Parent-Teacher Cooperation

The ‘Art’ of Educating Our Kids

The Lab School is an innovative learning environment – grounded in arts education, individual support, and a hands-on curriculum – that may be just what the doctor ordered for kids with ADHD or LD.

Non-traditional learning at school with ADHD kids working in garden
Non-traditional learning at school with ADHD kids working in garden

Imagine your child going to a school where the teachers and students “get him.” Imagine a school where he doesn’t have to feel bad about having a learning difference and/or an IEP. It’s the norm there.

Imagine a curriculum that uses the arts — visual and performing – to teach math, reading, and other academic subjects. The Lab School of Washington — a day school for children with dyslexia, ADHD, and learning differences — offers all of those benefits, from first grade through high school.

“We understand that your child learns differently, and that the way his or her brain is wired makes the traditional learning process hard,” says Katherine Schantz, head of school. “But we have proven, over 45 years, that our non-traditional, arts-infused teaching methods are effective in helping a child master academics.”

The Lab School has a great vibe: The curriculum is multi-sensory, experiential and hands-on, and rigorous. Students benefit from small class sizes and an unusually low student/teacher ratio. Many public schools don’t understand ADHD or support students diagnosed with it, but The Lab School gives individual attention, recognition, and positive reinforcement to young learners.

Teachers at The Lab School have a saying: “If the teaching isn’t working, change the teaching.” Teachers spend a lot of time trying out and implementing strategies to unlock each student’s potential. Most of them have master’s degrees, and all are trained in diagnostic-prescriptive teaching and intensive academic remediation.

Students at The Lab School benefit from one-on-one evaluations, resulting in academic strategies that meet their needs. Although some clinical services are integrated into the classroom, a child may need additional services to ensure that he succeeds. The majority of students at the school receive some level of clinical support.

The Lab School knows that parents are a critical part of their child’s success at school, so it offers lectures from top ADHD and LD experts to nurture the opportunities and navigate the challenges that learning differences can present.

Challenge, revelation, collaboration, reflection, revision, production – these are crucial to The Lab School’s approach to education. “Using art as a gateway to rigorous academics, we recognize our students’ potential, identify their strengths, and approach their ‘differences’ as advantages,” says Schantz.