Academic Outline

The Walden School uses a 3-year spiraling curriculum that is in tune with each student’s readiness to move forward to the next level. Subject matter is introduced in a general manner and then as the student progresses along in understanding, the knowledge becomes more specific. When the student shows that he/she is ready to move to the next level, the process begins again. We believe that this readiness is not best indicated by a specific age or grade, but instead moves along based on each student’s unique stage of development.

The following will tell you more about each curriculum.

 

Discovery Curriculum: Ages 6 - 8

 
 
 

See our sample Daily Schedule for students ages 6-8.

Reading/Language Arts
The objective of this curriculum is to actively involve children in meaningful language experiences that support the belief that each child is capable of learning to read and write but at varying rates of development. We can accommodate all levels of readers through the guided reading approach. Writing workshop allows children to acquire phonemic awareness and phonics, begin with pictures only, and then transition to “inventive” spelling and later conventional spelling. This area of curriculum includes Reading, Writing, Listening, Viewing, and Speaking.

Before transition into the Tools and Transitions curriculum, students will:

  • Develop effective communication skills
  • Learn to enjoy a variety of reading material
  • Develop comprehension skills through listening, observing, and reading
  • Develop reading strategies
  • Begin formal writing at a developmentally appropriate level
  • Develop writing mechanisms
  • Develop listening skills
  • Strengthen phonemic awareness

Mathematics
The objective of this curriculum is to develop children’s mathematical thinking through interaction with concrete material sand hands-on experiences that, after a firm understanding is established, moves on to a symbolic level. Students learn how to represent their mathematical ideas with pictures, numbers, symbols, and graphs. Through group activities, children discuss, explore, test, and solve meaningful problems. This area of curriculum includes Problem Solving, Patterns, Number Sense, Addition and Subtraction, Time and Money, Measurement, Shapes and Symmetry, Exploring Large Numbers, and Representing Data.

Before transition into the Tools and Transitions curriculum, students will:

  • Learn to value math
  • Become confident in one’s own ability
  • Become a mathematical problem solver
  • Learn to communicate mathematically
  • Learn to reason mathematically


Science
The objective of this curriculum is to encourage children to become better investigators through the discovery approach of learning. It is a hands-on program that allows children to make connections between preexisting knowledge and new information and build a life long positive attitude towards science. This area of curriculum includes Life Science, Physical Science and Earth Science.

Before transition into the Tools and Transitions curriculum, students will:

  • Develop an understanding and appreciation of living things
  • Improve observation skills
  • Investigate and explore various properties
  • Conduct simple experiments

Social Studies

The objective of this curriculum is to encourage students to learn about and from the world around them by examining occurrences in the past, learning map and globe skills, and relate studies to their own lives. This area of curriculum includes the concepts of History of long ago, the World, our Country, and Citizenship/Government.

Before transition into the Tools and Transitions curriculum, students will develop an understanding of:

  • Regions and physical features of Earth
  • Rules and responsibility
  • What it means to be a good citizen
  • History
  • Culture and cultural diversity
  • Globes and maps
 

Tools and Transitions Curriculum: Ages 8- 10

 
 
 

See our sample Daily Schedule for students ages 8- 10.

Reading/Language Arts
The objective of this curriculum is for children to expand their ability to communicate through speaking, writing, reading, and listening. This program encourages children to read a variety of literature and freely express themselves in writing. This area of curriculum includes Reading, Writing, Listening, Viewing, and Speaking.

Before transition into the Independence and Process curriculum, students will:

  • Demonstrate an increasing proficiency basic reading skills and strategies
  • Develop vocabulary and fluency in reading
  • Demonstrate competence in the general skills needed to reading a variety of texts
  • Understand the writing process
  • Demonstrate fluency and style in writing
  • Demonstrate competence in comprehension and evaluation of materials
  • Use grammatical and mechanical conventions appropriate to their developmental level
  • Use information resources
  • Use speaking and listening skills to communicate effectively.

Mathematics
The objective of this curriculum is to provide hands-on investigations from which to develop essential mathematical concepts. Emphasis is on manipulation of objects to ensure concrete understanding and time is given to practice and demonstrate this understanding. Meaning will be developed both at the concrete and abstract levels. Students will develop problem-solving strategies, communicate mathematically (both verbally and in written form), understand the function of math in everyday life, and explain their thinking and provide reasons to support their answers. This area of curriculum includes Data Collection and Graphs, Place Value, Time, Addition and Subtraction, Money, Multiplication and Division, Measurement and Geometry, and Fractions.

Before transition into the Independence and Process Community, students will demonstrate and understanding of:

  • The concept of data
  • Concepts of measurement
  • How reasoning is accomplished using math

Students will also apply and use:

  • Basic math to solve problems
  • Simple data collection strategies
  • Measurement tools and strategies

Science
The objective of this curriculum is to continue the discovery approach to learning through active involvement and building upon a student’s existing knowledge. Children assimilate new ideas by exploring new phenomena, reflecting on their observations, and applying and discussing new ideas. Students develop an increased understanding of scientific concepts and develop skills necessary to carry out scientific inquiry. Science is approached in a relevant, interesting, and challenging way, which helps continue a positive attitude towards science. This area of curriculum includes Life Sciences, Earth Sciences, and Physical Sciences.

Before transition into the Independence and Process Curriculum, students will:

  • Understand the process of scientific inquiry
  • Understand and recognize the properties of matter
  • Understand the life cycles and environments
  • Understand the properties of the earth materials
  • Identify problems and discuss possible scientific solutions
  • Understand changes in the environment, and the basic causes and effects of those changes
  • Understand science as a human endeavor with an emphasis being placed on investigation and thinking

Social Studies
The objectives of this curriculum is to help children learn about themselves and about people and places from around the world through the study of history, geography, economics, civics, and culture. In addition, the classroom provides an ideal setting for children to explore values and learn rules for social living, developing respect and tolerance for others. This area of curriculum includes Citizenship and Belonging, Communities around the World, Goods and Services, Historical Figures and Contributions, Freedom, and Building a Community.

Before transition into the Independence and Process Community, students will:

  • Understand the physical features of our world
  • Understand the uses of maps, globes, atlas, charts, and graphs
  • Understand the concept of citizenship
  • Understand the characteristics of economic decision making
  • Understand the meaning of chronological order and history
  • Understand the concept of community
 

Independence and Process Curriculum: Ages 10- 12

 
 
 
 

See our sample Daily Schedule for students ages 10-12.

Reading/Language Arts
The objective of this curriculum is for children to expand their ability to communicate through speaking, writing, reading, and listening. Technical skills are taught as part of a whole and children are given many experiences through all subject areas in which they can build ideas about the functions and uses of written and oral language. This area of curriculum includes Reading, Writing, Listening, Viewing, and Speaking.

Before transition into the Apprenticeship and Application curriculum, students will:

  • Read and interpret a wide variety of literary texts and genres
  • Demonstrate an increasing proficiency of reading skills and strategies
  • Expand and develop increased vocabulary
  • Use appropriate conventions in writing
  • Demonstrate an understanding of, and an ability to use the writing process effectively,
  • Apply study skills to interpret graphs, charts, diagrams, and other graphic organizers, take notes, and use a dictionary, thesaurus, and reference books
  • Conduct and present research material that includes note-taking and outlining
  • Utilize listening, viewing, and speaking skills to communicate effectively

Mathematics
The objective of this curriculum is to provide students with the skills necessary to think critically and problem solve in an authentic real-world setting through the use of practical exercises, tables, graphs, maps, and manipulatives. This area of curriculum includes Data Collection and Graphs, Place Value and Time, Addition and Subtraction, Multiplication and Division, Geometry, Fractions, Measurement, Decimals, Probability and Ratios, and an introduction to Algebra, Geometry, Calculus, and Trigonometry

Before transition into the Independence and Process Curriculum, students will demonstrate an understanding of:

  • Properties and concepts of numbers
  • Concepts of statistics and data analysis
  • Properties and concepts of geometry
  • Concepts of measurement
  • Multiple approaches to problem solving, including the awareness that problems may require multiple steps to be solved 


Students will also apply and use:

  • Multiple strategies to solve problems
  • Processes of manipulations and computation
  • Skills that reinforce those concepts through problem-solving and hands-on activities
  • Math manipulatives appropriately

Science
The objective of this curriculum is designed to expand each student’s ability to effectively use a variety of skills to develop critical thinking and problem solving methods in scientific inquiry. Students will acquire basic and complex concepts through observing and questioning, hypothesizing and experimenting, researching and analyzing, and sharing their ideas. There is a strong emphasis on building upon previous knowledge through hands-on exploration. This area of curriculum includes but is not limited to Life Sciences, Earth Sciences, and Physical Sciences.

Before transition into the Independence and Process curriculum, students will demonstrate an understanding of:

Concepts related to earth science, physical science, life science, and the human body
Causes and outcomes of investigated experiments/tasks

Students will also apply and use:

  • Scientific skills: observe, identify, compare, analyze, infer, and evaluate when performing investigative procedures during experiments/tasks
  • Scientific methods for collecting and reporting data
  • Acquired skills to research outside resources such as library materials, and the internet to support scientific findings
  • Science in cross-disciplinary projects to enhance concept understanding in the mathematics, social studies, and language arts curriculum


Social Studies
The objective of this curriculum is designed to expand each student’s ability to effectively identify and demonstrate understanding of major components in history, geography, civics and government, and economics. There is a strong emphasis to discover and evaluate the ideas of commonality and diversity, conflict and cooperation, continuity and change, individualism and interdependence. This area of curriculum is theme related and examine the importance of societal development from early exploration, settlement, and cooperation o the challenges, changes, and dreams of a developing nation.

Before transition into the Independence and Process Curriculum, students will demonstrate and understanding of:

  • Major physical features, landforms
  • Native American cultures and displacement
  • Impact early explorers had on America’s settlement
  • Values, characteristics, and economy of colonial regions
  • Changes in US political geography
  • Political documents; Declaration of Independence/Constitution
  • Events that lead to Westward expansion of America
  • Causes of outcomes of great conflicts (US wars)
  • Major trends of the past and present which shape the contemporary world

See also our Historical Timeline with Essential Questions for the year, used as the framework for our subject integration.


Apprenticeship and Application Curriculum