The Greene School curriculum has been specifically designed for bright, curious and joyful learners.
Our core academic program consists of Literacy, Math, Social Studies, Science and Foreign Language, and is combined with our broad enrichment program of Visual Arts, Music, Computer Science, Engineering, Coding, Robotics, Physical Education, Yoga, Dance, Meditation and Mindfulness. The Greene School’s cross-curricular approach encourages critical thinking, creativity, communication, collaboration and compassion, and provides our students with the education and tools necessary to prepare them for a dynamic world.
The Greene School's curriculum is accelerated and set above traditional grade levels. Students whose academic needs go beyond the existing advanced curriculum are able to accelerate further, by subject or by grade. Our teachers personalize students’ learning to ignite and sustain their passion for knowledge. Through an inquiry-based classroom environment, Greene School students become engaged, motivated lifelong learners.
Mathematics relates to ideas and concepts about quantity and addresses logical and spatial relationships. At the Early Childhood and Lower School levels, the foundations of mathematical understanding are formed out of children’s concrete experiences. Mathematical experiences are not confined to math class. They are thoughtfully embedded in almost all daily classroom activities, where teachers are alert to opportunities for facilitating understanding. Mathematical thinking is also incorporated into all forms of play including construction, drama, reading and free play. Co-curricular teachers help students make connections between mathematics and musical experiences, art, physical education and performing arts when they explore rhythmic or visual patterns, symmetry, scores and movement.
At The Greene School, teachers design robust programs that take the research-based elements of Everyday Mathematics and Singapore Math to implement learning sessions that challenge our bright students. Everyday Mathematics is a curriculum developed by the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project that cultivates true mathematical literacy, extending far beyond basic calculation skills. Based on extensive research, the program is based on findings that show that children are capable of learning a great deal more than previously expected and do best when mathematics is framed in real-world applications. The scope of the curriculum includes the following strands:
Numeration and order
Patterns, functions, and sequences
Algebra and uses of variables
Data and chance
Geometry and spatial sense
Measures and measurement
Interwoven into the foundation of Everyday Mathematics, Singapore math’s curriculum, Math in Focus, focuses on problem solving and positive attitudes toward mathematics, also emphasizing the development of skills, concepts, processes, and metacognition. Students are encouraged to reflect on their thinking and learn how to self-regulate so that they can apply these skills to varied problem-solving activities. The following diagram can be helpful in providing a general overview of this program.
Grades PreK–2, scientific investigations center on student questions, observations, and communication about what they observe. Students will be able to plan and carry out investigations as a class or in small groups often over a period of several class lessons. The students learn to formulate a hypothesis, planning the steps of an experiment, and determining the most objective way to test the hypothesis. Students incorporate mathematical skills of measuring and graphing to communicate their findings.
Grades 3–5, teacher guidance remains important but allows for more variation in student approach. Students at this level are ready to formalize their understanding of what an experiment requires by identifying and controlling variables to ensure analyze outcomes. Their work becomes more quantitative, and they learn the importance of carrying out several measurements to minimize sources of error. Because students at this level use a greater range of tools and equipment, they learn safe laboratory practices. At the conclusion of their investigations, students in these grades will prepare reports of their questions, procedures, conclusions and react to and evaluate their own learning.
Children are encouraged to develop their curiosity about the world around them and to make observations. As they are introduced to a combination of science, technology, engineering and math, children develop organized and analytical thinking as well as problem-solving skills. In the Early Childhood and Elementary programs, students will explore their world and make connections between ideas, concepts and content areas. The Greene School emphasizes a hands-on approach to learning that focuses on the processes and techniques of discovery. The curriculum is designed to offer students a foundation in the scientific and design processes. We believe the following:
Science is a way of thinking. Science is observing and experimenting, making predictions, sharing discoveries, asking questions and wondering how things work.
Technology is a way of doing. Technology is using tools, being innovative, identifying problems, and making things work.
Engineering is a way of doing. Engineering is solving problems, using a variety of materials, designing and creating and building things that work.
Art is a way of communicating information, using the most appropriate tools and means to elicit emotion and engage an audience
Math is a way of measuring. Math is sequencing, pattern identification and exploring shapes, volume, and size.
Robotics at The Greene School encompasses engineering principles, design and construction, basic circuitry, and computer programming. Students begin by building and programming simple robots. As they become familiar with the basic concepts, we add components like sensors and increase the complexity of the programming concepts. Some students initiate their own projects, as their imaginations are primed by their increasing understanding of how their robots work and how they can control them.
We offer classroom activities that teach high-value STEAM content as well as opportunities to powerfully address English language arts. There are connections to robotics across the full spectrum of the curriculum.For example, in some classrooms reading the well-known children’s bookZach’s Alligator is accompanied by building an alligator robot (or robot of another character) and then retelling or expanding on the story. And of course, in designing and building their creations, students learn basic engineering and electronics, and practice math, too. Students build robots to help them understand the characters and plots of books they read. Story analysis and comprehension are greatly enabled and enhanced.
In grades 2 and up, students begin constructing their own robotic systems. They utilize sensor technologies to enhance their designs: touch, ultrasonic, gyro, sound, color, temperature, humidity, infrared and more. The discussion of sensors is first explored in an organic environment before relating to a computational environment (i.e How do bats see? Ultrasonic). This allows students an opportunity to develop deep connections between physical and abstract environments.
One of the most frequent and widely supported calls for change in education is for curriculum that integrates math and science with technology and communication skills. Although robotics may at first seem exotic, on closer examination it provides a natural fit that emphasizes meaningful learner-centered instruction that includes:
integration and application of knowledge
hands-on learning in cooperative groups
demonstrable mastery of new learning
project and time management
The study of robotics and programming attracts students to content domains such as mechanics, electrical circuits, and applied mathematical reasoning that all too often are either completely omitted from the curriculum or deemed too difficult for children. Robotics engages students in complex, strategic problem-solving and is easily introduced in a gradual, way, so beginner students can experience satisfying achievements quickly. This success motivates them to move on to new challenges in a continuous progression toward greater levels of sophistication.
Robots provide an interactive means of teaching students about math in context by taking the numbers off of the page and into real life. Students see how simple math concepts like addition and subtraction as well as more advanced concepts like proportions affect how a robot responds to its environment.
Learning how robots are powered teaches children scientific theories on electricity and solar power, or photovoltaics. Using robots to lift objects strengthens a child’s understanding of physics concepts like force and tension. Building a robot from scratch, and seeing how different materials affect how their robot behaves, teaches children the most fundamental aspects of science: observation and experimentation.
Robots for children are designed to be simple, and this simplicity extends to programming. By building a robot, a child is exposed, perhaps for the first time, to how a code inputted into a computer affects the real world. Some robots are even specifically designed to increase the difficulty of their programming interface as the child becomes more comfortable with the concept by moving from simple visuals, like “press the picture of a dog barking to make the robot bark,” to drag-and-drop commands, and finally to programs designed to teach simple computer coding.
Though most people wouldn’t look at a child building a castle out of building blocks and think that child is an engineer, the concept is there. Engineers build everything from cars to cities, and children can learn a great deal about the field of engineering through robotics. Helping a child to build a robot aids them in understanding concepts like design and function and gives them a fun, exciting reward for the lesson in the form of a robot.
DANCE, YOGA/MEDITATION, & MINDFULNESS
The Dance Program is founded on the premise of providing a kinesthetically enriched and interdisciplinary curriculum that strengthens the education experience for all students. The dance program plays an integral role in the development of a well-rounded student while also enhancing the learning taking place in other subject areas. The dance program will aid in teaching important life skills while instilling an appreciation for the arts. All elementary students will participate in a weekly dance class and perform in the annual dance concert.
The Yoga/Meditation Program is not only an important component in the growth of the student, but also provides skills that support the learning taking place in other subjects. Through participation in the yoga/meditation curriculum, students will learn techniques that promote strength, coordination, flexibility, and balance. Breathing and relaxation skills will also build focus while promoting self-control, self-esteem, self-confidence, and increase overall body awareness. All elementary students will participate in a weekly yoga/meditation class.
The Mindfulness Program plays an important role in the overall development and learning potential of the student. As an extension of the Yoga/Meditation Program, students will learn basic skills and techniques that can be easily applied to both their academic subjects and everyday life. The mindfulness course will aid students in learning to be present in the moment while focusing on the task at hand. The course is also designed to help students develop a deeper sense of self-awareness while learning to balance emotions, control impulses, and integrate heart with mind. All elementary students will participate in a weekly mindfulness class.
In addition, we incorporate the elements of Studio Thinking, which is a framework designed by practitioners at Project Zero (the research arm of Harvard’s School of Education). Out of the Studio Thinking framework comes the Studio Habits of Mind, a set of eight dispositions that an artist uses. The wonderful thing about these dispositions is that they offer a language for critical thinking that spans across every discipline. Studio Habits of Mind (SHoM) empower students to articulate their learning in any subject matter, and provide an entry point for learning based on individual choice and need. They are not hierarchical, and they can be used in guided instruction or constructivist teaching modalities.
A constructivist approach to teaching is a “best practice” for learning in the arts:
“[A] constructivist approach to teaching and learning argues that the goal of teaching is students’ understanding and that students construct knowledge, not simply reproduce it through memorization, recall, or routinized application.” (Sydney Walker)
This method of teaching is particularly applicable to education in the arts, as well as to the unique needs of high performing students. The Arts Department at The Greene School is committed to this approach in planning for each year’s curriculum, varying curriculum as students’ needs unfold, and in the very nature of interaction between and among students and instructors.
ENGLISH & LANGUAGE ARTS
Our program encompasses both process and content—how people communicate as well as what they communicate. Process includes skills and strategies used in listening, speaking, reading, writing, and viewing. Content includes the ideas, themes, issues, problems, and conflicts found in classical and contemporary literature and other texts, such as technical manuals, periodicals, speeches, and videos. Ideas, experiences, and cultural perspectives students discover in texts help them shape their visions of the world. The insight they gain enables them to understand cultural, linguistic, and literary heritages.
English language arts incorporates the areas of reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing. These areas are viewed as one unified subject in which each of the five areas supports the others and enhances thinking and learning. In addition, we believe the knowledge, skills, and strategies of language arts are integrated throughout the curriculum, enabling students to solve problems and think critically and creatively in all subject areas.
During these first years of school and social development, “social studies” focuses on children’s acquisition of skills needed to function well in group settings, developing a sense of empathy and responsibility, and exploring their budding awareness of “sameness” and “differentness” and what these mean in a diverse community. For Greene students, social studies topics are organized by theme. The teachers use an approach that integrates themes with literature, art and music to help students make connections across disciplines and more fully internalize the underlying concepts.
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