What’s so great about dry feet?
In one in-depth study, E-2 students spent a lot of time getting wet. Wading around in the Fort River, they learned about the water cycle, watersheds, river systems, and the history of the river. They examined topographical maps, examined macro-invertebrates, collected samples, and interpreted statistical water quality data. They interviewed and wrote about local river scientists, and learned about water wheels and the Industrial Revolution on a field trip to Lowell. Some even learned watercolor techniques and created water conservation brochures.
Elementary Years Curriculum
Elementary 1: Age 8-10
Elementary 2: Age 10-12
Students per class: 22-24
Teachers per class: 2
The River Study, a project-based learning experience, demonstrates The Common School’s teaching philosophy in action. The study was innovative, created by faculty in collaboration with staff, parents, and the local community. It was integrated throughout the E-2 curriculum, touching on math, ecology, history, geography, science, reading, writing, and the arts. And it was in-depth, giving students several months to literally ‘get their feet wet’ and then learn about a topic deeply and fully, from many angles.
In the Elementary classrooms, students are gaining strength as self-motivated and independent learners. They refine critical thinking skills as they carry out research projects, take on new leadership roles in the school, and consider current events. As children craft their writing, explore new aspects of mathematics, and negotiate social situations, they develop and consolidate a solid base of skills that will serve them in middle school and for years to come.
Elementary in-depth Studies in science may include a year of the Human Body and Light and Color, Geology and Nature (food, habitats, and the local environment), Birds, Botany, the Rain Forests, Electricity, Simple Machines, Chemistry, Design Technology (wind-powered vehicles), and Rivers. In-depth social studies might include Ancient Greece, Ancient China, Native Americans of the Plains, Mapping and Geography, Pioneers and the Changing West, Slavery, Abolition, and Civil War; Geography of South and Central America; Maya and Aztec Peoples; the Age of Exploration; Immigration.