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Curriculum

All content at the New Village School is taught artistically and in context. By artistically we mean that we as teachers make ourselves fully aware of:

  • The questions of our time or, in other words, the historical context within the children are growing up
  • The geographical location where they are growing up and the implications Thereof culturally and socially
  • The questions of our time or challenges that we as a species are facing
  • The uniqueness of each individual child

We know that helping children learn how to ask questions or notice when a question needs to be asked is tremendously important. We do not deliver finished answers, which children then repeat back to us.

All lessons emerge through:

  • The teacher bringing a thorough knowledge of the content in its freshest most up to date form. Children are not asked to learn from textbooks
  • Conversations between teacher and children which are relevant and personal to each child
  • Teachers able to orchestrate or choreograph the lessons according to the children’s responses or lack thereof as the case may be, and create an interaction that leaves each child feeling seen, heard, and acknowledged
  • Lessons that take the form that they need to in order to serve the children

That is an artistic approach to creating atmospheres and situations in which learning can take place for each child and to the best of each child’s ability at that time! Children learn in a context like this to draw from their best energy and to take in as much as they can digest and process.

Teaching at the New Village School is organized in "blocks." The children work with their teachers for approximately three to six weeks on one particular subject. During each block, a book is created by the children. This book is a record of the essential aspects of the content. Our students learn to take the greatest of care of their books. They develop a sense for the symmetry and aesthetics of a written page.

Each child's progress is characterized thoroughly in parent-teacher conferences and in a written document at the end of each school year. As the students move towards High School age, they are made familiar with conventional tests and the grading system that goes along with them.

A very strong emphasis is placed upon the building of relationships between:

  • The child and his/her/their teacher
  • The child and the other children
  • The child and the content of each lesson

Thus, learning becomes truly meaningful, and each child’s motivation remains an inner one. We educate our students so they will graduate from 8th grade with the following:

  • A THOROUGH OVERVIEW OF CULTURAL DEVELOPMENTS FROM THE BEGINNING OF TIME UNTIL THE PRESENT DAY
  • A GOOD UNDERSTANDING OF THE PHENOMENA OF THE WORLD
  • A RICH AND SOPHISTICATED LANGUAGE

They will be able to:

  • Articulate any question that is on their mind
  • Speak and write their thoughts, ideas, and feelings clearly with a strong awareness of “Self”
  • Have a deep appreciation of who they are becoming, as well as respect for the world, everyone, and everything in it.

Our students engage in:

  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Sculpting
  • Singing
  • The playing of instruments
  • Theater

The artistic engagement with all content is an intrinsic part of our lives here at the New Village School. These artistic forms of expression permeate everything we do.

Our Classroom Without Walls program, allows the children the opportunity to learn in the world at large by venturing off-campus at least once a week starting with walking to the local harbors and beaches in Kindergarten. In the grades we gradually explore further by:

  • Walking thoughtfully through the local landscapes
  • Visiting local beaches
  • Observing wildlife
  • Studying plant life
  • Getting to know ocean life
  • Going on overnight trips to our land that’s about 20 minutes from the Sausalito campus
  • Exploring wilderness around Mt. Shasta
  • Taking a two-week trip to Mexico where our students attend school in a small town or visit a country whose language the children are learning in 6th grade
  • Taking a three-week self-financed trip to Europe and Morocco in 7th grade
  • Embarking on a rite of passage “sit” in 8th grade during which students are asked to be on their own with water and a sleeping bag for an extended period of time – approximately 36-48 hours

The world is the best classroom – it has no walls, and its aspects and themes are so innumerable that life as a student is always meaningful and experienced as real and authentic. The Classroom Without Walls program and the travel involved is the context. It is the reality that the children have within which to experience firsthand what matters.

When inside classroom walls, our teachers strive to bring a vibrant, passionate tone, so the children experience excitement about the discoveries we’ve made in the world and understand that there is so much yet to discover as adults.

During their time at the New Village School, each child will have learned or at least become familiar with two languages alongside English. In Kindergarten they are immersed in many languages. Our KG teachers speak Japanese, Spanish, and English.

From 1st grade onwards, each child learns Spanish of course, and then one other language chosen for them for their journey from 1st through 8th Grade. Currently our children are learning either:

  • Punjabi
  • Japanese
  • Russian
  • Arabic

Working with our hands is important to all of us. Children especially benefit from doing:

  • Handwork
  • Woodwork
  • Gardening
  • Building
  • Cooking
  • Sailing

All of the above offer each student a sense of orientation in the geographical space they find themselves in both in their own bodies and in their immediate surroundings.

These offerings leave the children with a sense of being capable, having agency and being independent in the world in which they are growing up.

If all has gone well, by 8th grade, our students will know how to clothe themselves, feed themselves, navigate, build a shelter and create objects that are necessary for everyday life.

Going with this sense into the immense world of High School and life itself adds confidence. The knowledge that you can sustain yourself in most circumstances is strengthening and healthy.

Here follows an overview of the other curriculum content and the developmental underpinnings for the choice of content. These are often reflected in the narratives we choose for the children to engage in over the course of their eight school years.

HIGH SCHOOL

For information about our high school program, please contact Meinir Davies, our head of school at meinir@thenewvillageschool.org

THE PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL, INTELLECTUAL, AND SPIRITUAL HEALTH OF THE CHILD WILL HAVE BEEN AT THE HEART OF THE TEACHER'S WORK

Hopefully, the curriculum will have supported the children throughout their time in the grades. The child's physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual health will have been at the heart of the teacher's work. Thus, we hope that there will have been tremendous preventative work done – unobtrusively but thoroughly – so that when the questions of substance abuse arise, the children will be able to ask. They will be able to listen to information with open minds and have inner responses to any situation in which they will be offered a harmful substance.

Information on substances that are available will, of course, be given to the children. The emphasis is, however, on prevention and preparation.