Developmental goals, the curriculum and environment are inseparable – together, they are the foundation of a more personal approach to education. We place a high value on the knowledge children bring to school. Their existing skills and interests are used as a starting point to expand their academic, physical and social/emotional autonomy. The curriculum considers the guidelines established by the Common Core Education Standards with an emphasis on the cumulative results rather than year by year timelines. Our environment is constantly evolving to meet the needs of the classroom and to create the opportunity for nurturing relationships, learning through exploration, play and nature and risk-taking.
Classroom Cohorts – Summary:
“Grades K through 8”
ACORNS – Ages 5/6. Nurturing the joy of learning, the wonder of creating and learning that your voice matters is the work of the Acorn. Our teacher has a strong commitment to social/emotional development and is skilled at inspiring self-propelled learning.
NATURE GROWERS – Ages 6/7. Brain function and the capacity to process academic learning takes a noticeable leap for students in this class. Students asking for more are met by teachers who are ready to dive in to practicing foundational skills, foster a social/culture awareness and help build confidence.
REDWOODS – Ages 8-10. The world in which to learn becomes much bigger for students in this group yet their self-discovery is becoming more influenced by external sources. Teachers in this group support building academic confidence and skill-building and an awareness/appreciation for mindfulness, self-love and courage.
EVERGREENS – Ages 10-12. With more mature brains and on the cusp of a physiological transformation, Evergreens are encouraged to challenge themselves to achieve their potential, have awareness of their social and cultural surroundings supported by teachers who can hold space for social/emotional growth balanced with academic rigor.
13-14 AGE CLASS (to be named in Fall of 2018). Students in this age are beginning to see the adult world in their future and they are encouraged to know that through the practice of: project planning, critical thinking, failure and success, they will build the academic, social and cultural skills required to use their hearts, minds and voices to be innovators and catalysts through the next phase of life. The teachers, mentors & coaches who work with these students have high-expectations with an abundance of trust.
The indoor and outdoor classroom is structured in a way to encourage cooperation and exploratory learning. There are community tables for collaborative learning and group projects. There are also spaces available for children to work individually at their own pace. The classroom is arranged to allow for ease of movement and comfort.
One of the best parts or our day is Personal Project time – when students integrate academic skills with real world projects of their own choosing. We encourage personal goal-setting and group collaboration while carefully observing the students in order to enhance our curriculum with their interests.
In order to achieve a delicate balance of project-based learning, emergent curriculum and guided/direct instruction, we employ multi-week learning units that emphasize:
• Differentiation, Personal learning trajectory
• Assessment, creating specific goals
• Respect for developmental readiness
• Forward progress though incremental steps
Followed by time that is safeguarded for:
• Emergent curriculum
• Big picture content
• Foundational skills practice
• Community/Co-operative learning
Students experience respect for the larger environment and appreciation for the Earth’s natural resources. In response to the nature deficit facing children today, we make a curricular intention to have school in nature one day a week – rain or shine. We strive to minimize our ecological footprint. School-wide practices include: trash free snacks and lunches, composting, use of recycled materials for activities and projects, our own food garden, use of natural ingredients for cleaning, recycling of aluminum, plastics, paper, and glass, and school-wide service projects for the purpose of creating a sustainable future. Our curriculum fosters capacity building through teaching on topics such as organic farming, water conservation, recycling/upcycling everyday items, and more.
Brain based research has shown that the development of emotional intelligence is a significant factor in personal success and happiness. Important to the Knowing Garden is a curriculum that incorporates: effective problem solving skills, relationship with self and others, recognizing emotions and learning how to manage feelings, successful collaboration and facing situations in a constructive and mindful fashion.
TKG encourages children to organize their own play, solve their problems, and work both independently and in cooperation with others. We believe that conflict is a natural and real part of our everyday world and when it happens, it is viewed as an opportunity to engage in our social emotional curriculum. We do not offer rewards or inflict punishments such as time outs in order to obtain a desired behavioral outcome. We strive to treat difficult situations with respect and concern and learn from them.
Our goal is to nurture a distraction free environment. We also strive to involve the whole class in decisions about Holiday project or events. Our preference is to omit costumes, commercial Holiday items and leave holiday decisions to the discretion of teachers and students.
TKG Curriculum includes:
Outdoor Learning/Environmental Studies
Field Day/Park Day
Performing and Creative Arts
Interpersonal Awareness & Emotional Intelligence
Technology: rights & responsibilities (Redwoods/Evergreens)
Health/Healthy Sexuality (Evergreens and up)
Meet Our Teachers – Click this link to read their bios
What is the Difference between a “traditional” classroom and a constructivist classroom? Learn more, here…