One of the unique aspects of our Middle School is the thematic approach to learning. Research shows that children this age can better grasp higher level ideas when they can be tied together thematically to this type of conceptual framework. With this approach, your child will explore a theme in much of his/her lessons during the school year. This type of teaching also presents our teachers with the opportunity for more collaboration with each other in the form of cross curricular projects, and will challenge your child with more critical thinking based pursuits. This is not an over-haul of our strong and rigorous curriculum. It’s an enhancement which will enable our learners to engage themselves as deep as their ideas will take them as far as the scope and sequence are concerned.
At the beginning of the school year, each theme is framed with a central question or hypothesis. This question and its theme will be revisited by the students on a regular basis, thus motivating our students to formulate more questions. Out of this inquisitiveness is where substantive critical thinking skills will be cultivated.
We are excited about this and have no doubt that your child will benefit greatly from it.
Interwoven within each theme, students at each grade level are required to take core academic courses in math, science, language arts, social science and foreign language. Students may choose from a variety of specialist and elective courses in the fine arts, social sciences and physical education. Classes are characterized by innovative instruction, with teachers constantly striving to tailor their assessments to suit the developmental needs of each child. Teachers also pursue team-teaching and collaborative opportunities whenever appropriate and possible. A special curricular and instructional emphasis is placed on acquiring and building upon complex concepts and skills.
To be better prepare our students for the rigors of the advanced IB Diploma program in our Upper School, our students are challenged by our Middle School Integrated Math program.
The integrated approach to math better meets the needs for all learners. It allows them to use learned skills in all areas of mathematics with an emphasis on applications to the real world. They learn the different components of math every year keeping their skills intact and taking their knowledge in the different areas of mathematics deeper. To quote the National Teachers of Mathematics past President J. Michael Shaughnessy speaking of integrated learning-"Students can—and should—have opportunities to learn content in both geometry and data analysis and statistics while they are learning algebraic skills and algebraic representations of mathematical concepts. Statistics relies on both symbolic algebra and functional algebra to represent measures of center, spread, and association." He goes on to say, "Students need to see mathematics as an integrated whole, with connections across the content domains, and they need to experience some of the applications and uses of mathematics before they transition to college." 90% of the world teaches math in this way, and we know where the U.S. stands worldwide in math education.
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