Our Approach

Our students are intellectually curious, explorers of great ideas, solvers of tricky puzzles, and dreamers of big things. There is a palpable joy that pervades this place, facilitated by teachers who scaffold students’ learning to new heights, students who learn deeply and support each other’s successes, and an administration committed to the potential of each child.

The Summers-Knoll approach develops autonomy in students, involving them in decisions and fostering independent learners. It develops mastery, as students push their horizons, going further and deeper into the skills that support their work. It develops purpose, engaging students in projects that are relevant to their lives, solidifying their understanding of the importance of their work and of their own power to make a difference.

Flexible instruction
Our teachers have facility with multiple modes of teaching. They are experts in differentiation and multiple learning styles, incorporating sensorial, visual-spatial, kinesthetic and auditory approaches to engage students on all levels. They are skilled in employing techniques from a range of pedagogical practices, and are not limited to one prescribed approach. They employ holistic learning approaches, which include strategies in problem solving, conflict resolution, and mediation in relating to peers at school and later in life.

Project-based learning
The backbone of our classroom work is project-based learning. Project-based learning allows a student to work authentically in ways that build powerful academics while developing important collaborative skills. It develops a child’s sense of purpose by integrating learning with life. It encourages problem solving, risk taking, creativity and resilience. It creates space for children to learn from one another, to cultivate and extend the special talents and passions of their peers and to have confidence in their own contributions.

Academic programs are united by school-wide themes, including Identity, Systems, Innovation, Exploration, Mythology and Magic, and Sustainability. Teachers use the themes to spur interesting lessons that are developmentally appropriate for the children in their classrooms. There is enough flexibility in the themes so that teachers can expand and reframe lessons based on the interests of their particular group. The inherent intellectual agility, deep enthusiasm, and collaborations across age and disciplines all conspire to make the thematic approach an essential element of Summers-Knoll.

Themes draw from across the disciplines for a balanced program throughout the school year. The themes for this year are:

  1. Exploration
  2. Myth & Mythology
  3. Sustainability