Strong academics characterized by Rich Structured Learning Experiences

NHCS’s educational philosophy is that children learn best when they are experiencing, creating, enjoying, and thinking in an environment that is carefully structured to achieve the goals of the unit or lesson effectively.

NHCS believes that quality lessons are both rich and structured. The richness is designed to stimulate engagement and foster a love of learning by providing deep, meaningful learning experiences that allow scholars to engage with the material in a variety of different ways, including art, literature, performance, and hands-on experimentation. The structure ensures that all teachers are well-organized and make use of data and assessments to ensure that scholars meet or exceed standards. Rich Structured Learning Experiences (RSLEs) are the means through which NHCS purposefully and explicitly helps its scholars develop the academic and social-emotional competencies that are necessary for their success in further education and in life.

Rich Structured Learning Experiences In Practice:

  • A kindergarten curriculum on urban gardening included planting seeds and transplanting into garden plots, cutting, cooking and pickling vegetables, and becoming experts on specific vegetables and displaying art and research at a Museum Night where for their friends and family.
  • During a unit on seasons, each 1st grade scholar chose which one was his or her favorite. They created a class graph, worked in groups to make posters about why they preferred a particular season, and then each group tried to convince the others to change their minds. This project integrated art, math, writing, technology, science and speaking and listening skills.
  • In 3rd grade scholars spend many weeks in their social studies classroom learning the history of Massachusetts, with a particular focus on the Wampanoag tribe. In addition to reading and writing about the Wampanoags, scholars role played the interaction between the tribe and the colonists, including eating foods that both groups would have eaten. In tech class, each scholar had the chance to design a Wampanoag avatar.
  • Educators from Thompson’s Island Outward Bound Education Center partnered with NHCS 6th grade teachers to teach a unit about ecosystems. Then the sixth graders performed their own experiments – in Thompson’s Island’s salt marsh.
  • In conjunction with 6th grade social studies curriculum on world civilizations, the NHCS arts specialists taught a curriculum on world cultures. In their arts enrichment class, which met three times a week, scholars watched videos on the Japanese cherry blossom festival, created inspiring cherry blossom art using pastels and tempura paint. They also studied and wrote haikus and read articles on Japan’s gift of the cherry trees to the US.
  • As part of a curriculum on earth science—the intersection of geography, geology and weather—8th grade scholars created their own glaciers and demonstrated their effects on a model landscape.