Below are various circumstances some parents discovered in their child’s school life before they came to Plumfield.
Our bright child is bored by multiple worksheets, textbooks, the absence of good stories, and the inability to move ahead at his own pace.
We believe every child holds a spark of curiosity within. We believe children want to think, to learn, and to engage with great stories. The process of education is meant to be both interesting and worthwhile in the present.
At Plumfield, classic authors (such as Twain, Shakespeare, and Alcott) captivate students with powerful ideas, relationships, and stories.
Students interact with the great minds of history by reading biographies and primary sources.
Special studies include: Nature Study, Robotics, Leadership, Art Instruction, Writer’s Workshop, Creating Music, Handcrafts, and Acting.
Students test into their personal level of math and move at their own pace.
In addition, each student is given time to pursue personal interests which enlivens their spirit.
“My son comes home from school and has the energy to work on his own science experiments.”
Our child struggles with basic skills (reading / writing / math), but is gifted in other areas not honored in many of today’s test-driven school settings. She lacks the opportunity to shine in her areas of strength, and so feels negative about academics in general.
We believe every child possesses a talent or competence to share and benefit others.
At Plumfield, we recognize that children are intelligent human beings, yet some may also struggle in certain areas of academic skill. Our approach is to continually feed the intellect of the child with the inspiring ideas found in Living Books while at the same time helping each child to improve in academic skill.
Deficiencies in reading and spelling are addressed in our Wilson Reading Program; math skills are strengthened through individualized tutoring.
Children who struggle with reading are read to daily from classical children’s literature.
Learning Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory enables our students to understand themselves as gifted in different ways.
An hour of free play each day allows students to be creative and do what they love.
Finally, our humane homework policy leaves time for the enjoyment of family life and personal interests.
“If my boy did not have time each day to work on his fort at Plumfield, the spark in him would just go out.”
Our child is so conscientious about his school work, he feels overstressed before exams – even to the point of tears. He is such a worker in the academic arena that there is little time left over for the enjoyment of life.
We believe children need to balance work and play if they are to experience the fullness and joy of life.
At Plumfield, students daily demonstrate their knowledge through narration: telling or writing about what they have just read or observed. They experience these daily narrations, not as a test to stress over, but as a natural part of the learning process.
Term exams (taken in January and June) are not “studied for” or “crammed for.” Instead, students are presented with open-ended questions which provide the opportunity to tell (in written or verbal form) what they know (naturally recall) from the previous term’s work. Students actually enjoy the chance to tell what they know, as do most human beings. We adults generally like talking about what we know; we do not like being put on the spot. Children are no different. Our approach to academics works with, and not against, this truth of our human nature.
Conscientious students enjoy the opportunity to dig deeper into areas of interest without the fear of being tested.
Finally, our humane homework policy leaves time for the enjoyment of family life and leisure activity.
Our child is quite successful (in sports / academics), yet feels judged and put down by peers – to the point that she is not able to be herself.
“I have seen my daughter walk into a room of her peers and simply wilt from the atmosphere of judgement.”
We believe each child is worthy of love, forgiveness, respect, and acceptance. We believe both self-acceptance and self-confidence are nurtured in an atmosphere of mutual care.
At Plumfield, students experience an emotionally safe environment where positive interaction is the norm. We cultivate self-awareness and identity through the books we read, the discussions we share, and by personal reflection, interpersonal relationships, and journaling.
Students are encouraged to develop their academic and relational abilities to the full.
Our child has a gentle disposition and is bothered by the harsh language and interactions of his peers.
“We didn’t raise him to speak in that way and he doesn’t like it. He’s a sweet kid who just wants to enjoy his friends, but the social environment at school gets in the way.”
We believe childhood involves many necessary growing pains, but is also meant to be a time of innocence and joy. A culture of kindness creates this atmosphere of peace and joy. Harsh language in parent, teacher, or child is never a help in creating a culture of kindness.
At Plumfield, students learn the ways of respectful communication. They may experience strong feelings and normal conflicts, but relational and communication skills are taught to enable students to work through conflicts successfully.