Summers-Knoll engages in community-based learning; it is a place where all aspects of our community, from the close-knit friendships formed in a child’s homeroom to the web of relationships with people and organizations across the region, stimulate and support our students in their intellectual exploration.
Creating a positive learning environment encompasses everything from the physical contexts where learning takes place to how children are greeted and treated by teachers and classmates. We believe a nurturing experience supports happy learning. And we believe the most stimulating learning often takes place outside of the classroom walls.
Under the guidance of exceptional homeroom teachers, children work on kindness, empathy and responsibility, and enjoy close, supportive relationships. They learn to not only value themselves, but each other and the world around them. Each mixed-age class is composed of approximately 14 children, and this small group size creates a tight-knit community of learners. Students strengthen their work by developing skills in teamwork and collaboration, and work extensively with other classes to develop a whole-school sense of family and belonging. (How does this work? Click here.)
This community is extended to parents who don’t just learn the names of a few staff but learn each others’ names and the names of each other’s children. The Summers-Knoll parent community is vibrant and connected. Parents often linger at drop-off for conversations and a chance to catch up or attend monthly coffee chats with our Head of School, Joanna. Some parents volunteer in the classroom, others work on committees or serve on the Board.
As an urban school, located in an Ann Arbor neighborhood on a direct city bus route to the downtown area, we consider the city of Ann Arbor our larger classroom — its museums, businesses and cultural events are like a second home to our students. County Farm Park is our backyard. Summers-Knoll borders the park and we make full use of the extensive woods, nature trails, thriving community gardens and fabulous playground. In return, students consider themselves to be stewards of the park’s resources and scientists exploring its ecosystem.
Spending time outside of classroom strengthens students’ community awareness which is fundamental to the experience at Summers-Knoll. Students engage in learning and service activities with organizations such as Tantre Farm, Food Gatherers and the University of Michigan. Numerous area experts join us frequently for teaching and sharing. Relationships are also forged across the U.S. and world as the children link to opportunities for even broader enrichment and develop an understanding of the responsibilities that come with a vibrant local and global community.