Recognizing the importance of a quality education, All Saints’ Episcopal Day School is focused on providing students with the knowledge and experience necessary to be prepared for their ongoing education. Our four-year middle school starts in 5th grade and ends in 8th grade, covering the important pre-adolescent years and allowing us to focus on building a solid foundation. The guiding principles and philosophies that our school is built on include creating critical thinkers, fostering collaboration, learning by doing, nurturing creativity, and preparing students for the 21st century. Here is a more in-depth look at how our middle school works to prepare students for success both in high school and college learning.
One of the biggest concerns that parents have with the education system is that every child will be treated the same, expecting them to fall into a single learning pathway. At All Saints’, however, we approach our students with a very different goal. Rather than prioritizing uniformity above all else, our teachers take the time to recognize the individual passions and creativity present in each student. Students are encouraged to embrace these unique traits, expressing themselves freely. This helps to build confidence and a stronger sense of self which will benefit our students in their continued education and beyond.
Another important difference at All Saints’ is the focus on hands-on and engaged learning. The traditional approach of memorizing facts, for example, has proven to be ineffective for many students. Often students are interested solely in memorizing the information necessary long enough to pass their test and forgetting them afterward.
Instead, at All Saints’, we have replaced rote learning with experiments, projects, and opportunities to collaborate with their peers. Meaningful learning, or ‘learning by doing’, encourages students to develop a deeper understanding of the subject matter. Not only does it help to commit the information to their long-term memory, but it also allows students to guide their own learning experience through asking questions and building an understanding that goes further than the surface level approach that the traditional approach provides. This also makes it easier for our students to apply the information that they have learned in different situations, developing skills that they can carry forward.
A nationwide survey conducted by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and the Yale Child Study Center revealed that nearly 75% of high school students in the United States report having negative feelings towards school
and their education. We believe that this can be largely attributed to the approach that is taken in the traditional education system. In those environments, students are required to sit through lectures and lessons, often focused on subjects that they may not be interested in learning. This negative view of education can discourage students from applying themselves. Alternatively, the educational environment at All Saints’ focuses on creating a love for learning.
Pursuit of Passions
By allowing our students to pursue their passions and interests as well as creating a hands-on learning environment, we can break down the negative stigma often associated with education. Instead, students look forward to their lessons and, ultimately, become lifelong learners. Not only will this encourage greater success in their educational efforts, but it will also promote continued learning in their adult lives both personally and professionally.
This love for learning is further explored through the introduction of theme-based learning. It is not uncommon for a student to feel a strong connection or interest in one school subject while displaying less interest in another. The traditional approach of teaching through a focus on separate subjects can lead to a student excelling in one subject while failing in another due to a lack of interest. Instead, we use theme-based learning where our teachers create lessons focused on a single theme or topic blending different subjects while working towards a bigger picture of understanding.
A theme-based approach to learning encourages students to explore and learn all necessary school subjects by tying them back to a topic of interest. A student that finds mathematics to be overwhelming may be able to better understand the concepts and how to apply them when calculating numbers related to a topic that they are passionate about. The same applies to other subjects such as understanding the application of science in real-life scenarios and learning geography with a more practical approach. This helps to break down barriers to learning by removing the negative feelings towards the subject itself, freeing the mind to explore the concepts and how they can be applied in a variety of different real-life situations.
Finally, an education at All Saints’ focuses on teaching lessons and critical thinking skills that extend beyond the classroom. By applying the skills learned to evaluate real-world news and issues, our students learn how to apply their learning in their day-to-day lives. This not only contributes to their lifelong love of learning by demonstrating the importance of education to their life outside of school, but it also encourages them to explore their own perspectives and views of the world around them. This level of independent thinking will benefit them throughout their lives as they make day-to-day decisions such as navigating problems in the workplace, deciding on their political stance, and building healthy relationships.
The shift towards this style of education in our society is growing as more parents and educators learn the benefits of this approach. By giving our students a reason to love learning both in their school years and throughout the rest of their lives, we are setting them up with the skills necessary to succeed in their continued education. This will not only benefit them in high school and college but also in any opportunities for learning in their personal and professional adult lives. We recognize that our decisions in the education of our students today will impact the rest of their lives. If you’d like to learn more about All Saints’ Episcopal Day School, we invite you to take a tour right