When you think of a school's curriculum, there's a good chance your mind goes to textbooks, or maybe these days to educational apps; perhaps you see a course syllabus or a set of content goals and subtopics. These are all important, but we would argue that they're the smaller part of the curriculum. What is it that students really pick up and will remember long after, that will form their habits and attitudes?
We believe that more than the books we read or the projects we do, students observe the way we act, the habits we model, the mindsets we value. These are the core curriculum of the school. Students will pick up if we genuinely practice intellectual inquiry; if we have a growth or a fixed mindset; if we're considerate and skilled in interpersonal relations. They'll pick up if we genuinely love our topics; if we speak from experience in the real world or are just reciting dry texts. In short, they'll decide - can these adults be trusted? Are they being real with me?
When they decide that they can trust the adults - that's when things get exciting. Now, on top of an advanced academic curriculum, we have the opportunity to teach a growth mindset, to deepen social and emotional intelligence, to demonstrate what intellectual inquiry, logic, and "systems thinking" (more on that in a future blog post) can offer, to show how conflicts are resolved and collaboration created. This is the "double curriculum" of an excellent school - advanced academics, and adults demonstrating the skills, mindsets, and values that build lifelong habits for success.