Shady Hill School wants children to be joyful, active learners who become confident and ethical citizens of the school community and the world beyond. We believe in the primacy of exploration and discovery, we advance the mastery of skills, and we help students shape meaning from knowledge. To accomplish these ends, the school:
- Knows and honors the individual character and spirit of each child
- Respects the pace of childhood and understands that true exploration takes time
- Creates a safe environment that allows children to be curious, take risks, and make mistakes
- Encourages children to be independent thinkers and doers
- Advocates learning through cooperation and collaboration
- Designs and uses Central Subject, an interdisciplinary curriculum with a deep focus on a single theme or year-long topic
- Emphasizes contact with primary sources and actual materials
- Values creative thinking and intellectual discipline
- Helps children discover the power of imagination
- Promotes the leadership of teachers and invests in their professional development
- Offers a stimulating teacher training course for those preparing to enter the professio
- Challenges prejudice, respects difference, and recognizes that multiple perspectives inform human experience
- Forges a lively, interdependent community of students, teachers, parents, alumni and administrators who work together to achieve the schools mission and sustain its values.
The faculty in both the Lower and Middle Schools use activities that guide children toward knowledge and meaning through imaginative exploration and the mastery of skills. In a Central Subject classroom, fourth graders studying Ancient Greece read The Iliad and The Odyssey, paint shields in preparation for their own Olympic Games, construct puppets that will star in a performance located in Hades, and examine the role archaeologists play in learning about the ancient world. Young scientists utilize computer technology to analyze data; mathematicians arrange blocks and chips to manipulate number concepts; and artists employ clay, oils and pastels to represent their worlds. Young children observe life in our small wetland area, while young adolescents debate the Declaration of Independence. These activities promote risk-taking and rich independent thinking, make use of primary sources, and value individual creativity. Its founders designed Shady Hill to be a joyful, active place.
At Shady Hill, learning is active: teachers guide as well as instruct. And children understand that the process of figuring something out is as important as the right answer. We think Shady Hill is a remarkable place for children to grow.
Bruce Shaw, Director