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Forward Thinking Academics

Our children are in school today to be prepared for tomorrow. Yet, with rapidly advancing technology and societal changes, traditional educational practices based on rote learning and factory models of education that tend to minimize student agency and social interaction are not in their best interest. For this reason, The Cherry Hill School has developed an educational experience– based on our Core Values and national  standards– to meet the holistic needs of students today while providing the knowledge and skill development needed for future academic and life-long success.

At The Cherry Hill School, all of our practices are grounded in Constructivism. Constructivism holds that:

  • Learning is personal and constructed— knowledge and skill is built from students taking in new information and putting it together with prior knowledge in their own meaningful ways through personal reflection.
  • Learning is an active process- knowledge and skills are gained when students are engaged in acts of doing, applying new knowledge for real-world uses through hands-on practicing.
  • Learning is a social activity – long-lasting gain of knowledge and skills relies on interactions with and connections to others in the form of dialogue, co-participation and collaboration.

Our unique environment and curriculum are derived from several approaches to education that serve to provide students daily opportunities for personal, active, and social engagement through a combination of direct instruction, student-centered reflection and research, and small-group collaboration.  We draw constructivist elements from the following:

  • Reggio-Inspired Practices— Our classrooms are warm and home-like with natural elements, designed to be aesthetically pleasing to the eye. You will not find rows of desks at The Cherry Hill school! Instead, soft elements and varied group seating arrangements allows students ownership of their own bodies and provides different configurations for self-directed engagement with others. Our classrooms and instructional practices emphasize Arts integration across subject areas with interesting materials available to provoke children to explore and express themselves in varied and new ways. Our teachers utilize pedagogical documentation, a naturalistic way of observation, combined with traditional methods, to provide holistic assessment of student progress.
  • Developmental Interaction Approach— Our interactions with students assume that everyone has talent and something to contribute through active engagement with materials, ideas and people. Teachers act as facilitators, meeting students “where they are” socially and academically and provide support to help students meet grade-level learning goals as well as their unique potential. Instructional experiences position teachers and student as co-meaning makers; they are designed to nurture curiosity and confidence in thinking independently and creatively, as well as to foster working respectfully and collaboratively with others in a culture of care.
  • Project-Based Learning- Students engage in project work (independently and/or collaboratively) every day at The Cherry Hill School. This allows them to authentically integrate knowledge across subject areas and practice newly learned knowledge and skills by working for extended periods of time to investigate engaging and complex questions, problems or challenges through the creation of solutions and tangible objects. During projects, student integrate various forms of technology as they pursue solutions to real-world problems by asking and refining questions, debating ideas, making predictions, designing plans and/or experiments, collecting and analyzing data, drawing conclusions, communicating their ideas and findings to others, and creating artifacts. Through a combination of hands-on discovery and practice, students create a public product or presentation of their project that is shared with the school community. The project work we engage in not only promotes long-term academic subject knowledge retention, but it provides a means of practicing important 21st century stills– critical and creative thinking, collaboration, information literacy, and confident communication.