When each of us tries to describe our school, it can be hard to articulate why The Fulton School is special to us and what distinguishes it from other schools. We have much in common with other schools in terms of the basic curriculum (teaching kids to read, write and do arithmetic).
We have a lot in common with other independent schools in that we have control over our curriculum, have smaller student-teacher ratios, and have similar events calendars. But we are doing a lot that few schools are accomplishing.
Some of our most unique characteristics are our home-like environment, our culture of personalized learning, the time and space we give children to be children, the respect we have for our students, and freedom we offer in the classroom.
These characteristics are very purposeful, powerful, and difficult to achieve, and over the next few weeks I’m going to use this space to discuss why and how we cultivate these characteristics at TFS.
Part I: Home-Like Environment
- Dr. Montessori began the notion that kids would learn better if they were physically and emotionally comfortable, and actually started all of her schools in houses. Modern research has supported that notion.
- A child will spend more time at school than at home through the years, so common sense begs the question, “Why NOT make it as cozy as we can?”.
- Another Montessori notion, supported loosely by science, is that behavior is better and standards are higher when the environment (the building and classrooms and materials) surrounding the child is beautiful and inviting. This concept was so important to our identity that when we built this building Dr. Fulton instructed the architects that we wanted it to feel more like a home than an institution. Drywall, crown molding, lots of windows, the flooring, and the fireplace are just some of the examples of these efforts in the final product. The absence of bells announcing class transitions, the absence of locks on lockers, and availability of the kitchen are examples of our priorities within the building.
Each of these details may seem unrelated to Algebra or reading comprehension, but put them all together and they contribute to that special something that is changing each student’s life and approach to learning in little ways every day.
We invite you come to visit us, walk around our school, experience our classrooms, get a feel for what we do and how we do it. Want to get to know us online first? Jump over to www.tfssa.org