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 sixth graders may be doing seventh grade level work in one area of study and still mastering a fifth grade 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.
Sixth Through Eighth Grade
By the time our students reach Middle School, they have developed a strong sense of confidence and responsibility.
Our supportive environment encourages them to take risks and to engage in new and more complex areas of study in the sciences and humanities. The students utilize and continue to develop the critical thinking skills, independent and group work skills, and the self- motivation and independence that have developed in them and been nurtured throughout the elementary years. The teachers have developmentally appropriate expectations of the students’ ability to engage in process-based learning with a keener attention to organization, detail, complexity, and presentation.
Inside my head there is a window
I see Memories, Inventions, Ideas
I see everything I have ever seen,
Some stuff that I think of is ancient
Memories I have never heard of or thought of
The window is my
-poem by Theo, Blue Rock Student
Students engage in independent research and writing projects
that typically lend themselves to multidisciplinary presentations, models, and creations. The culmination of these projects are often an opportunity for a school-wide event and or festival. Students participate in every stage of the planning process, taking responsibility for all aspects of the execution of their plans.
Our Middle School students have a social responsibility as the oldest members of the student body, and therefore serve as role models and mentors to the younger students. The students lead discussions and learn to facilitate groups formed to solve problems that arise at recess or come to consensus on decisions that are needed for planning trips, projects and events. Middle School students have partnered with students in lower grades, assisted younger students with learning projects, and helped mediate and organize school-wide discussions, presentations and events such as Open Houses for prospective families.
Recess is an integral part of our students’ experience.
Morning and mid-day recess times are active opportunities for them to engage with each other and younger students in impromptu games of soccer, basketball, four square, and whole-school running, tag, and strategy games with the upper elementary grades.
The Middle School students perform in larger school dramatic performances and both a Spring Concert and an end-of-the year, evening play. These opportunities encourage the students to delve deeply into the process of creation and to take responsibility for many aspects of the production as their growing skills and talent allow.
We believe that as our older students’ awareness of local and international events naturally increases,
so should their ability to take action and participate in the occurrences of the larger world. For this reason our students regularly participate in community and international relief efforts, environmental clean-ups, and other events that empower them to use their voices for causes that concern them.
Middle School students also go on field trips and receive guest speakers, all of which further connects their studies to their understanding of a subject and its place in the world. Some field trips have taken them to cities of historical significance as well as nature retreats that enhance their group building and outdoor skills.