At the 9 – 12 level hands-on, project-based learning is a critical part of the classroom as fundamental skills continue to solidify and children become increasingly independent and motivated learners. Students in this stage move from concrete representation to abstract thinking, starting to bring order to various disconnected facts and increasingly able to think hypothetically.
Work journals allow students to set personal goals and several long-term projects refine research and writing skills. These projects demand strong organizational abilities and build executive functioning. Technology also plays an important role in the classroom as students explore these powerful new tools of research, discovery and expression. From a beautifully calligraphied letter to a flash animation project depicting a famous battle scene, creativity is woven throughout the student’s work.
Children’s interests frequently take them out of the classroom for small group field trips to further research. Two popular sites are the Farmessori, NNM’s urban garden, and Nature’s Classroom Institute where students participate in team building, environmental studies and historical simulations. Spanish lessons are given three times a week to expose students to the culture of Spanish speaking countries as well as build vocabulary, grammar, speaking, reading and writing in a foreign language. The 9 – 12 level also includes exposure to curricular music instruction with a weekly class as well as participation in our band program or private music instruction and fine arts electives.
For more information and insight check out elementary director Anne Matern’s blog.