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Lower School Project Approach

Our project approach to teaching and learning, which includes studying meaningful and authentic topics, encourages collaboration and deep thinking. 
Because we know that student choice fosters engagement and joy in learning, projects are based on student and teacher interest and involve an in-depth investigation that ignites our students’ passions. Students take ownership of their experience through the project approach. Being an active participant creates greater independence and confidence, and sets the foundation for students to understand themselves as learners. This is important for a student’s journey in lifelong learning. 

Projects consist of three phases:
1) Articulating what students know about a topic
2) Gaining new information through experts, field visits, and research
3) Developing final activities that highlight the students’ findings

Lower School teacher, Meghan Kenter "Last year we engaged in a Kindergarten project unit about life on the farm. Students and teachers collaboratively made a graphic organizing web to display all words we knew that were associated with farms. To name a few, students came up with words involving farm animals, buildings, crops, jobs, and tools on the farm. Together, the kindergarten class brainstormed close to 50 words associated with farm life. Our next phase of the project work was to invite each child to share about any experience they have had in their life related to life on the farm. Some children shared about their yearly trip to an apple orchard or a time they pet baby goats at a petting zoo. These former experiences were able to trigger student background knowledge, interests, and shape the type of lessons, projects, and research we did about life on the farm. 
 
All throughout the sharing process, students we able to ask questions about farm life and share about what interests them. We then met with experts in the farming field to answer some of our wonderings and we took a field visit to a local farm. The project work unit was wrapped up by working collaboratively with peers to represent locations on the farm using recycled materials. We used the knowledge we gained from the expert visits and field visits to guide our building process. Students built tractors, chicken coops, and silos and then presented each representation to their classmates."
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Berwick Academy

Berwick Academy, situated on an 80-acre campus just over one hour north of Boston, serves 600 students, Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12, from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. Deeply committed to its mission of promoting virtue and useful knowledge, Berwick Academy empowers students to be creative and bold. Berwick strives to graduate alumni who shape their own learning, take risks, ask thoughtful questions, and come to understand and celebrate their authentic selves.