Unity. Diversity. Leadership.
A Holistic Approach
At The Schoolhouse, social and emotional development are as important as academic growth. Through a lens of social and environmental justice, students are encouraged and supported in developing age-appropriate and sophisticated ways of working together and being a part of a broader community, whether in multi-age classrooms, pairings of younger and older students as job partners or reading buddies, or taking in new experiences together off-campus. At morning and afternoon circles, they learn to be good listeners and take an interest in each other's ideas. When there are breaches of our Five Core Concepts, teachers take the opportunity to model compassion, accountability, and problem solving.
One School, Three Programs
The Schoolhouse welcomes students as young as age 2 all the way through 8th grade, with a preschool, an elementary school, and a middle school. Story Time at The Schoolhouse serves children ages 2-4 years old. The elementary program has three multi-age classrooms: the Alphas (pre-k, kindergarten-1st grade); the Taus (2nd-3rd grade); and the Sophos (4th-5th grade). The Deltas are our middle school students (6th-8th grade).
Although the preschool follows a play- and nature-based curriculum, all three programs share the same educational values:
Joy in learning
Diversity and cultural awareness
Respect for each child’s individual learning style
Academic excellence for each child
Self-direction and self-regulation
Cooperative and collaborative learning
Development of problem-solving and leadership skills
Hands-on, project-based learning is the hallmark of a Schoolhouse education, and we strive for an integrated curriculum. Join our students as they press cider from apples they picked on the playground. Sip pine needle tea brewed over an open fire at Skunk Hollow. Listen to the drumming, strumming, singing and laughter drifting from a music class in the Community Room. Follow a group of Farm Food Forest explorers through the woods at Bread and Butter Farm, as they discover animal tracks and vernal pools. Wind your way through the Cultural or Scientific Displays in the gym, and have lively conversations with elementary and middle school student researchers who’ve:
written or dictated stories;
created their own tools and musical instruments;
drawn illustrations, maps, and charts;
built 3-D models or prepared hands-on demonstrations of basic principles.
At all points, you’ll see children working together, naturally integrating their inquiries across subjects. You’ll see teachers encouraging them to take ownership of their education – and you’ll see us having fun.
What is an Integrated Curriculum?
Simply put, it’s about making connections. Because of the hands-on nature of many activities, students are able to link new skills with new knowledge, spurring insights across multiple areas of learning. The Schoolhouse strives for these authentic connections between and within traditional subject areas at all levels, from the play- and nature-based curriculum of the preschool through the community-based projects in the middle school.
Our multi-age classrooms are another of Schoolhouse’s great strengths, and the daily schedule further encourages interactions between children of all ages. Students come together as job partners and reading buddies, while playing at recess or eating lunch, learning together in Short Courses, and participating in school-wide meetings and events.
Beginning in the Tau classroom, students are introduced to using computers for age-appropriate research and exploration. Our preschool children and youngest elementary students do not access our computer technology.
Adaptive programs such as speech-to-text and audiobooks are also used to meet individual needs and remove barriers to positive learning experiences. In the Sophos classroom, students are issued individual Chromebooks and begin to use software for more sophisticated work management and documentation, in preparation for middle school.
At all levels, The Schoolhouse teaches responsible, respectful use of technology, and families and students sign formal agreements acknowledging their responsibilities.
Our school library is an important resource for all our students. Centrally located in the shared space of the Community Room, the library is where students go to research their Display topics, spend time with a reading buddy, or check out materials to take home. With its book-lined shelves, small group tables, stacks of board games, beanbag chairs and comfy nooks, students are drawn in and feel right at home. The wide open space in the middle is perfect for morning and afternoon circles, and for special gatherings. For everyone in our community, we maintain an updated digital library catalog. Recently, our Anti-Bias/Anti-Racism (ABAR) Committee has begun to inventory all of our books, with the goal of assessing and improving the diversity and representation of our titles.
Schoolhouse teachers continually assess students throughout the year, as children work on mastering core skills through integrated instruction and project-based activities. Planning Time is a critical component of the Elementary and Middle School assessment process; it gives students autonomy and allows teachers to gauge proficiencies without the use of formal testing. The same freedom and assessment process can be seen in our Story Time preschool, with continual assessments made throughout Free Choice programming and a commitment to Play-Based Learning.
To keep families apprised of students' work, teachers have formal conferences with grown-ups throughout the year to set goals, discuss progress and challenges, and to address any concerns that haven’t been brought up at other times. In addition to conferences, families also receive detailed written narrative assessments at the end of each semester; students do not receive letter or number grades.