Our environment and programs:
● Introduce children to the wisdom of the ages and diverse cultures
● Encourage children to develop and express their own creativity
● Guide children in developing open minds
● Foster the development of creative leadership skills through exploring novel methods
● Teach respectful conflict resolution and empathy
Founded in 1965, we are a PreK 3- 8th grade family integrated cooperative school combining academic excellence with a unique curriculum oriented around storytelling, bridging the arts and sciences, nature-based education including gardening and sustainability, and respectful conflict resolution that encourages the development of compassion and empathy. We are internationally designated as an Ashoka Changemaker School in recognition of our cultivation of students with the skills and confidence to change the world for the common good.
The Circle School is committed to the development of the whole child: body, mind, heart, and spirit. Specials classes such as art, music, PE/yoga, and gardening are just as important as academic core subjects in a whole child education.
through the combination and integration of philosophies and teaching styles in our educational Family tree, Circle School students find their roots and try their wings.
Integration of subjects, both academic and active, is to weave parts into a greater whole, to generate a curriculum that is “an education for life".
The Circle School does not issue grades. Teachers make assessments based on observations and educational benchmarks from Core Knowledge and The Seven Fundamental Skills. At least three times a year, parents and teachers will meet formally to discuss a student’s progress.
The goal of education is to develop a love of learning and collaboration and to gain knowledge and skills. The goal is not competition among classmates nor being awarded a grade.
Core Knowledge: Developed by E.D. Hirsch, Jr., 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 uses Core Knowledge as a guideline. More information can be found at www.coreknowledge.org
Our founder, Isabeth Bakke Hardy, identified Seven Fundamental Skills that our curriculum as a whole teaches:
● 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.
His ideas harmonize, bring together, and find correspondences between apparent opposites in all areas of life and learning, including bridging the arts and sciences. Roerich focused on the necessity of education to provide a synthesis of art, science, and philosophy to preserve the child’s creativity.
Dr. Montessori developed an excellent practical life curriculum that we use to develop fine motor skills and give the child a love for labor and mastery over many practical tasks.
Student possesses freedom to decide and initiate how they learn and participate
Teacher exists as a facilitator, or guide, not an authority to which students seek permission.
“One test of the correctness of educational procedure is the happiness of the child.” - Dr. Maria Montessori
Through his research with 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 his or her own pace, without being unnaturally accelerated or held back.
Rudolf Steiner, Waldorf Education
Steiner 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 methods correspond to Piaget’s understanding of how a child’s thinking develops, emphasize a hands-on approach (doing is learning), and an appreciation and respect of individual talents.
Dreikurs developed a child training method that respects a 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.
Key elements include:
Lack of cooperation due to not feeling a part of one’s social group
Curb “misbehaviors” by making people feel like valuable contributors
No need for penalization or reward
Reggio Emilia Approach
Developed in the years following WWII by Loris Malaguzzi and a community of families in Italy in an attempt to preserve the innocence of childhood. The approach sees the 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.
Carl Orff 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 of music and the arts through creative, expressive experiences using folk materials of American and world cultures.