Students at The Project School are immersed in a rigorous and engaging curriculum that is specifically designed to develop skills that are necessary to be a productive citizen in the 21st century. The start of every day is focused on community building, character development, and framing the day in brain compatible ways. The most substantive amount of time each day at TPS is dedicated to the teaching of skills, habits, and behaviors that readers, writers and mathematicians need. Reading, writing, and math are taught through the workshop model. This approach allows time for direct individualized instruction, student application of the skill/strategy taught, and a reflection time.
The remainder of the time each day at TPS is dedicated to the real-life application of reading, writing, and math skills through projects that are designed to be problem and place based. This curriculum design - called the P3 Framework (Project-, Problem- and Place-Based) - was created by the founders of The Project School and was built upon years of work from nationally known curriculum researchers. The founding group embedded the conceptual frameworks of project-based, problem-based, and place-based learning to create a curricular model that leads to a highly rigorous and relevant curriculum for children that is directly connected to issues in their local and global communities. Students learn about local, national, and international problems, while designing real projects to improve their community. This community may be close by or far away depending on the nature of the problem.
Students, teachers, families, and community members work together to arrive at school-wide topics and essential questions that guide individual, group, and community projects. Every student is engaged in experiences that are intentionally connected to the school-wide themes, and that result in a real-life impact on real-life issues. Students understand that they can make a difference in their communities, and the community sees the school as a force for social justice. This is the portion of the day where the science and social studies standards are taught through authentic and meaningful work. While students are working on these projects, they are learning about the historical, geographic, economic, political, cultural, technological, environmental, and/or scientific components of the topic.At The Project School we use Responsive Classroom as a keystone for our social-emotional learning and growth.Multi-Age ClassroomsAt TPS, all of our classrooms (except for our play-based Kindergarten class) are multi-age. Our classrooms are paired together in the following grades:Kindergarten (play-based single grade)1-23-45-66-7-87-8A multi-age classroom is created by intentionally grouping children of different ages. The goal is for all children to reap many benefits from multi-age classrooms, including:
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- Children progress and grow without age restrictions
- Children acknowledge and accept differences in people
- Children benefit from remaining with the same group and teacher for more than one year
- Every child has a time for leadership
- Teachers have increased sensitivity to diversity
- Children can have continuous progress when they can pick up from where they left off the previous school year
- Curriculum is determined based on what is appropriate for individual children
- Interests, age, maturity, and so forth provide children opportunities for natural groupings
- Children can fully develop areas of strength, and at the same time, receive support for the areas of need
- Children are placed in a natural structure. Where do adults spend time with people only their own age?