Teaching for understanding is the basis for all instruction. The educational program is organized into two learning hubs - visual and performing arts and environmental education. Learning at Mary Collins School is community-based. Instruction is integrated and collaborative. Life inside our school is a microcosm of life outside the school. Rather than staying in grade level groups, students work together across the curriculum in a multi-age setting. These clusters of learning operate more like a family in order to solve everyday problems and make the diverse learning community effective. The goal is to use instructional practices and curriculum to maximize the potential benefits of interaction and cooperation among students who vary in experience, maturity and ability. Students with different experiences and stages of development are encouraged to offer or request support from each other for all aspects of classroom activity. Students stay with a teacher for a two year cycle in K-5. Students in the 6-8 middle school are integrated throughout their program.
The transmediation of learning is a key to our interdisciplinary curriculum. Transmediation theory holds that knowledge is better understood and retained when learning in one setting is displayed in another. For example, students receive formal instruction on fractions in the classroom, then uses this information in cooking, gardening and other school projects. Watching a performance of Taiko drumming is transformed into a book of poems and block prints. Learning is carefully designed to make sure this happens for all students, allowing them to show their knowledge of one discipline through an activity in another. The Mary Collins School curricula utilizes student-centered, project-based instruction which fosters both independent and collaborative student learning needed to become successful and autonomous adults in 21st century society, and ultimately, in the workforce.
Mary Collins School programs are founded on the belief that all children can learn successfully in a program that gives them meaningful tasks. These essential tasks transcend the classroom and highlight the relevancy of in-school knowledge with real world applicability. Engaging students through multiple modalities, Mary Collins School curriculum prepares students to acquire skills that encourage them to become self-sufficient, accountable and innovative citizens in our community. The school educates children from diverse backgrounds in a fully mainstreamed, comprehensive education program. Mary Collins School has a history of welcoming and working successfully with all students and preparing them well for success in secondary school.