The other day some of the parents and staff were trying to come up with the defining features of Bixby students. We thought by answering the central question of “who is a Bixby student?”, we could give prospective parents better insight into whether or not Bixby would be a good fit for their child/ren. We came up with myriad characteristics to describe typical Bixby kids (e.g., bright, curious, motivated, persistent, independent, resilient, creative, excited about learning and eager for challenges, etc.). Unfortunately we couldn’t find a concise way to fit all of these characteristics into a few short phrases and ultimately we left our conversation without a clear vision of how to describe a typical Bixby student.
Over the next few days my thoughts continued to return to this conversation. I wanted to find an answer to our initial question but as much as I tried to come up with a concise definition of a Bixby student I consistently failed. I thought perhaps there wasn’t an answer and a light bulb started to appear as I realized that was exactly the issue: We were not describing a specific type of child in describing Bixby students, we were describing children in general. All kids start out life bright, curious, motivated, persistent, independent, resilient, creative, excited about learning and eager for challenges. These are characteristics of all learners and Bixby students are no different.
As parents we see these characteristics of learners emerge the moment our children come into the world and we watch them persist through early childhood. No one year old stops trying to walk just because they fall down, nor do they stop trying to get food in their mouths just because they haven’t figured out how to use a spoon. If we provide a safe, loving environment with age-appropriate challenges then our children will naturally motivate themselves to master those challenges and they will grow and thrive in that environment. It is only in the absence of this safe, loving, age-appropriate, challenging environment that children stop trying to achieve mastery.
Bixby students themselves are no different from students at any other school, private or public. The characteristic that differentiates Bixby students from those at other schools is their parents: Bixby parents embrace the idea that children will learn best in an environment that enables them to maintain their natural curiosity, motivation, persistence, creativity, resilience and drive for independence. Bixby parents choose Bixby because they refuse to let their children see school, and by extension learning, as a task that interrupts their children’s natural exploration of and enthusiasm for the world around them. As much as we would all like to think our Bixby students are special, they are simply children who are given an appropriate environment in which to thrive. Bixby students excel in school and in life not because they are inherently brighter, more focused or better problem solvers than students at other schools, but because they never get the opportunity to see learning and taking on challenges as anything other than fun.
(Bixby now has a formal financial aid process to enable more parents to opt-in to a Bixby education for their children! Click here for more information.)
-Nicole, Bixby Parent