Red Cedar’s culture of authentic and rigorous learning engages the minds of students.
High expectations and structure foster academic habits. Support for personal initiative
and investment nurtures the growth of independence.
Essential skills of life-long learners, most importantly critical thinking and
communication, are emphasized throughout the curriculum. Students are encouraged to
care about ideas, ask important questions, gather information, and consider deliberatively.
Students regularly engage in scientific investigation and in problem solving. Writing is an
integral focus throughout a student’s years in the school, and reading literature is valued
across the curriculum. Lively discussion is a hallmark of many classes. Students share
and present their work orally, and publish their writing. Experiences in the visual arts,
music, drama, design and building are interwoven throughout the curriculum. Students
are introduced to Spanish at the elementary level and study it formally in middle school.
Hands-on projects and learning in the field motivate students by providing meaningful
opportunities to integrate and apply skills of observation, research, critical thinking and
communication. Examples of such projects include forming a farm-market business that
grows and sells garlic; researching the relationship between humans and the landscape in
the local community through interviews and site studies, and presenting findings at the
Vermont Folklife Center; participating in the Cornell Feeder Watch program through
banding and observing birds; developing and performing a play based on a piece of
literature; and building a staircase while studying the Pythagorean theory.
Classes are small, with an average size of eight at the primary level, and twelve at the
upper elementary and middle school levels. Teachers work closely with students to
understand, engage and challenge each of them. Every student is given a significant
amount of personal attention, and each student’s individual learning style is honored.
Multi-age groupings with a span of about three years form the make-up of most classes. Students work together within these groups on shared themes and activities, with each individual working at a personally challenging level and pace. Classes such as math and Spanish are focused directly at a particular level. Each group within the school has a home base with a core teacher.