Sojourner Program Elements
In addition to daily instruction in the traditional core areas of reading, writing and mathematics, Sojourner students participate in the following core elements
All students learn to play the violin with Suzuki instruction. Students participate in classes three times per week in groups of thirteen students.
Carl Orff (1895-1982) was a German composer and educator who developed a unique approach to music education. Orff defined the ideal music for children as "never alone, but connected with movement, dance, and speech—not to be listened to, meaningful only in active participation." Orff said, "Experience first, then intellectualize." Based on this ideal, the Orff approach builds understanding of concepts and skills through connecting students with the music by experiencing it on all levels. These levels include speech/chants, movement, singing, drama, and by playing pitched and unpitched instruments.
Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s theory of “flow” is a study on intrinsic motivation; where a person’s level of interest or motivation is directly aligned with the level of challenge. The Flow center is designed to offer students a children’s museum-style Exploratorium. Selected activities in each of the eight intelligences (visual/spatial/ verbal/linguistic, musical, mathematic/logical, bodily/kinesthetic, naturalistic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal) are designed and developed and offered as in-depth learning experiences.
Pods are interest groups composed of mixed aged groups (Early primary - Intermediate) where children can explore a common interest in great depth. Students choose from over a dozen broad subject areas that incorporate the multiple intelligence areas and include such subject areas as musical composition, gardening, geocaching, ultimate Frisbee, running, jewelry making, recycling, map making, chess, and the highly popular musical theater. This pod puts on a professional caliber production each year. Pods take place three times throughout the school year. They are held for 45 minutes, three times weekly and last from eight to ten weeks.
Sojourner follows guidelines for a Foreign Language in the elementary School program in which students are taught in the classroom for 30 minutes per day, five days per week. The primary goals of the Spanish program are the acquisition of cultural awareness and development of foreign language proficiency in speaking, reading and writing.
Sojourner's core curriculum is committed to physical fitness as it relates to bodily-kinesthetic intelligence. A key indicator of the commitment to kinesthetic intelligence is the Presidential Physical Fitness results. Students participate in 30 minutes of exercise and community building every morning at the start of the school day. In addition, children have 30 minutes of physical education each week, focused on skill building and individual growth.
Sojourner students participate in daily community meetings aimed to build community spirit, empathy, and compassion. Students share stories, life experiences, talents with the whole community on a daily basis. A mentor system is built into the school whereby Intermediate students are “buddies” to their primary peers, helping them to learn and practice friendship, responsibility and compassion.
Every student completes an in depth, independent project each semester. All projects tie to a school-wide theme, but each student chooses a topic based on his/her own interest. The 2011/12 school year theme is HARMONY. Project work encompasses three elements: a journal, a product and a presentation. Each presentation is filmed and sent home for the family to review. All project presentations are archived and, upon graduation from Sojourner, each student is given a collection of fourteen filmed project presentations.