Learning for Life™
The Learning for Life™ Academy
The Learning for Life™ Academy is a classroom-based educational program developed at Hearthstone for adults experiencing cognitive challenges and early dementia. This innovative learning program features curricula developed cooperatively between students and their teachers in order to tailor individual learning experiences.
Learning for Life™ teachers are ‘Directors of Learning’. Learning for Life™ students are ‘Scholars’. These titles—selected by our first class of students—represent a cooperative relationship between student and teacher that adult students find both dignified and individual.
Learning for Life™ Is Evidence-Based
Our ‘Directors of Learning’ teaching staff are trained in best-practice teaching approaches, which include:
- The I’m Still Here® approach to communication, structuring time and classroom design;
- Montessori-style learning, in which students and teachers develop curricula together and match the information delivery systems to each student’s preferred and most effective learning styles
- Open-structure learning settings like Hampshire College and the global Road Scholar program for elders.
Our participant student ‘Scholars’ are motivated by their own curiosity to pursue new learning creatively and with full engagement. Scholar-developed curricula change periodically as new subject matter becomes relevant.
Sample subject areas selected by our scholars include:
- Modern cookery and recipes: Italian, Middle-Eastern, French
- A tourist in Italy: Venice, Florence, Rome
- Outer space: history of the US space program
- Listening to classical music: Mozart, Bach, Beethoven
- Painting in water-colors or acrylic
- Fashioning festive table decorations
- Discovering history: the Middle Ages, the Elizabethans, the Civil War
- Automotive: from simple engine tune-ups to modern car design
- Growing an herbal garden
Learning for Life™ Learning Includes:
- Reading and discussing selected published articles and book selections
- Hands-on trials and practice
- Presentations and discussion with visiting lecturers
- Organized site visits to community institutions, such as the planetarium when studying the space program or a butterfly museum when studying metamorphosis
- Online learning material
Evidence-Based Practices for Effective Learning:
- Learning for Life™ routines support procedural learning and memory functions — learning abilities that remain for life.
- Learning for Life™ course selections offer structured choice that supports a positive self-image without creating anxiety.
- Learning for Life™ presentations, discussions and subject-matter information are presented in clear and manageable bits so each one is easily digested.
- Learning for Life™ elicits and draws on the hard-wired capacities of scholars—for example, procedural learning capacity..
- Learning for Life™ teaching employs short-term external memory cues—templates—for all complex instructions.
Learning for Life™ Goals
Our overall Learning for Life™ goal is to provide adults with memory/cognitive issues and early-stage dementia a meaningful life worth living through learning. Results of Learning for Life™ programs include measurably positive outcomes, that include:
- Sustained engagement
- Improved self-awareness
- Improved self-definition
- Continued learning
- Feeling of belonging
- Permission to be vulnerable
- Sense of social support
- Having a fulfilling role — that others recognize — as a Learning for Life™ scholar
It is important to note that the Learning for Life™ Academy is not a day services or adult “day care” program. If our senior scholars were not here on a voluntary, personal quest to expand their knowledge and improve their brain health, these goals and outcomes would not be achievable.
Contact us to find out more about setting up Learning for Life™ for Assisted Living and Memory Care residents and their families.
The Learning for Life™ mission is to engage adults living with cognitive challenges in meaningful learning pursuits, providing them with self-esteem, a role in the community and A Life Worth Living.