The Circle School’s curriculum is inspired by the work of Nicholas Roerich and a synthesis of methods and insights borrowed from many educators. Teachers at the school are given freedom to teach to their passions. Teachers continue to study the history of The Circle School teaching philosophy and seek out new ways of ensuring the complete education of each student. Teachers incorporate the “family tree” below to define their own strengths:
NICHOLAS ROERICH: He focused on the necessity of education to provide a synthesis of art, science, and philosophy to preserve the child’s creativity. Our school emblem was created by Roerich.
RUDOLF STEINER: He developed a pedagogy that takes an artistic approach to education; views the child as a threefold being growing through the will, feeling, and thinking; and sees the child’s development as recapitulating humanity’s cultural evolution. His pedagogical methods correspond to Piaget’s understanding of how a child’s thinking develops.
JEAN PIAGET: Through his research on children, Piaget understood the natural stages of the child’s conceptual development and how growth can be recognized in the individual child so that the child develops at her or his own pace, without being unnaturally accelerated or held back.
MARIA MONTESSORI: She developed an excellent practical life curriculum that we use to develop fine motor skills and to give the child a love for labor and mastery over many practical tasks.
RUDOLF DREIKURS: He developed a child training method that respects the child’s individuality and sees the child as a citizen of a democratic society. His method develops the child’s independence and understanding of cause and effect so that the child can take her or his own place of individual responsibility in a world of cause and effect.
CARL ORFF: He developed the Orff Schulwerk method that gives the child a sequential approach to music education. The approach integrates the use of movement, music, and language in a historical-cultural context. The approach stresses an appreciation for music and the arts through creative, expressive experiences using folk materials of American and world cultures.
SYLVIA ASHTON-WARNER: She developed the creative teaching method of Organic Reading and Writing in which the child creates her or his own book, complete with illustrations, as an introduction to reading, writing, and spelling. She saw the book as a growing, living, changing design originating from within the child.
REGGIO EMILIA APPROACH: This approach was developed in the years following World War II by Loris Malaguzzi and a community of families in Italy in an attempt to preserve the innocence of childhood. The approach sees a child as a competent, creative, autonomous person, and respects the relationships between a child and the physical environment, classmates, teachers, and parents. Children are given some control over their curriculum and endless opportunities to utilize self-expression.
The Seven Fundamental Skills
By Isabeth Bakke Hardy
Imagination: Goal --- to develop an imagination that is rich and well founded on nature and culture.
Observation: Goal --- to develop the ability to observe and explore and put observations into order and to develop an appreciation for patterns and relationships.
Creative Thinking: Goal --- to develop memory, attention, concentration, basic concepts, logic, and the qualities of clarity, broadness, originality, and openness.
Cooperation: Consider cooperation as the science of life. Goal --- to develop the ability to work for the joy of it and do so in harmony with others; to develop a sense of and feeling for the common good; to develop all aspects of communication including language arts skills, listening skills, music, art, etc.
Discernment: Goal --- to develop the ability to interpret findings critically and to develop the ability to see, hear, and sense subtle differences.
Living Ethics: Goal --- to develop a simple code of conduct and use it to live and interact with others.
A Sense of Beauty: Goal – to develop an appreciation for beauty in all forms.
In recent years, teachers have spent time and resources researching and implementing new comprehensive curricula. Many of the materials and methods utilized in the classroom are supplemented with outside materials to allow for a greater depth of study, including broader concepts of how to think about subjects.
CORE KNOWLEDGE: Developed by E.D. Hirsch Jr., author of Cultural Literacy, this system provides an interesting, challenging, and grade-appropriate knowledge base. As a basic foundation for the four main curriculum areas (Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies), each grade level uses Core Knowledge and the Core Curriculum skills as a guideline. Information about Core Knowledge and the content for each specific grade level can be found in the book series “What Your Kindergartener (First Grader, etc) Needs To Know” and on the website www.coreknowledge.org.
EVERYDAY MATHEMATICS: Everyday Mathematics is a curriculum that introduces and teaches math concepts in a variety of ways, using manipulatives, games, group activities, projects, workbooks, and fun yet challenging methods. Each grade level from Kindergarten through Middle School uses this curriculum, providing continuity from class to class. Also, by the completion of the program in sixth grade, students are fully prepared for pre-algebra. Information about this program can be found on the website www.everydaymath.com.
GREAT BOOKS: Great Books is a reading program that introduces students to literature from around the world and provides students opportunities to discuss, evaluate, reflect upon, and actively engage with literature in an in-depth, creative fashion. Each class from Kindergarten through Middle School uses this curriculum, and information about this program can be found on the website www.greatbooks.org.
LATIN: Our upper elementary and middle school students study Latin using Cambridge Latin Course and Minimus:Starting Out in Latin.