What we believe
about learning

The goal of school should be to create lifelong learners, but traditional schools often turn learning into a chore that dampens kids' natural curiosity. Our curriculum is carefully designed to meet all the goals of our Learning Framework, while delivering an experience that is stimulating, empowering and relevant to kids.

Hard Fun

Kids will spend hours doing something challenging if they’re having fun. In fact, most kids love doing hard things and crave interesting problems to solve. We design a curriculum that encourages “hard fun:” the enjoyment that comes from being deeply absorbed in a challenging learning experience.  

Learning Values

Prisma's "secret sauce" for getting kids to love school? Decades of cutting-edge education research have given us the insights we need to spark motivation and engagement in learning. Here are the principles we live by:

  • Learning happens through making & doing.
    Lectures and worksheets aren’t only boring, they’re ineffective at pushing kids to take ownership of new skills & concepts. Instead of simply regurgitating information, Prisma learners make their learning visible & tangible by building websites, designing exhibits, and user testing new inventions.
  • Learning isn't one-size-fits-all.
    The Prisma curriculum is personalized in two ways. First, we personalize to learners’ interests, giving them opportunities to tailor their learning to their passions. Second, we personalize to learners’ abilities, supporting them in learning at the pace and depth most appropriate for them.
  • Learning should have a purpose in the real world.
    Learners should never ask “Why do I need to know this?” We prepare kids to tackle the world’s most urgent challenges, not just pass standardized tests. Kids draw connections between what they are learning and applications in real contexts by real people.
  • Learning happens in community.
    Sharing with peers helps kids clarify their ideas and motivates them to do their best. Even when learning from home, Prisma learners are never alone. We build intimate cohorts of learners that know each other well and push each other to be better, within a global network of diverse peers all over the world.
  • The deepest learning is driven by intrinsic motivation, not external rewards.
    The traditional system of grades and high-stakes tests has been proven to hinder the growth mindset of all kids, even kids who earn A’s. Our mastery-based assessment system, where kids revise their work based on feedback, encourages kids to take risks rather than do the minimum.

Project-based learning

Research shows that learning through projects is not simply more fun & engaging for kids. Project-based learning also leads to deeper understanding of concepts and skills, because kids need to apply their learning to a real-world situation. Creating projects also helps kids build key skills for future success, such as goal setting, project management, and giving & getting feedback. Most importantly, finishing a project gives kids a sense of pride and purpose. Prisma learners choose a project to complete during each learning cycle, and present their projects to peers and parents at a celebratory Expo Day. Over time, learners build a rich portfolio of creative project-based work that showcases their abilities and sets them up for success in future endeavors.

Interdisciplinary learning

What school subjects did you use in your work today? You probably would have a hard time pinpointing. The real world is not a tidy collection of compartmentalized subjects! Solving real-world problems requires a synthesis of knowledge and skills from various disciplines. At Prisma, our curriculum is organized into interdisciplinary themes that blend traditional academic subjects together.

Our curriculum design team (with experts in all school subjects) used an iterative process to create a framework of key skills across subjects that learners should master from Grades 4-12. We cross-reference a map of these skills with engaging, real-world topics to develop our themes. Past interdisciplinary themes have included Build a Business (economics, math, design thinking, web design), World of Wonder (earth science, poetry, visual art), and Unsolved Mysteries (history, journalism, and technology).

1:1 Coaching

Learners who receive individualized attention and feedback consistently perform two standard deviations better than those who receive conventional classroom instruction. Personalized coaching enables learners to set specific goals, identify areas of improvement, and receive targeted feedback in real-time. At Prisma, each learner is matched with a mentor coach who builds a strong connection with them, meets with them regularly, and provides rich feedback on their academic work. This approach fosters a deeper understanding that helps learners achieve their full potential.

What families are saying

Testimonial Image

My daughter is thriving in an environment that allows her to control her own destiny. I don't want to go back to the days of my daughter complaining about teachers and curriculum that she felt were negatively affecting her love of learning.

Brad White  Parent of Prisma learner
Testimonial Image

It has been a true joy for us to listen in on his conversations and hear how he's working with others and excited to get the work done. One of his initial concerns was that because it was digital, he wouldn't make any friends. His favorite thing at dinner the other day was that "I made two friends already!”

Tarar Stand  Parent of Prisma learner
Testimonial Image

The attention and care for the kids is so clear and just exudes from the screen. It is so clear that there is a connection being formed—a bond between the kids and the coaches.

John Anderson  Parent of Prisma learner
Ready to take the next step?
Apply now