Theme (Science, Social Studies, Integrated Learning)

Children at Spruce Street School encounter real world learning situations where multiple subjects are combined to broaden understanding of an activity. Each year students experience this interdisciplinary learning through a theme chosen by teachers. Themes are designed to be broad enough to encompass all content areas, and unique enough to give a specific lens through with to learn. Each multi-age level has its own theme for the year.

The arts, sciences, social studies, and basic skills all interplay in our students’ education. This interdisciplinary approach prepares children for holistic lifelong learning rather than compartmentalized training in discrete subjects. Science and social studies give our students the opportunity to experience life rather than simply learn about it.

Main features of integrated curriculum are:

  • A combination of subjects
  • An emphasis on projects
  • Sources that go beyond textbooks
  • Relationships among concepts
  • Thematic units as organizing principles
  • Flexible schedules
  • Flexible student groupings

Scientific studies at Spruce Street School foster the belief that science is a vital means of solving problems and making the world a better place. Students grow to see themselves as curious and competent scientists, who observe the environment around them and seek explanations. As active participants in a community of scientists, they collaborate in investigations and share questions and conclusions. They are critical scientific thinkers who listen actively to others’ ideas and evaluate the validity of their conclusions. They are intellectually honest scientists, ready to reexamine their beliefs and assumptions based on the results of their own investigations or the arguments and conclusions of others.

The yearly theme is tied directly to at least one domain of science (earth, life or physical) and all students focus on each domain at least twice during their six years of elementary school. Click here to read more about science at Spruce Street School.