of these things, and would therefore lead to boredom, distraction, apathy, ‘bad’ behaviour (i.e. disruptions), etc. On the other hand, if a child isn’t able to control their brains because of chemical balances, neurological disorders, etc., no educational approach will work for them, because the child is incapable of focusing. As such, successful learning is always a combination of:

  • The school (setting / approach / environment)
  • The child (their ability and willingness to learn)
  • The family (their support for the school/child and reinforcement of shared goals)

While our school is intended for average children to get the best possible education (i.e. we are not a school designed for children with kind of extreme needs), we do have a couple of students who are on medication for minor attention disorders. Nevertheless, those families work very closely with us to ensure they, too, are supporting our goals/expectations. And, to some extent, the child was already able to learn; the medication simply enhanced that ability. Bear in mind that all families that attend any private school want the best educational environment for their children; they do not expect their children to be exposed to extreme negative behaviours that potentially harm their child or affect their child’s learning experience! That’s partly what they are paying for. Consequently, in spite of the student examples I have mentioned, there are many students who we have not accepted, because we have felt that the child and/or lack of family support would negatively impact our school, including our students. Overall, while as a parent, you have questions for us about how we can help your child, we would likewise ask you – the child’s family – how you would help us educate them?

  • What is being done to help your child be able to focus in a great educational setting like Pear Tree Elementary?
  • How would you support us with the child’s education?
  • Have you consulted a pediatrician and/or child psychologist?

Ultimately, we only accept families that support our progressive educational approach, which means that the families have to understand what we do, why we do these things, and support us with those academic, social/emotional, and physical objectives.