Children enter this world with a sense of wonder that propels them to explore, invent, and discover. At Heritage School, we want to nurture question-making, theory-testing, and goal-setting. We want our students to aim high, to forge ahead undaunted by mistakes, and to savor the intrinsic rewards that accompany active learning. A rich and varied curriculum that fosters choice within a universe of carefully planned options supports unlimited possibilities. Children are capable of thriving in an atmosphere that both nurtures and challenges, that both allows collaboration and fosters independence.
We believe that in our rapidly changing world children need a solid proficiency in the foundational academic skills as well as versatility and the ability to "learn how to learn." Study skills deserve a great deal of emphasis with even the youngest students. Heritage School operates on the premise that learning should be joyful, personal, and tailored to each child's academic needs. Informal evaluation and consultation with parents, as well as formal testing, help determine how to individualize the program for each student.
Testing does not drive our curriculum. We do not use tests as motivating devices. We use a variety of inventories and tests, including standardized tests, for diagnostic purposes. When we administer standardized tests (which occurs very infrequently), we do so individually, respecting the dignity and privacy of each child. We avoid comparing students’ scores. We do not use letter grades at Heritage School. We report students’ progress by way of parent conferences, which students help lead, and via a comprehensive year-end evaluation report. Our students also contribute by completing in depth self evaluations. The students receive individual private conferences with their teacher to review progress and discuss goals.
Thematic studies, the heart of our curriculum, allow Heritage students to explore topics in depth, such as marine biology, the Middle Ages, Native Americans, and the human body. Weaving together math, science, history, art, literature, and writing within thematic studies generates breadth as well as depth in learning. Culminating projects, like oral presentations, international festivals, and drama foster innovation, creativity, and confidence as students share what they have learned.
Next: Our Philosophy
"Children need to be themselves, to live with other children and with grownups, to learn from their environment, to enjoy the present, to get ready for the future, to create and to love, to learn to face adversity, to behave responsibly, in a word, to be human beings."
-- Children And Their Primary Schools,
A report of the Central Advisory Council For Education (England, 1967)