Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith


They may not be Scientologists, but Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith show a lot of support for the controversial religion.

The Hollywood power couple are two of the big-name founders of a new private elementary school near Los Angeles that will incorporate a teaching method developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and employ some teachers who are church members.

The nondenominational New Village Academy in Calabasas will open Sept. 3 and welcome children of all religious backgrounds. It grew out of a home school designed for the Smith's youngest kids Jaden, 9, and Willow, 7, who appears in Kit Kittredge: An American Girl.

"About 10 years ago, Jada and I started dreaming about the possibility of creating an ideal educational environment, where children could feel happy, positive and excited about learning," said the Hancock star who recently defended his Scientologist friend Tom Cruise.

He added, "New Village Academy was born of a simple question: Is it possible to create an educational environment in which children have fun learning? Jada and I believe the answer is yes."

A Hubbard-influenced teaching method called "study technology" will be applied. It focuses on hands-on experience, mastering a subject before moving on and not reading past words students don't understand.

Among the reading, writing and 'rithmatic classes, the curriculum includes living skills, robotics, yoga, etiquette and technology. The school also has a no-sugar policy and encourages parents to limit their children's television time.

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