Berkwood Hedge School's developmental curriculum is based on the understanding that children construct their knowledge of the world through hands-on, integrated, and active child-centered learning experiences. The strength of the Berkwood Hedge developmental curriculum is that it allows children to develop as creative participants in their own learning. Our teachers support this development across the cognitive, emotional, physical, social, and moral domains.
Our experienced and talented teachers create lessons and activities that challenge and engage a range of students. Curriculum is built as a series of in-depth studies, and teachers use a variety of learning materials that respect the unique developmental needs of each child. An important role of the teacher is to understand how each student is thinking, and then to use this information to expand and enrich student learning.
Collaboration among children is valued and encouraged. The diversity within our student body enhances this collaboration as children have many opportunities to negotiate perspectives with others who see the world differently. The curriculum is active, so students engage in experimenting, drawing, writing, dramatizing, discussing, questioning, reading, building, and inventing. In this way, children are able to tap into a range of learning strategies and represent their thinking in many ways.
Assessment informs how we teach. As teachers understand what students can do and what they are still working on, the curriculum develops. Assessment occurs in a range of settings; for example, one-on-one evaluation of children's performances on selected tasks, teachers' observations of children's performances during classroom work, and the evaluation of student exhibits. Children's social interactions in the classroom also provide teachers with important information in making instructional decisions.
We understand and value the processes children use to analyze, predict, and create. At the same time, our teachers set clear standards for student accountability in ways appropriate for the child and the group. Overall, we see children as competent, articulate, and curious about their world. Teachers create a safe learning environment that provides students with the appropriate level of challenge, while helping children to take on the responsibility for being creative learners who take pride in their growing abilities.