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Mission / Philosophy
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Mission mission philosophy programPhilosophy mission philosophy programProgram

Mission

The Smith College Campus School’s mission is to provide an exemplary education for elementary school students and to provide a learning environment for Smith College students and faculty. More specifically, the Campus School’s mission is:

  1. To provide an intellectually challenging and engaging elementary education that fosters development in all areas.
  2. To encourage children to fulfill their potential within a responsive, respectful and supportive learning environment. 
  3. To serve as a laboratory school for Smith College students participating in teacher preparation programs and for Smith College faculty and students engaged in the study of children and the teaching-learning process and research.

The dual missions of the Campus School are complementary. As a laboratory school, it is incumbent upon us to articulate a coherent philosophy of education and goals that guide our program, our daily interactions with children and our work with future teachers.

Philosophy

The Campus School strives to be a cooperative and responsive community committed to an education that addresses children's cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development. Central to our philosophy is the belief that children should acquire a set of fundamental concepts and skills, as well as the habits of mind and heart that enable them to understand and operate in their world and become effective problem solvers and responsible community members. We view learning as a dynamic process that is enhanced by openness to new ideas and a willingness to take intellectural risks in the pursuit of knowledge.

We work to develop children's sense of community and maintain a learning community characterized by civility and caring. We respect differences among students and recognize each student's unique contributions to the school community. We build on children's strengths and celebrate their achievements, helping children recognize their accomplishments and experience the joy of learning.

Program

Classrooms at all grade levels, kindergarten through grade 6, average 20 students. Students encounter multiple teachers as they move in and out of their classrooms to the art studio, music room, gym, computer lab, Spanish room and library to work with specialists in each of these areas. As part of their lab school experience, our students also work with graduate and undergraduate student teachers who are mentored by the classroom teacher, and most of whom are taking on the role of classroom teacher for the first time.

Students are provided with a challenging program of studies in language arts, mathematics, social studies and science which is extended through their work in special subjects (art, music, P.E., Spanish, technology). Both concepts and skill development are emphasized in each subject area and, when appropriate, subjects are integrated into a unit of study. Units of study are designed so that the integrity of each discipline can be maintained while enabling the relationships among disciplines to be better understood. Instruction is designed to build on children’s prior knowledge and to engage children with substantial and significant content. Individual and group work, an active exchange of ideas, and the creation of learning communities are central to life in our elementary classrooms.

In the primary grades students build a strong foundation of basic concepts and skills which they gradually consolidate and begin to apply to new ideas and novel problems. As students progress, there is an increasing emphasis on reading proficiency and clearly communicating ideas adhering to appropriate forms and standards. Independent work, small group work and whole class discussions are all a regular part of students’ classroom experience. We expect students to learn to take responsibility for themselves in each of these contexts and to sustain and extend their individual intellectual pursuits as well as participate in a shared academic agenda. Through these experiences students begin to develop an awareness of themselves as learners and to become more confident and able to draw on their inner resources and knowledge which allows them to take intellectual risks.

With fundamental skills and concepts in place, students in the intermediate grades continue to refine and use their skills to master more complex content and build their understanding of more abstract concepts. The use of critical analysis, the emphasis on understanding multiple perspectives, and the necessity of making connections within and across curricular areas as well as connections between school learning and the world outside of school are amplified as students move through the intermediate grades. Teachers scaffold the types and complexity of homework assignments, gradually increase expectations for accountability and help students develop study skills to support their growing independence in setting learning goals and developing strategies for accomplishing them as they move into middle school.

The expectations for student learning in our program are developmentally appropriate, while recognizing that students’ learning profiles and rate of development vary. We work to support students with a range of learning profiles. However, we do not have a “special education” program as that term is used in public schools. Administrators and classroom support staff work with classroom teachers to support teachers’ efforts to enhance curriculum and instruction to meet as wide a range of student needs as possible within the context of our regular education program. Our program is one in which skills and concepts build on one another, in which cognitive demands become more complex as students progress through the grades and that requires students to make adequate academic progress in order for them to take full advantage of the program.


 
 
     
   
  Contact Us   |   Smith College Campus School 33 Prospect Street Northampton, MA 01063 T 413.585.3270 F 413.585.3285   |   Directions
First Graders study insects
News & Notices:
Open House on SATURDAY, JANUARY 24th, 9:30 am - 11:00 am for prospective kindergarten through sixth grade students and their families. For more information - click here

INSECTS AS ENGINEERS:
Our first graders are studying how insect adaptations solve problems within the environment. Insects must build colonies, cut leaves, haul materials, and defend themselves from predators. Our budding scientists study how insect bodies resemble the meshing parts of simple machines in order to fly like mosquitos, zip across water like a water strider, tunnel like ants, and cut, carry and chew vegetation. In addition, they are studying the insect drawings of the German artist Maria Sybell Merian and then studying insects and creating their own sketches. Click here for more.


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