Early-childhood students thrive in Nueva's structured freedom. Play serves as the primary learning vehicle for young children, encouraging them to develop confidence, create, and explore. With opportunities to suggest activities and shape classroom themes, students learn to be active participants in their education.
In the half-day prekindergarten program, students develop social skills while expanding their horizons through hands-on exploration in and out of the classroom. Children develop gross motor skills while navigating daily outdoor and indoor activities. Kindergartners take an active role in selecting a theme of study by gathering suggestions, discussing ideas, debating pros and cons, voting, and arriving at consensus. Teachers schedule field trips and expert speakers to further enrich the thematic model.
As students enter first grade and devote more time to developing reading, spelling, and math skills, Nueva's structure allows them to work at their own pace. Flexibility is crucial for gifted children, who often have areas of significant strength and other developing areas. Teachers nurture individual strengths and areas for continued growth by tapping into children's passions and interests. While teachers guide coursework and cover skills, students take charge of their learning processes and challenge themselves to go as far as they can.
Elementary teachers build on the foundation laid in previous grades by providing extended opportunities for independent learning. Children play an important role in developing curricula through project-based themes and are encouraged to explore individual areas of interest. This thematic approach provides powerful experiences as students are directly invested in the intellectual process and have a meaningful connection to, and mastery of, subject matter.
With teacher guidance, students design ways to solve math problems, structure creative writing pieces, and organize projects. Children reflect on their learning and consider how to apply knowledge to their lives. By providing students with open-ended projects, teachers help students define problems, set goals, and learn time-management techniques in an atmosphere that celebrates inquiry and collaboration. The program addresses children's range of abilities by using differentiated curricula and fostering open communication among classmates, and between students and teachers.
In grades 2–4, a theme is sustained over an entire year. Throughout the theme unit, core subjects such as math, science, and language arts are incorporated into the class theme. The year culminates in a variety of ways (performing a play, living museum, etc.) and is usually driven by the classes' curriculum and the children's interests.