Annual Spiral Curriculum

The Harbor School’s Spiral Curriculum emerged over 20 years ago when a parent generously shared an authentic moon rock with the School.

This rare and unique find created a frenzy of excitement and catapulted the entire School into an in-depth study of the Moon. Preschoolers learned about day and night and read stories such as “Goodnight Moon.” Older children learned about the phases of the moon, and learned to distinguish between moon myths (the man on the moon) and moon reality (craters). All the children learned about astronauts. The entire school – children, parents, teachers and staff – had something they could all talk about with each other and thus began a great tradition at Harbor.

Our Spiral Curriculum is a hallmark of our academic program. Every year the students select a topic for 360 degree exploration, which is then “spiraled” into each class to include elements of art, foreign language, literature, math, music, physical education, research, science, and social studies.

Lessons and activities are developmentally appropriate for each grade level and are connected to situations and contexts that are relevant to the everyday lives of the teachers and children. Much of what is taught is generated by what our students might already know or want to learn about the topic. Teachers interpret the topic with their classes as they wish, allowing their collective creative juices to flow.

Every year, our Spiral Curriculum is capped off by Spiral Night in which all parents and special friends are invited to tour each classroom with the children as their guides. It is really a special, exciting evening when the entire school community comes together to celebrate our creative and collaborative learning.

The Spiral Curriculum has offered our kids a unique opportunity to delve deeply into a single topic. It’s been impressive to see how much they have retained when given the time and space to go deep and feel ownership over their learning."
- Parent of Current 1st Grader and Graduate
Harbor School