Spiral Curriculum


One of the hallmarks of The Harbor School program is the Spiral Curriculum. During the late winter, the entire School explores the same topic bringing together art, dance, foreign language, language arts, literature, math, music, physical education, research, science, and social studies in an integrated study. Spiral Curriculum is capped off by Spiral Curriculum Night in which all parents and special friends are invited to tour each classroom with the children as their guides.

Spiral Curriculum is an exciting time for students and faculty alike. Each year a new topic is selected and "spiraled" throughout all the grades at the same time. Lessons and activities are developmentally appropriate for each grade level, and are connected to situations and contexts that are relevant to the everyday lives of the teachers and children. Much of what is taught is generated by what our students might already know or want to learn about the topic. Teachers see themselves as students as well, and seek new and interesting information for their own intellectual stimulation. Ultimately, teachers interpret the topic with their classes as they wish, allowing their collective creative juices to flow.

The Harbor School's Spiral Curriculum was initiated over 20 years ago when a parent generously shared an authentic moon rock with the School. This rare and unique find created a frenzy of excitement and catapulted the entire School into an in-depth study of the Moon. Preschoolers learned about day and night and read stories such as "Goodnight Moon." Older children learned about the phases of the moon, and learned to distinguish between moon myths (the man on the moon) and moon reality (craters), and all the children learned about astronauts. The entire School - children, parents, teachers and staff - had something they could all talk about with each other and a great tradition was begun at The Harbor School. Recent Spiral Curriculum themes have included: Under the Sea, The Earth, Transportation, Colors, Habitats, and Children of the World, the Chesapeake Bay and Insects.