Learning Village Grades 5 - 8
The Learning Village Grades 5 - 8 curriculum weaves disparate threads. Traditional content and skills coexist with new forms of instruction and application.
Instead of merely combining the old and new, the School reimagines the academic context to create a bold paradigm of learning in which students learn through a variety of methods: collaboration, seminar discussions, student-centered activities, and real-life problem solving requiring critical and creative thinking.
All students study English, history, mathematics, science, world languages (offerings in Spanish, French and Latin), and fine arts, and participate in physical education or sports. In seventh and eighth grade, students choose from a variety of electives which allow them to explore their passions. The academic program is designed to build strong foundations in reading, writing, speaking, critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration.
Interdisciplinary study truly begins in grades five through eight, as evidenced by our humanities program commencing in the seventh grade. Another example is the School’s Computer Science Initiative, which brings together mathematical knowledge and fluency gleaned from our Kindergarten through grade six Singapore Math program, computational thinking, and an understanding of coding. Breaking down the traditional silos of academic disciplines better serves to cement understanding in our students.
Stretching students to learn in new and exciting ways makes our School vibrant.
The approach to instruction is flexible, too, and it is informed by research and our faculty’s experience. Our fifth and sixth grade math and science classes are taught in single-gender groupings, which allow teachers to optimize instructional and motivational techniques. To better meet the needs of our diverse group of students, ability grouping in mathematics begins in seventh grade, which allows more opportunities for differentiation.
Instead of homerooms, Advisory groups consisting of a faculty member and a small number of students meet four days a week. The Advisory program centers on team building, leadership, and character development. The teacher is an advocate for his/her advisees, oversees their academic progress, and meets with their parents at scheduled parent-teacher conferences during the year. After grades have been posted, Advisors meet with each of their advisees to discuss their grades and comments and set goals for the next grading period.
Away from the traditional classroom, students have the chance to collaborate with each other, build fine and gross motor skills, and challenge themselves in different ways. One avenue is through adventure education, which can involve backpacking, mountain biking, and rock climbing. Another example is orchestra, a required class in fifth grade and an optional class in the grades following, which provides another team-oriented discipline and culminates in performances twice a year.
As students gain content mastery, skills, confidence and self-knowledge in interdisciplinary classes, they also can find challenge in non-traditional ways. In the Learning Village Grades 5 – 8, the School offers curricular and co-curricular opportunities for all.