Greeting and welcome to the first Friday Note of the school year! This feels like an exciting time at Randolph School. The Upstairs and Downstairs are buzzing with a wonderful group of children who are busy getting used to new environments, new friends and sometimes new teachers. Being fairly new here myself, I have been checking in regularly with the teachers, and to a person they have replied with some sort of variation of “I really, really like this group of kids!!” I couldn’t agree more, and have loved every second of being with your children, whether it be a silly conversation, a moment of consolation, sharing a discovery, greeting each other in the morning, or simply watching them interact with each other on the playground. What a joy!
As a staff, we are busy preparing for our annual Curriculum Night next Friday, at which all of you will be able to find out more about the educational program at Randolph School. It strikes me as an interesting event for us because the term “curriculum” calls to mind many things that are decidedly “un-Randolph” such as a fixed syllabus, testing schedules and grading policies. What, then, does a “Randolph” curriculum look like? Where does it come from?
I like to think of the curriculum at Randolph as a highly intentional and organized development of what John Dewey called “Educative Experiences” : activities and interactions that engage us, challenge us, and help prepare us for later experiences. At Randolph, this may look like using ratios and fractions while cooking bread, learning to put our snow pants on by ourselves, or developing a fully functioning play-based bartering economy in the Upstairs playground (You have to see it to believe it!!). At Randolph, we know that these Educative Experiences can happen differently for each child, but we also know that there are activities that will help introduce or reinforce skills and content that are developmentally appropriate for children of certain age groups. Our teachers are informed by standards that have been developed by educators and psychologists alike, and use a variety of these guidelines to help construct a year’s worth of activity that fulfills the promise of “Progress” that is so important to Progressive Education.
I am very excited to let you know that at Curriculum Night, we will be able to hand each family a Randolph School “Curriculum Guide” to our Literacy programs, as well as our Art, Music and Philosophy programs. It is a work in progress, with other areas (such as Math, Science and Social Studies) to follow, but our hope is to give our families a fuller understanding of our approach to teaching the skills and content that will prepare your children for a life of learning. It has been a fun and fulfilling project for us so far, and we look forward to you feedback!
I am looking forward to a wonderful year!!