Curriculum

 

Beacon Hill Preparatory Academy Offers Multi-age Classrooms Called Pods

The Benefits of Multi-Age Classrooms

•Accelerated curriculum and instruction

•Allows for flexibility in the grouping of children according to need, ability, or interest; not just by age

•Problems associated with a yearly transition from one grade to another can be overcome.

•The teacher has a nucleus of second and or third students, trained in the details of the class organization who keep it going while newcomers absorb it.

•The student-teacher-parent relationship develops over a longer period of time, allowing students to receive greater support for their success in school.

•A more natural learning situation is established. Students’ program is not geared to the work of a single year, but can be adjusted over two or three years.

•Benefits come to the older students from the quality of leadership and responsibility they develop.

•Younger students are stimulated intellectually by older students.

•Children have a broader social experience with increased opportunities to lead and to follow, to collaborate and to make stable peer relationships.

 

Early Learning and Primary Pods

The curriculum, schedule, and environment for students in Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 3 reflect two central themes for these early school years: the intellectual discovery of learning to decode, understand, create, and manipulate the symbols and operations used in language and number, and each student’s developing awareness of themselves and their community.

Beginning in Pre-Kindergarten, faculty embraces the school’s philosophy and strive to create an environment in which students are encouraged to play, explore, observe, reflect, discuss, and respond. Throughout their Lower School journey, which culminates in Grade 3, students are empowered in leadership roles using their strengths as artists, athletes, authors, musicians, scholars, scientists, and community activists. Lower School teachers balance an active and engaging program with a rigorous academic curriculum, laying the foundation for the challenges of Middle and High School.

Students are immersed in an integrated and interdisciplinary program which is designed to take advantage of the skills and concepts that are common among all the disciplines, such as critical thinking, idea mapping, and research. Religion from a Christian perspective is a part of the lower school curriculum design. The program is designed, and continues to evolve, through the efforts of a diverse, educated, and respected faculty. In an institution that values the process of learning as well as the product, these educators take pride in knowing each student’s individual strengths and abilities.

In addition to its program, BHPA extensive field trip opportunities and technological resources allows students to be challenged and supported to go beyond their inherent strengths, to learn perseverance, and to develop self confidence.

 

Intermediate and Upper Pods

The Middle School experience provides the crucial link between the foundations of the Lower School program and the expectations for independence in High School. These years encompass a period of rapid growth and change. In Middle School, each student learns to develop independent skills, to build social, community, and leadership skills, and to acquire a sense of confidence and competence as the comes to know his or herself. Students encounter a rigorous academic curriculum which includes religion from a Christian perspective, creative opportunities in art, music, and dance, a developmentally appropriate program in physical education and sports, in an atmosphere that encourages and respect the importance of relationships.

In Middle School, faculty directly address what it means to be an active participant in an Pod setting. Teachers speak directly to the positive qualities of all students and encourage them to use those qualities to create a strong community. Both individual and group achievements are cited and celebrated, affirming these positive contributions. The curriculum is college preparatory and challenging, emphasizing achievement in learning through teachers’ and advisors’ supportive relationships with students.

Learning is a community endeavor, and the culture of talk and collaboration permeates the classroom. Each teacher, in response to the age and interests of the students and provides a range of engaging learning experiences and projects. There is an expectation that each student will bring their unique background, skills, and approach to learning to the benefit of all. The program is thoughtfully structured to develop studentship skills, moving from the intense support of the transition curriculum in Intermediate Pod to near independence in Upper Pod. Through this developmental process, each student comes to know how they learns best. Students have the opportunity to work at tasks that require shared leadership. By the end of Middle School, they have acquired a sense of a group identity as well as a sense of pride in their individual accomplishments.