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At Blue Mountain School, we practice a Contemplative Progressive model.
Contemplative Education – Blue Mountain School helps students develop their awareness, concentration, and insight. We strive to use processes that illuminate the innate wisdom of human beings and cultivate a growing sense of peace and wonderment in everyday life.
How do the Contemplative and Progressive models work together? Combined, these practices provide a holistic approach to education that nurtures the mind and the heart, the rational and the creative, the physical and the metaphysical; together, the Contemplative and Progressive models honor the whole child.
Learning in the Early Childhood Class
We believe that play is the work of early childhood. We facilitate imaginative play with realistic and useful tools and activities that reflect the "real world" of which children are an important part. Whether the children are pretending to feed their friends who are visiting their restaurant, building a house out of playstands and silks, or sanding blocks for the classroom, they learn that their minds and bodies can work together toward a meaningful end. In our Early Childhood classroom, our students’ sense of competence and purpose is also facilitated by preparing for and cleaning-up after their snacks and meals, caring for toys and classroom items, and participating in many group activities in which they learn new songs, stories, and fingerplays. Each school day has a rhythm that includes play time, group time, focused circle time, outdoor time, and snack time. Art, music, and movement also each play a prevalent role in the Early Childhood classroom.
Learning in the Early Learning Class
The Early Learning classroom provides a bridge between the safety and rhythm of the Early Childhood classroom and the increased possibilities for skill building that characterize the Elementary classroom. Imaginative play remains an important part of the day for Early Learning students, and they also work to increase their capacity for reflection and awareness, which brings new challenges for them. “I wonder why…?” is a hallmark question for children in this classroom, and their work is characterized by an expanded sense of themselves and the world at large.
Our Early Learning students begin exploring new skills at their own pace. Learning to think about letters and numbers as symbols with meaning is an important development for children in this class, and putting those letters and numbers together to communicate their ideas in writing is an exciting new activity.
Learning in the Elementary and Middle School Classes
The contemplative elements of our model support the belief that discipline and structure facilitate self-mastery and competence. The progressive elements of our model support the belief that freedom and choice facilitate discovery and increasing responsibility. The place where the contemplative and progressive aspects of our model come into balance is with Elementary and Middle School students, as their teachers work to balance their students' need for structure with their increasing need for freedom and choice as they grow.
Our Elementary and Middle School teachers help students develop self-awareness, curiosity, and confidence by starting most classroom activities with an assessment of what students already know about the topic or skill. This process helps teachers and students to identify the areas that need attention and develop some expectations and goals for the activity.
As students explore new topics and skills, teachers encourage questions like: What did we expect to learn? What did we observe? Did we answer our questions or learn all that we wanted to about this topic? Do we need to spend more time trying to answer our questions or exploring what we've learned?
Questions like these help students reflect on what they are learning, so that they can make new connections and find meaning in each lesson and activity.
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If you shop at Kroger, you can help BMS earn money for its scholarship fund. Our Community Rewards number is 84005.