by Head of Lower School Jenn Elkin
Life-long learning—it’s a fundamental part of our mission at The Pike School, a trait we hope to instill in all of our students and an inherent expectation each adult at Pike has for themselves as well. What keeps us eager to learn all day, every day? I can tell you what it’s NOT. For students, it’s NOT the stereotypical classroom experience of sitting in a row of seats, waiting to be called on, while the teacher drones on in the front of the room. And, for adults, it’s NOT teaching the same concepts the same way over and over again each year. It’s educating ourselves and sharing our knowledge of interesting subjects in a way that allows children to engage and explore in personal and collaborative ways.
These underpinnings of a Pike education are visible each day in all classrooms—students and adults learning together, taking risks, discussing ideas, trying new approaches, and building a greater understanding of themselves and their world in the process. This means new ways of teaching and learning are explored and tested every day. Let’s take a quick tour through the Lower School and see what’s “new”:
Step into Pre-K any day of the week and watch our 4- and 5-year olds practicing yoga and mindfulness. Or walk outside and witness a bridge being built across the stream or little hands digging for worms as we learn how plants grow. Physical movement and play engage the imagination and make room for all types of learning.
Walk the nature trail with Kindergarten and their 3rd and 6th grade buddies, looking for a perfect spot to put their “kindness rocks” to send a message of positivity to anyone who happens upon them. Direct and indirect ways of teaching compassion, empathy and caring are essential to developing students’ emotional intelligences and ensuring our community’s motto—Non sibi solum—is embedded in our daily actions.
Enter a First Grade classroom and listen and watch teachers and students practicing moments of mindfulness throughout the day, gathering their thoughts, calming their bodies and harnessing their energy to prepare mindfully for what’s next.
Notice the Second Graders scattered throughout the Lower School classrooms and hallways, independently working on iPads in ones, twos and threes, writing poems, showing how to solve tricky math problems, or pulling together their research for the Animal Research Extravaganza!
Though the wonderful curricular studies and traditions within each grade may stay the same, the way students learn, and the way we teach to ensure they are learning, evolve together to make the love of learning ever-present at Pike.
The Pike School is an independent, coed, day school for Pre-K through ninth grade in Andover, Massachusetts. Visit pikeschool.org to learn more about Pike – and visit our blog for more thought leadership. To learn more about admission to The Pike School, visit our Admission page.