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The Mountain School’s curriculum is based upon the belief that combining and balancing a rigorous, academic program, along with fostering creativity and problem solving skills, and developing students of fine character, is a winning formula. Students learn through a hands-on, interactive, interdisciplinary approach to learning. From basic skills, which result in the foundation, or platform for learning, to high-level study skills, we work to capitalize on each students’ strengths and creativity.
With Glacier (my 8 year old Golden Retriever, certified Therapy dog) next to me, I love greeting every student, each morning at our school’s front entry with a handshake, a smile, and a look in the eyes. At a small school like ours, it is so important that I get to know well and connect with every student and family, and make myself available and approachable. Understanding and appreciating the whole child and developing relationships are what Independent school education is all about.
Our Morning Community Gathering is a wonderful venue to begin each school day. It’s incredible to watch how our students develop a sense of skill, ease, and confidence as they practice projecting and speaking clearly in front of a group of peers and adults to share aspects of their class work. Speaking in public and listening well to others is truly an invaluable, lifelong skill to gain. Many of our class’ Community shares have focused on our new, yearlong, all school, study theme on “Energy.” This addition of an overarching theme provides an incredible platform for all types of inquiry, projects, and collaboration between students in all grade levels. Students in grades 3 / 4 have worked on learning about energy of the mind (different types of intelligences), grades 1 / 2 are learning about the human body and energy of the body (nutrition that feeds our muscles and anatomy) along with emotional energy and the ways in which our emotions affect our bodies. Pre-k / K have begun to learn about the energy from the sun and the moon, grades 5 / 6 have focused on energy in Science classes learning about fossils and decomposition, and our 8th graders are creating steamboats out of wood, copper and a candle to learn about propulsion, as well as the chemical and physical bonds of energy.
The students at MSW care a great deal about each other and our Middle School aged students consistently display a generous spirit to the younger students for whom they are role models. Each day, at recess time, I see our older students playing alongside our younger children with great patience, joy, humor, compassion, and inclusion. Watching our 8th grade students push a pre-k or K student or First grader on a swing, or help a younger teammate to tend goal in a soccer game, or show a 4th grader how to make a lay up shot on the basketball court causes me to grin broadly. Simply observing the many “high fives” that occur between all ages as the recess bell rings to signal the end of play time when all our students trickle down the hill to gather before we head inside, indicates the true spirit of what makes MSW such a special school. I feel proud and honored to be here each day and look forward to growing our student body and welcoming new families to The Mountain School at Winhall.