While the environment at our school is often described by visitors and ABS families as “special" or "magical," the reality is that our success is structured upon a deeply intentional curriculum, with carefully researched methods of instruction delivered in every classroom, every day. The success of our academic program requires thoughtful professional development and training, as well as a commitment to the shared project of building this community at every level: our administrators hold the vision and ensure accountability; our teachers distill their own learning and knowledge into each classroom, where rigor is balanced with, play, and individual needs are met in the context of a community of learners; and our students and families are equal partners in this endeavor.
Our curriculum includes…
Quick Connections: Planned or spontaneous use of the arts to help understand or reinforce concepts. For example, dance breaks, drawing, curriculum songs, drama games that reinforce learning from other subjects.
Student-Led Lessons: Where possible and appropriate, teachers follow student curiosity. Examples: students write and direct a scene, write a song and perform it, create a work of art to explore a topic, with necessary support and structure from the teacher.
Teacher Designed and Led Lessons: Teachers create lessons based on the required curriculum, inspired by the natural connections that naturally occur across subjects, seeking to captivate the interest of students, and sometimes sharing a particular passion of the teacher. Example: a teacher who loves throwing pots designs a series of lessons around the basics of working with clay and connects the lessons with social studies, geometry, and problem-solving skills. She leads her team to provide the experience for all students at that grade level. A visiting expert might be brought in to demonstrate slab pottery techniques.
Immersion Experiences: Teachers bring students into a great work of art or an artist study, allowing students to become immersed and to feel ownership. For example, Leonardo DaVinci study, grade level plays, filmmaking, self-portraits. These experiences require a lot of adult vision, planning, and assistance, giving students access to experiences they would not be able to synthesize on their own. The final quality is elevated because the student applies their skills within a dedicated and supportive structure.