Child Centered. Teacher Nurtured.
Intellectual Curiosity and Academic Rigor
At Slate School, children are engaged in joyful, curiosity-based learning. Student questions are as important as answers. The curriculum does not include passive learning, memorization, or worksheet-based learning. Instead, children are actively engaged as critical thinkers and real learners. Whether learning to add with sticks or beans, writing their own play, or drawing what they're imagining, children are constantly learning. By integrating academic rigor with creativity and in-depth exploration, students learn and understand complex and advanced concepts, while developing their curiosity and imagination.
A love for reading, written and oral storytelling, and rich language are integral to Slate School's curriculum. Teachers and children spend long stretches of the day reading books, introducing them to the magic of beautiful, enriching literature. In support of the acquisition of literacy skills in a student-centered classroom, a wide variety of approaches are embraced. Reading activities are followed by creative opportunities, such as drawing or painting one's own scenes, or writing one's own book. Students may also extend stories through drama and writing, with many opportunities for retelling and discussing story elements using child-created props.
Children are encouraged to be inquisitive and to delve deep into all that there is to learn about the world. Over the course of a year, each child selects several topics to study in-depth, and designs their own explorations. They build public speaking skills by frequently sharing their findings with their classmates and school community. This cross-curricular approach engages students in active learning that makes every day an exciting opportunity for discovery and subsequent investigation.
Children learn science through active experiments, as well as by their own creative experimental process. At Slate School, the environment is the master teacher, and children spend time daily in nature, making connections to their own interests and learning through hands-on play to understand and wonder about their world. Through this discovery, teachers seize every opportunity to develop necessary skills and encourage deeper learning across the curriculum.
At Slate School, technology is utilized in a limited and responsible manner. We believe that learning is best achieved through hands-on, collaborative experiences. Teachers can apply technology when appropriate and necessary, but learning is best achieved without screens and digital devices.
Slate School's students are evaluated through classroom observation and direct interactions between the student and teachers. Teachers provide insightful written narrative reports that discuss the student's achievements, strengths, and challenges. An open dialogue is encouraged between parents and the teachers.
Nature and Natural Learning
Nature and natural learning are at the core of Slate School's mission and vision. With a bucolic 25-acre campus, the trees and wildlife are integral to the science, math, writing, and art curriculum.
Math and science come alive through meaningful nature-based activities. The organic garden provides each child with comprehensive learning opportunities, ranging from counting seeds in fruits to weighing vegetables and measuring cooking supplies. The children make scientific observations about the behavior and habitats of indigenous wildlife. Math incorporates visual observations of wildlife, such as adding, subtracting, and visually classifying the turkeys and other animals seen on the meadow each day. Children will gain in-depth understanding about engineering and math through outdoor and indoor building projects with wooden blocks, sticks, and rocks. Creative loose parts play with natural materials will be integral to each day.
Slate School's students also engage in outdoor arts activities. They learn about artist Claude Monet and his outdoor nature paintings, and they enjoy doing their own outdoor nature painting on easels. During the snow season, they create large artistic pieces in the snow by using spray bottles and fruit juice. The children also engage in nature writing and journaling.
During the ample recess and outdoor time throughout the academic year, the children have a variety of opportunities for learning, ranging from traditional playground social learning to building and creating in nature. They enjoy imaginary play in the mud kitchen, build their own nests and fairy houses with sticks and natural materials, and they also create igloos in the snow.
Slate School reimagines elementary education by integrating creative arts into all aspects of the curriculum. The performing arts and visual arts are combined creatively with the students' collaborative learning.
Storytelling is an essential part of the Slate School literacy experience. The children experience books by creating their own performances. They also orate their own stories for their classmates to illustrate, and additionally create class productions of their own stories.
History and social studies come to life for Slate School's students. While learning history, the children draw and paint the historic time periods based on their imagination. They learn about architecture by building cities using wood, cardboard, and paper. They also study historic art pieces to understand the settings, dress, activities, and cultural anthropology of the times. The students additionally create their own performances to further imagine and delve into the time periods being studied.
During specialized classes, children learn the techniques of music, singing, art, and dance. They have an opportunity to further explore their interests and talents by integrating music, performance, and art into the entirety of the academic curriculum.