Much of the Lower School curriculum is organized around themes to demonstrate the relationship among subject areas. This thematic approach involves children in an interdisciplinary experience connecting language, math, science, social studies, and the arts. Learning experiences are constructed to provide students with both a single discipline perspective and an interdisciplinary orientation. As information is acquired or new meaning constructed, students are guided in making connections to prior knowledge and in discovering the relevance of their work to the world beyond school. This practice allows students to study topics in a richer, more realistic way, and helps them better see the relationships between various points of view.
Some curricular content changes from year to year, according to the interests of the students. Waynflete’s Early Childhood Program is significantly influenced by the Reggio Emilia approach. Through this approach, teachers use children’s emergent questions and interests as springboards for designing collaborative, open-ended explorations using a variety of materials. These questions continue to be powerful starting points to engage young minds, lead children in new directions, nurture their sense of wonder, and broaden their experience. Other topics of study are selected by the faculty to teach important skills, knowledge, and concepts in the context of traditionally motivating themes. Teachers may also introduce topics of personal interest, allowing students to witness and participate in the excitement of deep engagement in a field of study. The curriculum seeks to honor the contributions and legacies of men and women of diverse racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. Our Global Studies program, entering its twenty-fifth year, seeks to develop in our children the seeds of cross-cultural understanding, critical for children growing up in a globally connected world.