Each academic year Greenwood Friends School uses a cross-curriculum theme to integrate studies across traditional academic disciplines and age groups. The theme for 2019-2020 was Wellness for our World.
Greenwood Friends School is always striving to improve, while maintaining a commitment to established educational practices that succeed. An important next step in our educational approach is to expand our mixed-age classrooms in the Lower School so that we gain the benefits of this approach, while containing class size to approximately 12 students. For 2020-21, our classrooms will be Pre-School (ages 3-4), Lower School (K/1/2 and 3/4 classrooms), and Middle School (5/6 & 7/8 classrooms). We will continue to have one lead teacher in each classroom and will add support staff, as needed. Read more below for the benefits of mixed-age classrooms.
The Intermediate years (Grades 3-5) at Greenwood Friends School are designed to help students acquire the skills to become independent and creative thinkers and communicators. Learning is thematic and activities, assignments, and projects are differentiated, taking into account student level and learning style. Work in the content areas tends to delve deep rather than skim the surface and it is not unusual to see students engaged in long term projects, such as creating museum displays on a topic, presenting at a “food fair,” or scripting and acting in a short play on a current subject.
A three year loop allows for deep and meaningful relationships between students, students and teachers, and parents and teachers. Students are met where they are academically and are challenged to move forward in a wide variety of subjects. From language arts, math, and science to music, art, and drama, Intermediate students find teachers who take the time to truly know them.
Grades K-4 at Greenwood Friends School are the years when children become readers, writers, and mathematicians, developing confidence and enthusiasm as they experience success in a literature-rich environment. Teachers and students work together as a whole group, in small groups and one-on-one reading, writing, and working with words daily. Each student’s interests, skills and abilities are taken into account as teachers gently encourage them to challenge themselves and continue moving forward.
Our Middle School (grades 6-8) fosters awareness, curiosity, communication, and critical thinking in a safe, caring, and respectful community. At this stage in life, students are going through significant changes and are surrounded by conflicting stimuli. Greenwood Friends School’s middle school environment is a habitat for healthy, balanced, and mindful learning that incorporates challenging academics, practical life skills, and respectful community participation. Academically and socially, students are honing skills that will enable them to be successful as they move on to life’s greater challenges. Classwork is completed in small groups or independently and assignments and enrichment are addressed on an individual basis. Students learn to find a balance between their particular needs and the requirements of their academics.
In our Preschool classroom we lay the foundation for future learning by providing a language rich environment with ample opportunity for play-based discovery. Inspired by the Reggio-Emilia approach to theme-based learning, children use writing, drawing, acting, and conversation to explore new ideas and interests. Progress is well-documented throughout the classroom and in the hallway using pictures and narrative descriptions to assess development.