TEACHERS and Pedagogy
Each of the school’s seven grades has two teachers in the homeroom and an the school maintains an overall student to teacher ratio of 6:1. The Classroom Heads teach the children Reading, Math, Expository and Creative Writing and Language Arts (spelling, grammar, vocabulary, penmanship and, in the older grades keyboarding). They also teach the History and Geography curriculum. Five other Head Teachers meet all of the children several times a week for music, Spanish, physical education, art and science.
The school’s pedagogical approach is both traditional and experiential. It blends traditional content, traditional methodologies and traditional expectations with creative and engaging teaching and student activity. We believe in the benefits of direct instruction and we hire teachers to teach. We know, within limits, that children can learn by active listening and not just through ‘hands on’ experiences. We use textbooks and workbooks to support much of our teaching, and we do regular classroom testing to measure the effectiveness of our instruction.
Our children, however, do many ‘hands-on’ activities as well, and their learning is often extended through research, field trips, and independent and collaborative projects, some lasting several weeks. We call our school The Learning Project for a reason—to highlight our belief that children also learn effectively when they are ‘doing’ their learning and when the curriculum provides them with organized, appropriately challenging, and purposeful activity to secure their knowledge and skills and deepen their understanding.
There are many ways of ‘doing learning.’ And while listening is an important one, and usually the precursor to all others, it is not the only way that children grow in their scholastic knowledge and skills, or in their goodness.