Quick! Which of these questions can you answer without Google:
A. What year did the American Civil War end?
B. How do you calculate the altitude of an isosceles triangle?
C. What happens when you pour vinegar on baking soda?
Most people answer C. And what’s more, most people can explain why vinegar and baking soda react the way they do. That’s because when you do things with your own hands and witness the results with all your senses, you understand more and remember better. It’s just the way human brains work.
Our curriculum encourages hands-on learning whenever possible. Yes, we do worksheets. Yes, we memorize our times tables. The difference is that we call that stuff “folder work,” not “school.”
Below are brief descriptions of the programs that make Neighborhood truly unique. Please schedule a visit to learn more about how our students become high achievers and happy people without the pressure of grades or tests during their formative years.
The arts are integral to our play and to our academic work. From preschool through sixth grade, the children create two- and three-dimensional representations of their ideas and writings. We encourage and value their unique visions of their world.
For example, in the elementary program, we assign writing projects that are either whimsical or relevant to our students’ lives rather than requiring “drills” of basic writing processes. We elicit a variety of responses to literature rather than making children fill out formulaic book reports.
Environmental & Physical Education
Students’ relationship with nature, including outdoor play and study, is central to all of our programs. With recesses ever shorter and on ever-“safer” playgrounds, we feel this aspect of human experience is a major gap in today’s educational landscape, and we do our best to fill it by integrating outdoor play and fieldwork into our everyday curriculum.
Social development is often neglected in schools that focus exclusively on academics—but it’s an essential part of our curriculum. We model and provide proactive instruction on how to build community and resolve differences respectfully.
We emphasize multi-age activities and recesses. Older students mentor preschoolers and kindergarteners during all-school events. The sensitivity and creativity in our social curriculum helps students accommodate one another’s developmental differences.
Children build empathy for others and respect for themselves, and they go on to share these skills in other schools and throughout their communities later.
Although there is not a pre-printed label for our teaching methods, Neighborhood does draw heavily from the frameworks of: Experiential education, based on the scientific method and hands-on learning (with deep roots in progressive education), the theory of multiple intelligences, which holds that intelligence is not only cognitive but also artistic, musical, physical, social, and spiritual, and the Reggio Emilia approach, which honors the individuality of young learners and emphasizes a child-led curriculum.
- Connect Magazine, where educators share their successful hands-on teaching experiences.
- Alternative Education Resource Organisation. AERO
- Idea Network. International Democratic Education Network
- Summerhill. The original Alternative “free” school in England.
- Wikipedia: Progressive education article, and Holistic Education
- Krishnamurti, Education and the Significance of Life
- David Marshak, The Common Vision: Parenting and Educating for Wholeness
- Jane Roland Martin, The Schoolhome: Rethinking Schools for Changing Families
- John P. Miller, The Holistic Curriculum (2nd edition; Toronto: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education Press, 1996) and Education and the Soul: Towards a Spiritual Curriculum
- James Moffett, The Universal Schoolhouse: Spiritual Awakening Through Education (San Francisco: Jossey Bass, 1994)
- Parker Palmer, To Know as We are Known: Education as a Spiritual Journey (orig. 1983; San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1993