Learning to Life
“There’s something magical at Whitby. My three kids look forward to each day and almost skip into the building. They feel a level of respect, attention, and nurturing that has a positive impact on how they take ownership of their work and how they learn.” – W H I T BY PA R E N T
Welcome to Whitby School! For many parents, their most cherished dream is for their children to become the unique and amazing people they are meant to be. At Whitby, that’s our dream too. Whitby takes an innovative, disciplined and proven approach to educating students from preschool through 8th grade. We invite you to discover why our parents value the strengths and distinctive characteristics of a Whitby education – including why… …Whitby’s powerful combination of the philosophy and principles of Montessori and the International Baccalaureate develops each child’s unique potential while inspiring a passion to learn. …Respecting the child’s individuality as a learner and a human being promotes self confidence, independence and high achievement. …Fostering international-mindedness prepares students to become productive and successful citizens in the 21st century global community. …Whitby’s warm and engaged community creates a school that is safe for exploring and risk taking in learning while nurturing friendship, compassion and service. …Providing a continuum of learning progressively builds the critical thinking, collaboration and communication skills that lead to post-graduation achievement and success. As you read on, you’ll learn more about each level of the school and see why more parents are choosing Whitby. As for the children, they love coming to school at Whitby where they thrive on being challenged and engaged by meaningful learning experiences every single day.
Whitby brings learning to life.
At the heart of a Whitby education are two world-renowned and complementary educational approaches. Two proven educational approaches underpin a Whitby education. The first is Montessori: Rooted in the child’s innate inclination to learn, Montessori’s activity-based methodologies are known for developing independent learners from the earliest ages. The second is the International Baccalaureate (IB): With an internationally recognized standard of excellence, the IB’s transdisciplinary curriculum gives children the intellectual tools to understand and navigate the complexities of today’s world. Together these complementary approaches give structure to Whitby’s curriculum, as well as the flexibility teachers need to accommodate students’diverse interests and learning styles. Whitby is the only pre-K to 8th grade school in America accredited by both the American Montessori Society and the International Baccalaureate. These designations recognize the consistent high quality of our curriculum and the high level of training and certification of our teachers. In both philosophy and practice, Montessori and IB are an ideal fit, dovetailing at Whitby in powerful ways.
BOTH MONTESSORI AND IB: • Take a holistic approach, placing students at the center of learning • Allow for individualization of curricula to meet the child’s interests and needs • Foster curiosity and critical thinking and cultivate a passion for learning • Have been proven successful by research, college acceptance and achievement
The ScIence BehInd MonTeSSorI Whitby is the birthplace of the American Monstessori Society and the oldest continuing Montessori school in the United States. The power of the Montessori teaching approach, developed by Dr. Maria Montessori more than one hundred years ago, has been proven by modern research to enhance performance, interest, persistence, memory, and creativity in learning. For more on Montessori, go to www.whitbyschool.org/montessori.
FAcTS ABouT The InTernATIonALLy AccLAIMed IB progrAM • IB
is the fastest growing educational program in the world, with more than 3,000 IB schools in over 140 countries. • IB offers three sequential programs: the Primary Years Program, the Middle Years Program—both of which are offered at Whitby—and the Diploma Program for the high school years. • IB consists of four key elements: a challenging and continually evaluated curriculum, ongoing student assessment, faculty professional development and support, authorization and evaluation by the IB Organization. • IB schools are consistently highly ranked. Since 2007 IB schools have made up more than one third of the Newsweek top 100 high schools list. • IB high school graduates have higher acceptance rates to top American and international universities and greater academic achievement in college. For more about IB, visit www.whitbyschool.org/ib.
“It’s amazing all the ways they are learning and they’re so happy, too!” – PA R E N T O F 3 W H I T BY C H I L D R E N
We respect the child’s individuality as a learner and uniqueness as a human being. Children are born with dignity, a sense of pride, and an inquisitive nature that spurs them to wonder about their world. At Whitby, it is our privilege to gently and respectfully guide children without ever doing their thinking for them. Our 6:1 student to faculty ratio ensures that children’s individual needs and aspirations as learners are met, and their progress is closely monitored. Teachers at Whitby create a peaceful, warm, and respectful atmosphere that fosters not only intellectual development, but also social, emotional and physical growth and an overall sense of well being. In the classrooms, on the playing fields, and in the art and music rooms, children are supported as they demonstrate poise, show respect, pursue passions, discover talents, develop self-confidence, and enjoy a diversity of challenging and rewarding formative experiences.
“Human beings have an innate inner drive to be autonomous, self-determined, and connected to one another. And when that drive is liberated, people achieve more and richer lives…Maria Montessori figured this out a long time ago.” – DANIEL PINK,
Author of New York Times bestsellers, A Whole New Mind and Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
nurTurIng The WhoLe chILd Whitby understands that learning goes beyond the classroom and offers: • Physical Education classes, with interscholastic athletics starting in 3rd grade. • A strong fine and performing arts program, with music, art, and drama activities closely linked to classroom units of inquiry. • Healthy, organic snack foods—and the opportunity to see and taste vegetables from our own organic garden, which also plays a role in our academic curriculum. • Extra support for both remedial and advanced learning through SAIL, the Special Assistance In Learning team. • Enriching after school activities and summer programs ranging from chess to golf.
“We initially considered Whitby because we were familiar with the strong academic and international focus of the IB program and then after visiting the school, we knew it would be a good fit with our family.” – W H I T BY PA R E N T R E LO C AT E D F R O M E N G L A N D
Whitby fosters international-mindedness by encouraging students across the world to understand that other people, with their diﬀerences, can also be right. Learning about the world’s countries and cultures, people and perspectives is central to our academic as well as the IB mission. Inherent in this mission is the study of world languages: Whitby students study Spanish from Primary (kindergarten) on up, while electives in Chinese and French are available starting in first grade. Middle school students (7th and 8th grade) add another real world dimension to their transdisciplinary learning by taking a yearly trip abroad. This globally focused education is significantly strengthened by the ethnic and cultural diversity of our school community. Whitby families come from over 40 countries, speak more than 15 languages with a third of the students speaking a second language at home. Many parents choose Whitby expressly because it offers true multicultural diversity and because they are excited about crosscultural learning from family to family and classmate to classmate. This diversity provides an ideal context for global learning and experiences that have a profound effect upon a child’s emerging worldview.
BecoMIng InTernATIonALLy MInded The aim of all IB programs is to develop internationally minded people who, recognizing our common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, strive to develop these ten core characteristics which comprise the IB Learner Profile: Inquirers Knowledgeable Thinkers Communicators Principled Open-minded Caring Risk-takers Balanced Reflective 5
Whitby’s community of families is warm, welcoming, and meaningfully engaged in the school and greater community. When new families join the Whitby community of parents, students, faculty, and staff, they become part of a school culture that values friendship, compassion, involvement, and service. Children at Whitby experience these community values through various school endeavors, from food and clothing drives for the needy to fundraising efforts to benefit children in developing nations, from caring for the environment to giving musical performances for the elderly in nursing homes and hospitals. Both Whitby parents and faculty serve as role models and resources while our parents also get involved with classroom learning by sharing cultural knowledge and professional experiences. A great many parents are active volunteers at school events that bring us together for a common cause or just for fun. Whitby families truly care about the school and each other.
“My son said he found Whitby to be very friendly. He told me the school has a welcoming committee—and everyone’s on it!” – PA R E N T O F A N E W W H I T BY S T U D E N T
enrIchIng coMMunITy evenTS Our engaged parents act as hosts, organizers, and volunteers for such meaningful community events as: • May Fair, a traditional celebration that includes maypole dancing, a parade, and a variety of fun activities for families. • Class Picnics, a Teacher Appreciation Luncheon, and several welcoming events for new families. • An annual Shakespeare play, Café Night and a number of other student performances and productions. • The Annual Benefit, an exciting auction and celebratory dinner event. • Book Fairs and Family Night entertainment.
“My 12 years at Whitby gave me not only a great academic foundation for high school but also the confidence to step right in – from participating in class, landing the lead role in the school play to being elected Freshman class President.” – W H I T BY G R A D UAT E
A Whitby education provides an unparalleled continuum of growth and learning. From the Children’s House to the 8th grade, a Whitby education provides great continuity and coherence. Starting in preschool, children are exposed to inquiry-based learning, examining topics and ideas from multiple perspectives, and constructing meaning from doing the work themselves. Our mixed-age classrooms (for example, grades 1 and 2 learn together) provide not only continuity but also such academic and social advantages as progressing at one’s own pace and developmental timeline. Spending two years with the same teacher or teachers results in more effective and efficient learning, plus each student alternates from modeling the behavior of older peers to being a mentor and leader. From toddler to 8th grade graduate, Whitby students progressively build their thinking and learning skills, sense of social responsibility, and self-motivation. It’s no wonder two thirds of our students qualify for the prestigious John Hopkins Talent Search and that our graduates find success in both acceptance rates and achievement at highly competitive secondary schools.
LeArn More ABouT our dIvISIonS: The children’s house Ages 14 months–6 years
elementary Grades 1–4
Middle School Grades 5–8
children’s house The Children’s House is the section of the school dedicated to educating our youngest learners. The motto here is “Follow the Child.” In well-ordered, developmentally appropriate classrooms, under the supervision of expertly trained, experienced and caring teachers, children’s own love of exploration allows them to take the lead in their learning. dIFFerenTIATed LeArnIng Each multi-age classroom has two or more teachers, enabling children to engage in a variety of individual and small group learning activities. As Montessori and IB trained instructors, Whitby’s teachers respect the developmental timeline of each individual child. No child is rushed, nor is any child held back to keep pace with peers. This is differentiated learning at its best, when children are encouraged to go as far as their natural curiosity takes them.
The prepAred envIronMenT Each room in the Children’s House is designed to foster social and cognitive development and to lay the foundation for learning in different academic areas. In various parts of the room, children explore practical life activities, sensorial experiences, math, language, culture, and science. Appealing, hands-on learning materials encourage concentration and focus, and enable students to self-correct and derive fulfillment from their own success. In the Montessori environment, materials on shelves are organized from left to right, top to bottom, and simple to complex, imprinting an ordered way of looking at the world and preparing the mind for reading, understanding numbers systems, and perceiving patterns.
“I chose Whitby for two simple but very important reasons. One, the opportunity to teach what I and my peers recognize as a superior educational approach and two, it was clearly the best school for my own child.” – W H I T BY C H I L D R E N ’S H O U S E T E AC H E R
First Steps & Stepping Stones 14–18 months & 18 months–3 years THE FORMATIVE YEARS More than 100 years ago, Dr. Maria Montessori recognized what current research confirms: early experiences are critical to a child’s brain development. Whitby creates an environment where children enjoy and learn from positive interactions with other children and teachers. This gentle, noncompetitive social context instills respect for others, respect for work and for the materials of the classroom, and a sense of the rewards of discovery.
VARIED LEARNING EXPERIENCES Children in the Stepping Stones classrooms benefit from a very low 5:1 student to teacher ratio and from a cohesive, thematically based curriculum that addresses language development, mathematics, science, sensory development, and cultural learning. A playground for each classroom provides for gross motor development. Enrichment activities include music, dance, and exploration of the natural world via the Whitby campus and the school’s organic garden.
primary Ages 3–6 HANDS-ON LEARNING At the Primary level, children continue to learn through interaction with a carefully prepared environment. Whether they are serving water with ceramic pitchers and real glasses in the practical life area, or manipulating colored bead chains that teach skip counting and multiplication, children are developing fine motor control. Each time they take something off the shelf where it belongs, use it at an appropriate table, and return it to the shelf for the next child to use, they are reinforcing their respect for materials, sense of order, and genuine ownership over their learning.
INTEGRATING THE IB CURRICULUM Each year in Primary, children explore different Units of Inquiry that are thematically related to the academic areas. For example, under the IB transdisciplinary theme of “Who We Are” is Primary’s “All about Me” unit. With the central idea that examining our identities helps us connect to ourselves and others in the world, children might study the geography of their origins, make graphs or do other math-based activities with information they collect, learn about the literary genre of biography, and write and present their own autobiographies.
KIndergArTen IS Key Kindergarten—called Primary 3 at Whitby —is one of the most important learning experiences in a person’s life. Supporting evidence continues to mount: a 2010 New York Times article discussed the research of Harvard economist Raj Chetty, stating that not only can “good early education impart skills that last a lifetime — patience, discipline, manners, perseverance” but that “students who had learned much more in kindergarten were more likely to go to college than students with otherwise similar backgrounds and perhaps most striking, they were earning more.”
elementary Grades 1–4 Mixed-age classes of grades 1 and 2 are referred to as Lower Elementary, while mixed classes of grades 3 and 4 are known as Middle Elementary. Children thus spend two full years with the same teachers—who come to know each child extremely well—resulting in a more secure and comfortable learning environment. As a consequence, the enthusiasm for learning is enhanced and students more concretely build the fundamental skills that will be the basis of their future academic accomplishments.
TrAnSdIScIpLInAry unITS In accordance with the Montessori-IB curriculum, elementary students gain knowledge and develop skills in such areas as English, math, and science by delving into conceptually based units. For example, under the transdisciplinary theme of “Where We Are in Time and Place”, students might explore the central idea of how architecture reflects the function, beauty, spiritual significance, and power of a culture. About 60 to 70 percent of their daily work—whether in math or music—will relate to the unit. Whitby students thus learn to approach and understand concepts and phenomena from a variety of perspectives.
noT coverIng—dIScoverIng! Active learning is a major feature of the Whitby experience, as students derive knowledge not from what the teacher tells them, but from what the teacher asks them and from the work they do themselves. In a transportation-focused unit, for example, students conducted science labs on aerodynamics, buoyancy, and friction. They studied and displayed findings on important milestones in transportation history, and they drew and wrote creatively about their own make-believe mode of transportation.
“It’s just so much more fun to learn at Whitby. At my old school I waited for my teacher to ask me questions. At Whitby, I really feel like I’m part of the class and it’s OK to ask questions.” – W H I T BY 4T H G R A D E S T U D E N T
TEACHING A WAY OF THINKING Whitby elementary students begin learning how to effectively gather and synthesize information. For example, a unit covering economics included reading books about child entrepreneurs, managing their own virtual checking account, questioning guest experts, and operating a class store to donating to an organization that gives microloans to small business people. These activities also emphasize a way of thinking that includes how to analyze, problem solve and then take action. Whitby seeks to develop the type of student who understands that math is something to be applied to the world, and that history is not about memorizing dates but about figuring out why things happen.
ARTS AND ENRICHMENT Along with math, English, science, Spanish and cultural studies, the elementary education incorporates Information Communications Technology which engages students in the process of design, develops skill with using the design cycle and provides experiential learning through hands-on activities and problem solving opportunities. Whitby also integrates the visual and performing arts. In addition to weekly art and music classes, students have the opportunity to participate in the chorus and band ensembles. Additionally, each grade stages its own play or dramatic performanceâ€“one that has been written or specially chosen to meaningfully relate to themes and ideas explored in the classroom. These performances are among many opportunities students have to hone their public speaking, presentation, and communication skills. 14
“It is a real testament to the quality, training and dedication of the Whitby faculty to see the results of a recent school-wide parent perception survey that revealed remarkably strong ratings of both the faculty and academic program.” – W H I T BY B O A R D M E M B E R
Middle School Grades 5–8
Whitby’s 5th and 6th graders learn together, providing for a smoother transition to the in-depth subject, discipline-based academic challenges of middle school. Role models and school leaders, students in 7th and 8th grade solidify their knowledge, critical thinking skills, independence and self confidence as unique individuals, while demonstrating a commitment to others—all of which are needed for success at the secondary level and beyond. IB For MIddLe SchooL STudenTS In grades 5–8, Whitby students pursue an IB curriculum called the Middle Years Program (MYP). The overriding ideas that bind subject areas together and serve as the themes for interdisciplinary units are: Approaches to Learning (emphasizing learning skills and knowledge of learning styles); Community and Service (cultivating active contributors to the community); Human Ingenuity (exploring thinking, inventing, and creating); Environments (including social, political, economic, and cultural factors); and Health and Social Education (focusing on healthy life decisions and personal responsibility).
TechnoLogy AT WhITBy Whitby capitalizes on the best innovative technologies that enhance teaching and learning. For example, in pre-algebra and algebra, middle school students use a web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system that works like an online tutor. Whitby leverages the use of Smartboards and a wide variety of software and online applications from the full suite of Google Apps to Diigo and Glogster. Whitby also systematically fosters the growth of students’ technology skills through class work. In design technology classes, for example, students study media in order to raise their awareness of how media affects them, to identify the various uses of media, how to use media safely and as an effective form of communication for their own ideas.
A CULMINATING EXPERIENCE A trip outside the United States each spring is an exciting, culminating educational experience for 7th and 8th graders. Academic work throughout the year prepares students to fully appreciate and learn from the places they visit. For example, as part of their interdisciplinary study of the Renaissance, students visited Venice, Florence, Assisi, and Rome. The trip tied in to their culture studies exploration of the meaning of a “Renaissance person” (historically and now), their unit on travel writing, their study of Italian opera (they also wrote, performed, and recorded their own operas), and their performance of two Shakespeare plays set in Italy--The Merchant of Venice and Julius Caesar.
SECONDARY SCHOOL SUCCESS Whitby is committed to having the region’s strongest Secondary School placement program. Our goal is to ensure each graduate will continue his or her education at a secondary school that is an optimal match based their strengths, interests and needs. Overseen by the Director of Secondary School Placement, this collaborative program assists and supports each student through every step of the process—including standardized test preparation, mock interviews, essay writing, an annual secondary school fair, application completion and insightful letters of recommendation. The result is Whitby graduates attend a variety of highly selective secondary schools with ninety percent accepted at their first choice of high school.
WhITBy deveLopS LIFeLong SKILLS Whitby graduates possess poise, confidence, and communication skillsâ€”and all are on display during the 8th grade graduation ceremony. Demonstrating the skills they began to develop back in their Primary classrooms, where they wrote and presented their autobiographies, Whitby 8th graders all write and articulately deliver their own graduation speeches for the entire school community.
At a glance Founded in 1958—America’s oldest existing Montessori School 375 students in preschool–8th grade Only U.S. school accredited by both the American Montessori Society and the International Baccalaureate for pre-K to grade 8 Recognized for a proven, exemplary academic program and staff excellence Low 6:1 student-faculty ratio Diverse student body with 40 countries represented Modern facilities on beautiful 25-acre campus Two thirds of students qualify for the prestigious Johns Hopkins Talent Search 90% of Whitby grads accepted at their first choice of high school 20
Design and Photography: ÂŠ Peapod Design, New Canaan, CT
Building upon the principles of the Montessori philosophy and the International Baccalaureate Programs, Whitby School inspires academic excellence, independence and a passion for learning while motivating our students to confidently take action as contributing members of a diverse global community.
A Montessori IB World School
969 Lake Avenue Greenwich, CT 06831 203.869.8464 www.whitbyschool.org
Published on Jan 5, 2011
Published on Jan 5, 2011
Introduction to Whitby, a premier independent school for students 14 months – grade 8 located in Greenwich CT. The only school in America ac...