Valuing Intellectual Discipline, Reason & Wonder
At St. Anne’s School of Annapolis, inquiry is a way of learning. Our inquiry-centered and integrated academic program provides the framework for making connections, examining multiple perspectives, challenging assumptions and learning how to reason.
- Reggio-inspired education
Reggio-inspired education draws from the interests, strengths and capabilities of the young child. Since 2001, the St. Anne’s School of Annapolis Early Childhood Program has been inspired by the educational approach of the renowned preschool programs in Reggio Emilia, Italy, named by Newsweek Magazine as “one of the ten best school systems in the world.” The Reggio-inspired approach addresses the development of the whole child, emphasizing family and societal influences, a small student/teacher ratio, and close collaboration among administrators and teachers. The approach nurtures children's intellectual growth and creativity through the development of their expressive, communicative, symbolic, cognitive, ethical, metaphorical, logical, imaginative, and relational "languages;" an emphasis on the visual arts; and the conscious and careful attention and deliberate utilization of the environment as an essential element in the process of learning. In our daily work with students, we consider the following Guiding Principles of the Reggio Emilia Approach developed by Louise Cadwell [From Bringing Reggio Home: Teacher College Press, 1997]:
- The child as a protagonist. Children are curious and interested in constructing their learning, negotiating with everything their environment brings to them;
- The child as a collaborator. Education focuses on each child in relation to other children, the family, the teachers and the community, rather than each child in isolation;
- The environment as a third teacher. The design and use of space encourages encounters, communication and relationships;
- The teacher as a researcher. Teachers document their work with children, whom they also consider researchers;
- The parent as a partner. The exchange of our collective wisdom broadens our understanding of each child.
- The Project Approach and the Research Workshop
Project work and the Research Workshop extend and deepen the critical elements of the Reggio-inspired Early Childhood Program. Through this approach, teachers guide students to be researchers as they engage in in-depth studies of real world topics. In our classrooms, you hear the hum of young children deeply engaged in research across the curriculum. During project work and in Research Workshop, students frame questions, make predictions, search in collaboration or independently to find answers, and discover multiple ways to determine answers.Children have many occasions during their project work to do first hand research in science and social studies and apply math and language skills to their learning. It is empowering for them to think deeply about a topic that matters to them, to determine questions and to find answers. As a result, they develop a deeper understanding of the subjects they study. Our approach emphasizes understanding topics in depth, making connections among subjects, and valuing research and project-based learning. Our program capitalizes on students’ strengths, ignites their interests and helps them understand connections among world systems as they build fundamental skills.
- Integrative Learning
The Middle School program builds on the foundation of inquiry centered learning that begins in Early Childhood and Lower School. Integrated learning challenges students to consider different dimensions of a problem from multiple perspectives, making conceptual links across subjects and disciplines. The curriculum provides opportunities for students to think deeply and analyze, evaluate and synthesize information as they draw upon a wide array of sources and make connections among ideas.