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This publication is designed to give you an overview of the Riverdale academic journey and some of the signature programs that distinguish and differentiate a Riverdale education. While we encourage you to review the full course catalogue found on our school website, our goal here is to give you insight into the philosophy that guides our program from the earliest days of pre-K through 12th grade graduation.

Our students are challenged not simply to read about science, math, or history but rather to be scientists, mathematicians, and historians. In every discipline they learn by doing—through gathering evidence, constructing arguments, solving problems, and supporting their positions with persuasive writing and debate.

Introduction

The Riverdale Learning Experience

This approach is also deeply rooted in the work of educational pioneer John Dewey, who believed that we must “Cease conceiving of education as mere preparation for later life, and make it the full meaning of the present life.”

The Riverdale learning experience is influenced by many factors including the science of how children learn, our belief in developing character strengths, the value of learning through dialogue and conversation, and our faculty’s deep disciplinary expertise and commitment to modeling active life-long learning.

At every grade level, we encourage students to continually build on what they have learned and to push beyond their comfort zones. This is key to helping students develop confidence in their own capacity to learn, or what psychologist Carol Dweck has termed a “growth mindset.”

As educators we are students of effective learning practices

Cognitive scientists are rapidly expanding our understanding of how the human mind works and how we learn to solve problems, think creatively, and collaborate with others. At Riverdale, we are in the forefront of translating this research into effective teaching practice.

In the Lower School we might ask students to solve math or science problems that are a bit above their skill level. Working to meet this challenge not only builds disciplinary expertise, it helps students develop perseverance, an essential skill for long-term success.

We know, for instance, that learning is an emotional as well as rational experience, and that the longer and more deeply students think about concepts the more these concepts are imbedded into long-term memory. This drives our focus on active rather than passive learning.

As students move to Middle School, we challenge them to take more control over their own learning process and their development as problem solvers. In history class, for example, we employ simulations that require

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Learning Experience

Riverdale is a high challenge and high support environment

Profile for Riverdale Country School

The Riverdale Learning Experience (2019)  

The Riverdale learning experience is influenced by many factors: the growing science of how children learn, the role of character strengths...

The Riverdale Learning Experience (2019)  

The Riverdale learning experience is influenced by many factors: the growing science of how children learn, the role of character strengths...