Our Academic Goal
To develop freedom of thought
We want to get kids excited about learning;
to foster their creativity and capacity for solving problems.
As described by the great physicist Richard Feynman, we see our subject less specifically in terms of math and more generally in terms of developing freedom of thought: "What we have been doing in the past is teaching just one fixed way to do arithmetic problems, instead of teaching flexibility of mind - the various possible ways of writing down a problem, the possible ways of thinking about it, and the possible ways of getting at the problem."
Our goal is therefore to teach "a new subject in a sense - an attitude of mind toward numbers and toward mathematical questions which is precisely that attitude of mind which is so successful later in technical applications of mathematics."
Our Social Goal
To build community
We aim to create a different kind of environment for our kids.
We ask our kids not just to respect each other, but to care for one another.
We organize our students into teams with near-peer mentors to leverage
the power of example and self-improvement.
And then we encourage kids to approach social problems with the same flexibility of mind that they approach mathematical problems.
The community this builds provides a space for students to let go of motivation based on fear and the need for status, and to instead develop motivation based on self-expression, connection, and the inherent enjoyment of possibility.
In a country where children are growing up surrounded by violence and trauma,
and often given little opportunity for self-expression or creativity,
our combination of mathematical and social problem solving is a form of healing centered engagement.