Our hope for The Clifton School is to cultivate a community full of wonder, dreams and possibilities: a unique place where we value diversity and progressive education based on research.
This vision guides our beliefs about how children learn and give charity to our curriculum expectations.
The Clifton curriculum is inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to education which begins with a strong image of the child. Our curriculum uses a contextual, constructivist approach to education. By contextual, we mean that children learn information in a meaningful way – in the context of their daily lives and current experiences.
Constructivism means that children build understanding from their relationships with others, previous experiences, and their environment. Learning does not proceed in a linear fashion, but spirals around as children revisit or return to concepts to reach a higher level of understanding from the material each time they experience it.
Our strong image of the child guides all of our curriculum decisions. We view children as strong, powerful, and capable of constructing knowledge. The foundation of our Reggio-inspired, contextual curriculum is empowering relationships, rich environments, and thoughtful planning based on the observations and interests of the children.
There is little room for improvisation or last-minute decision-making in this approach to curriculum. Instead, one of the many roles of the teachers is to continually question and reflect upon their work with young children. Both teachers and children learn through rich relationships and meaningful shared experiences.
“Curriculum” includes every aspect of the school experience, extending far beyond pure educational content to include many other areas, such as classroom management and discipline.
Teachers are expected to interact with children and create a culture of kindness in which children are respected at all times.
The Clifton School’s overall goal is to foster children’s growth in all developmental areas: physical, cognitive, social, emotional, language and literacy. Our goals are created with developmental processes in mind, rather than with the emphasis on the accomplishment of specific objectives. We understand that cognitive development cannot be separated from the physical and social learning that occurs in relationship to others.
The development of a competent self-image is our most important goal. We want children to feel as capable as possible in all areas of development and to be motivated to use and strengthen all of their abilities.
Our goal is to enhance children’s ability to learn and to construct their understanding of the world rather than to stress specific content areas. When children learn how to learn, they can approach any new situation with confidence and curiosity.
Another goal is the development of a sense of autonomy and independence. We want children to have the confidence to make choices and take risks but also be able to accept help.
Our final goal is to strengthen each child’s ability to relate to others and to the environment. This goal includes the development of social relatedness – caring about others, forming friendships and appreciating diversity.
To achieve our goals, our objectives are to:
These broadly stated goals guide our educational program and are made concrete in objectives that relate to the Georgia Early Learning Standards for each child’s developmental stage and/or cultural background.
“Transformation and idealism begin and end with play. It is the connection to higher levels of intellect and understanding, searching for the true value of life and the human experience. Play is a reward for all the effort put forth previously in the learning process. Through play we understand the full spectrum of the human drama, perhaps developing compassion and tolerance.”
– Barbara Jefferson, Teacher, The Clifton School