Shattuck-St.Mary’s, Forest City (SSM-FC), provides a total vision for children’s learning between the ages of 3-18. We divide our school into different Divisions according to the stages in a child’s development into an adult:
Each Division has a Principal, who takes charge of children’s learning in that part of the school.
Similarly, we divide the curriculum (what we want children to learn) for Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle and High School into the following general areas of learning:
We recognize that children learn in different ways in different parts of the school. Our curriculum and learning programs detailed below reflect not only different approaches at different ages but also a unified vision of education for the whole child.
Education in the Early Childhood School at Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Forest City rests on the understanding that early childhood is a critical period for constructing learner identities, and serves as the foundation for every subsequent stage of development. We support healthy identity formation based on what is known about child development and learning, what we know about children as individuals, and what is known about the social and cultural context in which children live - beginning with their families. We believe that a high quality education in early childhood begins with our image of the child as strong, capable, resilient, and rich with wonder and knowledge. We continually ask ourselves what actions we need to take to ensure that image is reflected in the way that we prepare our environments for our students, and respect their capacity as learners.
Shattuck-St. Mary’s international approach to education in early childhood was designed as a response to the needs of the community in Forest City. We provide a strong foundation for children to experience the joy of learning throughout their lives, weaving together principles of the bilingual, bicultural Te Whāriki curriculum from New Zealand and Anji Play from China. Our curriculum is designed for teachers and families to collaborate with our students on in-depth projects, following the inquiry based approach of the world-renowned preschools in Reggio Emilia, Italy. This approach helps the children develop their skills and dispositions for learning, together with a sense of connection to their family, their community, and where they come from. Also informed by research based practices to support learning through play together with developmental assessments and standards from the USA, we offer a world class education for children in their foundation years.
Our Learning Community
We are an inclusive, question asking and question exploring learning community. We follow the principles of Universal Design for Learning, which means we plan for multiple ways for our students to demonstrate what they are able to do, and what they are thinking. This ensures that all of our students have the chance to understand and connect with the concepts being explored. We are “ALL IN.” This means we value every child for who they are, not just what they are able to do. We support our students in seeing themselves as persistent people who continue making an effort when faced with challenges. Being all in is also about service to the good of the entire school community. Our curriculum is designed for our students to develop a sense of belonging and connection with the larger school and community. With field trips to explore our local surroundings and learn about how life began in Forest City, our students imagine their place in the world and contribute to building a vibrant community.
How we support Social Emotional Development
We introduce our students to the values of our school-wide kindness curriculum in their foundation years. These values are aligned with the six core outcomes of a Shattuck-St. Mary’s education: caring - to build and nurture community; inclusiveness - to foster creative and independent thinking; courage - to cultivate innovation; responsibility - to provide global opportunities for learning; respect - to honor tradition and develop new traditions; and integrity - to graduate citizens of integrity. We use Positive Descriptive Acknowledgement as a key strategy for supporting this learning. This helps children to think of themselves as people who demonstrate these values, and develop language that connects behavior with words in English.
How we support English Language Development
One of our most important goals for our students in early childhood is for them to be comfortable joining in discussions in an English speaking environment. Research shows that children with more developed vocabulary skills in their home language will be able to develop English language skills more easily in a high quality English language environment like we provide for children in their foundation years at Shattuck-St. Mary’s. For that reason, we encourage families to continue providing rich, descriptive language experiences for their children in their home language. Our teachers use proven strategies for promoting language development and self-confidence in English language learners. These strategies include: self talk for teachers to describe their own actions; parallel talk to describe what is happening in the learning environment, and Positive Descriptive Acknowledgement to acknowledge internal qualities displayed by the children.
Project time begins every day with our morning meeting at 8:30. The purpose of our morning meeting is for children to plan how they will use project time to meet goals for instruction and self-determined play with their teacher. We promote creative thinking during this time and at other gatherings throughout the day by encouraging the children to plan and brainstorm ideas for how they will represent their thinking using music, movement, and art with phonics, reading, writing, and mathematics as a focus. We also promote concept development during our morning meeting with activities that promote vocabulary development, scientific thinking, analysis and reasoning. These activities include asking and answering why and how questions, problem solving, prediction, experimentation, classification, comparison and evaluation of their learning.
During project time, our students choose between a variety of learning centers with materials they can use to explore new concepts related to previous learning or direct instruction. For younger children, project time is an opportunity to gain experience playing alongside their peers as they move through the stages of play development from parallel play and associative play toward more cooperative play. This experience prepares them to participate in group projects and develop skills in self regulation that allow them to benefit from more formal instruction.
Teachers and parents communicate directly with children about who they are as learners using a narrative form of assessment borrowed from Te Whāriki called a Learning Story. Learning stories are a record of a child’s life that begin with a description of something significant the teacher noticed about their learning, an analysis of the working theories, dispositions, and developmental milestones evident in the story, and suggestions for possible ways of extending the learning or ideas about what to do next. Our students each have a Learning Story portfolio that goes back and forth between home and school so that our students have access to them at any time, and parents and teachers can sit close together with them and their portfolio to revisit experiences, reinforce learning, and communicate directly with the child about what they will do next to continue their learning stories.
Mathematics Instruction in the Classroom
Foundational numeracy skills will be presented through simple counting and patterns from the world around us. Our students are exposed to numbers and patterns through math centers, nature walks, at snack time, and at many other times throughout a school day. As the children mature and gain experience, the math program becomes more direct as students build on the numeracy and patterns and add several math concepts like time, problem solving, and addition to give them a strong foundation and prepare them for the elementary program.
Literacy Development in the Classroom
Students enrolled in the Early Childhood School at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, Forest City have a variety of age appropriate opportunities to grow their literacy skills. Through reading aloud, access to a variety of high quality children’s books and writing materials, the children will be shown how to read and write for meaning. When children enter Kindergarten, the literacy instruction becomes more direct to help prepare children for the elementary program. Learning the English alphabet, the letter sounds, and different strategies will give students a strong foundation in literacy.
Physical Education, Art, and Music in the Classroom
Students have specialist classes in physical education, music, and art as part of our integrated project approach. In Physical Education, the specialist teaches introduces the children to swimming, games and exercises to develop whole body muscles, as well as dance as a form of creative self expression. In Art, our specialist helps young children learn to develop their imagination while they control and build the muscles in their hands through cutting, painting, and using clay. Our music specialist introduces the children to the development of musical skills such as making steady beats and rhythmic patterns, as well as how to listen to and develop an appreciation for classical music using the Kodály Concept. The children also gain experience using Orff-Schulwerk instruments to create their own music.
Instruction at SSM-FC will be in English throughout the day. However, we believe that children need a strong foundation in their native language in order to fully appreciate their culture while they learn a second or third language. With that in mind, our students will be enrolled in a mother tongue program to help them develop their language skills in that language. If the student is a native English speaker, they will have the opportunity to join with children learning Mandarin or Malay with a specialist in teaching those languages to children.
We teach our students to basic coding skills to program child-friendly robots. Children also have occasional access to tablets with apps that reinforce language, literacy, and numeracy skills introduced by their teachers. Most importantly, students in the Early Childhood School use technology in a variety of ways to produce content and document projects for Learning Stories in Seesaw.
At Shattuck-St-Mary’s, Forest City, we take pride in ensuring that our Elementary students develop a solid foundation in basic numeracy and literacy skills while encouraging them to explore their passions in a range of areas, from science to the arts, from engineering to athletics.
Elementary students stay with their Homeroom Teachers for most of the day. As much as possible, students learn the skills and concepts through integrated units that show them how information is used in the real world. For example, a unit on Simple Machines (lever, pulley, inclined plane, screw, wedge, and wheel and axle), initially incorporates science, engineering, and math, but a science report introduces English writing and reading, while the robotics used to teach the concepts might also be sketched in Art class.
The day starts off with a Morning Meeting. Students share news and set learning goals for the day/week with their homeroom teachers. Teachers use the opportunity to develop study and social skills, read stories to students and otherwise prepare students for a successful day of learning.
English Language and Literature
The language of instruction at school is English. We provide opportunities for all students to develop strong English language skills in reading and listening comprehension, speaking and writing. As students progress from learning to read to reading to learn, students are introduced to a range of genres of literature. They develop the ability to read, with deep understanding, age-appropriate books, e-books and magazines from our well-stocked school library, as well as from online resources.
The language program incorporates the latest techniques, including using Writer’s Workshop and Reader’s Workshop teaching structures, a bespoke spelling program, and grammar lesson delivered on context. We want to make our students love being readers and authors. Special activities include Book Week, author visits, spelling bee and others.
English as an Additional Language
For students whose strongest language is not English, SSM-FC provides English as an Additional Language (EAL) support. This custom-designed assistance sometimes takes the student out of their regular classroom for small group instruction. In other cases, the EAL teacher joins the regular class to provide in-class support. Moreover, our classroom and specialist teachers are provided with support to ensure that students make rapid progress in both social and academic English skills.
Other World Languages
We envision that students graduating from the Elementary School will be fluent in English and in their mother tongue (or a second language for our English speakers). Many of our students come with strong skills in Mandarin, or (Bahasa) Malay or another language. Therefore, during language time, students with mother tongue proficiency in a language other than English will take lessons to further develop their academic ability in that language. The expanding range of languages will follow a state or national curriculum.
For students whose mother tongue is English, or for language groups that are very small, students will study Mandarin or (Bahasa) Malay as a second language. These lessons will be introduced in a fun way, incorporating music and games, while progressing to vocabulary building, grammar and other conventions of the respective languages.
The numeracy program in the Elementary School is designed to be a balanced, challenging program based on mastery and fluency. By mastery, we ensure that students fully understand a concept and receive extra help until they get there. By fluency, we work with students (and parents) so that students can perform calculations quickly and accurately, thus giving them a strong platform for further study of mathematics. In the primary school, all strands of mathematics are covered – including number, pattern, measurement, geometry (shape and space) and data management. Teachers and students use manipulatives (such as fraction pies, counting blocks and play clocks), technology, chess, and other activities and resources to build mathematical thinking.
Science, including Engineering (STEM)
Our Science program follows the latest science curriculum guidelines from America, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The NGSS organizes science learning in four strands, Physical Science, Life Science, Earth and Space Science, and Engineering. The Forest City Campus science program introduces elementary students to how scientists do their work, by taking students into the Elementary science lab to conduct experiments. An annual science fair and the use of educational robotics are other components of our science program.
Social Studies (Geography, History, Economics)
How has geography guided human communities? How have ancient civilisations, like the Chinese and Egyptian societies, led us to our current situation? How has trade made some countries rich and others poor? The study of how people live and organise their societies is all the more important as technology makes our world smaller. The social studies program gives students a broad, global perspective with which to understand human society.
Weekly swimming lessons and Physical Education (PE), plus Sports Days and Swim Gala, and many sports themed co-curricular activities (CCAs, or after school clubs). Swimming and PE lessons are led by qualified PE and swimming instructors, ensuring the safety of participating students.
The music program is performance oriented, with students using tuned and un-tuned percussion instruments, playing the recorder and progressing to strings, brass and woodwind instruments. The music repertoire will represent the musical traditions from around the world. The Elementary School will have a performing choir and, based on student interests, instrumental ensembles. Parents may also opt for individual lessons to develop student expertise in specific instruments.
The visual art program is presentation-based art, meaning that student work is developed with an expectation that it will be displayed around the campus (and possibly online). By displaying their art work, students have a real audience. By providing an online showcase, grandparents and other family members can all enjoy their artistic productions. The art program will include 2D, 3D, and digital art media from around the world to develop the skills to be a successful artist.
Theatre Arts (Drama)
The ability to use space, body, movement and voice to speak to evoke emotions to create meanings with an audience is an important leadership skill. Short plays (skits) will feature in school lessons. Moreover, larger productions will recruit students to present musical and dramatic plays to student and parent audiences.
Today’s world places great value on innovation and creativity. At our Faribault (USA) campus, innovation is offered through WeCreate, ScholarShift and the many Centers of Excellence.
The Forest City Elementary School honours the same commitment to innovation. Students will have the opportunity to visit our own weCreate Center, where they have the opportunity to use various technologies, including robotics, electronics, video, music making/mixing, and other tools. With the support of specially-trained staff, students will be lightly guided towards creations of personal significance.
Experiential and Service Learning
Learning inside a classroom, science lab, gymnasium or music room is not sufficient to develop the perspectives and skills of students. Therefore, Elementary students go on day trips to enhance learning. Experiential learning differs from classroom learning because students actively learn by visiting locations, seeing for themselves, doing an activity, and reflecting on it. Overnight trips to encourage independence and students start in upper primary will participate in these trips.
We believe that students in Elementary school are not too young to contribute to society. Therefore, we have students involved in various community projects. Some are in school while others involve going out into the community. They might plant gardens, entertain seniors, or clean beaches, all under the careful supervision of teachers. Through this service, they will also learn the benefit of paying back, that time is more precious than money!
We expect Forest City Campus alumni to be leaders in various fields. We start the development of leadership skills by giving students opportunities to be leaders in school, through Student Council and other forums and roles. We complement this through giving students deliberate leadership development programs.
Today, people have access to gigabytes of information on their smartphones and computers. Our Elementary school leverages involves the power of technology by incorporating a 1-to-1 tablet program into daily lessons. Students will have their own tablet that they will use to personalise their learning, under the careful guidance of teachers and educational technology coaches. The school is equipped with wireless communication and effective bandwidth to access a variety of free and subscription web sites.
Other educational technologies in use include robotics, sensors, probes, voice and video recorders and other tools.
The most important reason to see how students are doing is to improve instruction and learning. Formative assessment is where teachers check that students understand the lesson. If students understand, the teacher can continue to the next concept or skill. If not, the teacher re-teaches the lesson, using different techniques, ensuring that all students are progressing well. Teachers will use a range of techniques and tools to determine how students are doing and use this information in subsequent lessons. Enrichment will be offered where appropriate, for students particularly strong in certain areas of the curriculum, such as math.
At the end of a unit, the teacher will conduct summative assessment for a final evaluation of the student. Assessment techniques and tools include tests, exams, research papers, essays, presentations, speeches, group projects, and performances. Exit tickets, where each student has to answer a question or reflect on a lesson, will be used as students leave a class. In addition to report cards, parents will have access to digital portfolios.
Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs)
The Elementary School, working with the rest of the Forest City Campus, offers a wide range of after school (and weekend) activities. Click here for more information.
At Shattuck-St-Mary’s, Forest City, our Middle School builds on the Elementary school experience and prepares our students for High School. We continue with the Shattuck tradition of high academic expectations and encourage our students to explore new opportunities in their academic program, activities and sport in Grades 6 –9.
Our Middle School students will have the experience in Grade 6 of moving from a ‘home room’ teacher to a different teacher for each subject. The students will have an ‘advisory’ program, and one teacher will be the guardian of the academic and personal development of every student. Our focus is on supporting all students to be comfortable and independent in their academic learning and school life.
The day for the Middle School Students starts with an Advisory Time. Students will meet in groups with their Advisor to receive important news about the school day or school events. This time is also used for the advisor to discuss and answer questions and to check that all students have been successful in completing homework. The program will assist students with study skills, encourage friendships and ensure that everyone is ready and well equipped to start the academic day.
English Language and Literature
Every class in the Middle School will be in English. Students will read, write and speak English in all subject areas. All teachers and school staff will support the development of English language skills at every opportunity in every subject area and in social and activity programs. Teachers will assist students in learning the academic language for each particular subject area. There are specific classes within the English subject classrooms for students to develop specific skills in reading, writing, grammar, vocabulary, public speaking, and debate. Students will learn communication skills through the study and understanding of literature, non-fiction books, media, and classroom interaction.
English As An Additional Language
There will be additional teachers in our Middle School to support all students who are not native English speakers. The level of assistance will depend on the needs of each student, and these specialist teachers will work in classrooms with students and provide additional classes in English as needed. The aim of these teachers will be to help students understand the academic content of their subjects in English as well as developing strong reading, writing and speaking skills. Every teacher in our Middle School will work with students in developing strong English language skills.
The middle school math department is committed to the development of strong mathematical skills that will be utilized in the mathematics, science and technology classrooms. All students are assessed prior to their entry into the Middle School and the appropriate level of math instruction chosen for them. The mathematics program will develop the skill level of all students, assess individual needs and provide a program that caters for the development of all.
Our Science program is based on standards from the United States. The teaching of these standards ensures a strong preparation for the rigors of the high school program as well as developing passion and excitement for the Sciences in the Middle School program. Our laboratories will give all students the opportunity to engage in research, experimentation, and laboratory experience that will support development and knowledge of Science and its connection to our world.
What is STEM? STEM is the combination and integration of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Our students will be taught skills and processes in each subject area but will come to utilize these understandings in our STEM program. Our program will include ‘project based learning’ where students will be required to find answers to questions that require attention to each of the four components of STEM. These investigations will be collaborative, group projects that are mentored and supported by a faculty member and our connections within the community.
When they are proficient in English, students in the Middle school will have the opportunity to learn a new language or to continue in the academic study of their home language. We encourage students to maintain their ‘mother tongue’ at an academic level.
For students with mother tongue English, there will be other language choices. The Middle School will offer language trips for students to experience and practice their language skills in other international settings.
The Middle school runs an innovative and exciting program that combines the teaching of Social Studies (History, Geography, Economics) with English. The purpose is to ensure that students are learning the skills of informational reading and writing in the context of ‘real life’ information from the Social Studies areas. The class time is divided into time for teaching English reading and writing skills and a time for working with the content areas of the Social Sciences.
The world of music, drama, and visual art will be an integral part of the Middle school community. We will work to showcase the talents of our students in both school and community performance events and provide structured lessons to support development in all areas of the arts. The daily schedule will provide opportunities for students to select electives for academic study in the area of music (instrumental or choral), visual art, and drama. As students experience different areas of the Arts program, they will discover new interests, knowledge, and opportunity for further advancement in their subject of choice.
A technology integration teacher will plan with teachers how our students will use the computer to support learning in all subject areas. In the STEM program, specific and advanced computer skills will be taught. Other modern technologies will also be available, including educational robotics, scanners and electronic probes.
In addition to digital technology, other technologies will be used to develop design and engineering skills. 3D printers, laser cutters, and architectural design software will be used to give students skills in engineering design.
Physical Education and Personal Growth
Our Middle School will be attentive to the physical and emotional development of adolescents through the PE and Personal Growth program. Both programs will work together to help students understand the importance of personal fitness and healthy choices. The personal growth program will be designed to support students in developing skills and attitudes that lead to positive interactions with others and personal confidence in their daily life as both a student and a member of the community. Our Physical Education teachers and counselors will work together with advisors to support the physical, social and emotional growth of all our students.
Student Leadership is an important part of the Middle school program and personal growth of students. Providing all students with leadership opportunities helps our students learn to manage time, work as a team, set goals, solve problems and this is an integral part of helping prepare our students for not only the High School but for life.
The Middle School is an important time in academic development, and the assessment of students identifies the strengths and areas of challenge across the curriculum.
Each teacher will design assessments that demonstrate how well students are meeting the expected standards in their subject area and will use this information to inform parents but also to better inform their teaching and the needs of each student in their care.
The assessments will take many different forms during and at the end of a unit of work to provide a range of information about the learning needs of each child.
Students will be working towards the award of the Shattuck-St. Mary’s High School Diploma. Award of the diploma will be based on the award of course credits, based on performance in required classes during the years of High School.
Mathematics at SSM-FC is intended to both develop foundational knowledge of skills as well as a growth mindset that includes perseverance, problem solving, clear mathematical communication and defense of ideas. Placement in mathematics courses is dependent on ability and previous work in mathematics, not on age or grade. For returning Shattuck-St.Mary’s students, the current math teacher makes a placement recommendation in early spring for the next academic year. For newcomers to SSM-FC, placement is determined by school administration, based on careful review of records and recommendations from previous school(s), standardized test results, and placement testing.
As in other parts of the school, we aim to develop students’ competence in English in all four areas of language skill: