Our Approach to Learning
At Blue Rock School we believe that providing children with opportunities to question, listen, and make connections to their own experience, as well as the experience of those around them, is essential for their development as responsive human beings. This is the cornerstone of our philosophy, and we value this deeper process of learning more than the specific content that is learned at any given time. The children learn by investigation and hands-on exploration. We integrate many subjects into our daily activities and encourage a multi-disciplinary approach rather than solely the acquisition of facts. We trust that the students’ ability to engage in process-oriented education and deep inquiry will serve them well no matter what interests they pursue.
Community is essential to the mission of Blue Rock School
The teacher is aware of the classroom as a learning collaborative where the needs of the individual are considered within the context of the larger group. Children work together, learning from each other, and special attention is given to the development of positive social skills. The teacher brings specific lessons and ideas to the classroom while also responding to and including children’s interests as she introduces the material in a variety of ways. Lessons are conducted in different formats: the whole class, small groups, or individually.
Blue Rock teachers recognize and respect the unique pace and learning style of each child.
In addition to preparing curriculum in all subjects that support our specific benchmarks for each grade, teachers also develop material and work with students at various levels within a class. For instance, some first graders may be doing second grade level work in one area of study and still mastering a kindergarten benchmark in another. Each student naturally has his or her unique combination of strengths, as well as skills that need further growth.
Actual learning is a continuum.
Our belief is that with consistent exposure to and exploration of concepts and the development of social, academic and artistic skills, the children develop proficiency without compromising their joy of learning.
First Through Fifth Grade
Starting in first grade, our students delve into the world of reading, writing, and mathematics on a daily basis. They also begin more formal explorations of science, history, geography, and social studies. In every grade, the children engage in weekly classes of poetry, drama, gym, and art, continue language classes in Spanish, and have music class several times a week.
The daily use of stories, books read by the classroom teacher at snack time, novels read at lunch, and an afternoon period of quiet independent reading -- brings classical and modern literature, myths, historical fiction, biographies and autobiographies to the students. Reading and hearing stories expand the children’s appreciation for the written and spoken word and spark conversations on topics across the subject areas.
Regular classroom discussions
and independent research projects allow students to explore their own interests and share their studies with one another. Collaborative activities in all subjects help students develop their ability to work together, listen to each other, and give and incorporate feedback as group work unfolds.
Teachers dedicate specific times each day for different topics of study, and the classroom routine includes moments of individual work, group explorations, and teacher-led lessons. Students have a job chart with rotating roles within the classroom that encourages a sense of responsibility and an awareness of the importance of each child’s participation in the life of the classroom community.
Recess is an integral part of our day.
Students enjoy a morning recess and a half hour midday recess, as well as spontaneous outdoor activities and lessons throughout the year. The social learning that occurs at moments of structured and unstructured play is essential to children of all ages. Blue Rock students benefit from wooded, hilly areas that are ideally suited for imaginative games, fort building, and tree climbing, as well as flat, open play areas were dynamic ball and running games take place.
Field trips provide students with opportunities to visit local museums, libraries, forests, and cultural events that connect their learning with experiences off-campus and further their investigations at school.
At the culmination of particular projects,
students often invite the other grades and parents to an event dedicated to the sharing of their work. The preparations and presentations help them develop confidence in speaking about and presenting their new-found knowledge to both those who are younger and older than them. Having visitors of various ages requires the students to truly master their topic or approach, so they can adjust and respond to questions in an age appropriate manner. These school-wide presentation experiences allow for a sense of pride and accomplishment, which energizes the students to see learning as an exciting, interactive process and motivates them to make future efforts.