Dear Harbor Families,
As you well know if you are a returning family, our Spiral curriculum is a hallmark of our program and, in many ways, the highlight of the school year at Harbor!
Many of you have heard the story of the very first Spiral, over 20 years ago, when a Harbor parent generously shared an authentic moon rock with the school. Compelled by curiosity, teachers and students in all grades launched an in-depth study of the moon - reading books, making models, singing songs, exploring the moon phases, making art to represent the moon, and learning about the history of moon exploration. Under teacher guidance and at each developmental level, student interest drove learning across the school, our community was united in learning across all grade levels - and a Harbor tradition was born.
Harbor was, once again, ahead of its time. Research now demonstrates the power of learning with an “interdisciplinary” approach, where language, math, science, social studies, technology and engineering, and the arts intersect around a topic of student inquiry. Learning is much more meaningful when students are motivated to ask and inquire into questions and reflect on learning, and learned skills are applied in various authentic settings across the disciplines. Dispositions of creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking are highlighted and nurtured as well.
In the many years since our annual Spiral tradition took root, students have explored topics such as music around the world, outer space, sports and games, inventions and inventors, and many more. Each year, the Spiral theme is chosen as a community. This year’s theme of The Animal Kingdom was chosen by the students when ideas were presented by the students and discussed in depth by the teachers. In the fall, our third grade leaders facilitated a full election process so the entire community had an important voice in choosing this year's topic!
Students have just begun to explore the topic of The Animal Kingdom in their classes - asking questions, exploring text and online resources, and beginning to investigate areas of interest. Throughout February, their inquiries will become deeper and more rich as they explore the animal world from a variety of angles. No doubt, students' passion and enthusiasm will continue to be ignited as classes dive deeper into the topic. If you have any expertise, knowledge, or resources that may be helpful for the students' inquiries, we would love to hear from you - please reach out to your child's teacher!
Our school-wide exploration will culminate with a very special celebration in the school building. Students will showcase their learning in the afternoons of March 1st, 2nd, and 3rd (please see the schedule below). On those afternoons, classrooms will be transformed into living museums, documenting the dynamic learning that is our Spiral curriculum. We hope you enjoy witnessing one of the truly special aspects of the Harbor experience. We look forward to sharing it with all of you in a few weeks!
Head of School