Juniper Hill School’s interdisciplinary approach to literacy is a three-fold process of training the ear, the eye, and the hand with the mind. Reading, writing, speaking, and listening are incorporated into all disciplines as students learn to use terminology relevant to specific subject areas.
Dramatic play, puppetry, storytelling, songs, poetry, and reading aloud are used to demonstrate literacy and encourage its acquisition in the early childhood programs—and to an extent in the elementary program. In addition, for the elementary students, active engagement with reading and writing, along with appropriate, specific practice with words (word recognition, spelling, and vocabulary), leads to understanding in reading and meaning making in writing.
Topics covered in social studies begin with the students themselves and their immediate surroundings and broaden to encompass their towns, their state, their country, and the world. Students investigate the questions: Why do people live where they do? And build where they do? Local community resources and understanding of economics are used to enhance classroom study. As with studies focused in science, the breadth and depth of social studies grow much like children—here and now when they are young, to close at hand and long ago as they get older in middle elementary, and farther away and long ago as they get into upper elementary grades.
Juniper Hill School’s mathematics program focuses on concept development using hands-on materials and written work. Elementary grades use Investigations mathematics curriculum, supplemented with games, word problems, and projects. Real-life mathematical experiences come to life in outdoor classroom activities where students are guided to recognize the math that is inherent in nature and connected to the integrated curriculum studies.
Science studies at Juniper Hill School cultivate a sense of wonder for the natural landscape and the life within it. Through exploration and experimentation, students develop a spirit of inquiry and problem solving skills in the natural/life sciences, physics, chemistry, and additional scientific disciplines. The science program is strengthened by the use of many nearby resources such as the Sheepscot River and Hidden Valley Nature Center, as well as scientists from the community.
The Arts are a part of all activities at Juniper Hill School. Music, theater and visual arts art taught as separate subjects by our art teacher. Students incorporate visual arts (drawing, painting, clay modeling, collage, and woodworking) into most of their projects, and there is strong emphasis on music through singing, dance, active listening, making and playing instruments, and rhythm games. Students showcase their work and talents by performing at the school’s many ceremonies and celebrations.