Our curriculum provides gifted students with the learning they need to succeed, not only at higher levels of education, but as navigators and problem solvers in an increasingly complicated world. While emphasis and courses vary according to grade level, all Seattle Country Day students study a rich core of subjects, including reading and writing, math, science, art, music, computer technology, and world languages. Classes are small and are carefully grouped each year. Teachers, many with decades of experience in teaching gifted children, have the latitude and resources to design exceptionally engaging lessons that match students' natural curiosity, creativity, and capacity for critical thinking. With our inquiry-based approach as a foundation, teachers draw ideas from varied sources, including texts, current research in their field, popular art and media, and more.
How We Teach
Seattle Country Day School creates learning opportunities that encourage students to develop divergent critical-thinking abilities and personal problem-solving strategies. We believe in depth over breadth and while advanced work takes place in our classrooms, we do not intentionally accelerate students as a way to meet their learning needs. Rather, we celebrate spontaneous discoveries as students develop higher-level thinking skills through inquiry and open-ended questions. Our enriched classes allow for the expansion of topics into meaningful interdisciplinary experiences. We use methods that encourage students to learn creatively through real-world application and hands-on exploration with manipulatives. We do not calculate grades for reporting. Our report cards are narrative documents with checklists that provide information about student progress in critical skills, understandings, and habits.
Social and Emotional Learning
In balance with academic growth, we strive to develop the social and emotional skill set of each student. We concern ourselves with intrapersonal as well as the interpersonal skills, so that each student is able to maintain personal emotional health as well as engage with peers in a positive and productive manner.
Each division comes together for several service learning projects throughout the year. Students care for a local park in partnership with the City of Seattle, visit organizations such as Mary's Place and The Sophia Way, and hear from local community service leaders. Other examples of service include hosting food drives for the Queen Anne Food Bank, visiting residents at Aegis Living, and packing fruit at Food Lifeline.
Seattle Country Day School does not believe in using a large amount of homework as a learning tool. We find that our students are so focused and engaged that they often need a break at the end of the long school day. We also wish to leave room for outside-of-school activities. Meaningful tasks and projects are sent home intermittently and they are meant to cement concepts from the classroom and should not be a burden on home life. Reading as a shared and independent experience is always a valuable experience at home and should be encouraged most days.
Field Trips and Outside Experiences
Leaving the classroom and spending time in the wider community is an integral part of the SCDS experience. To fuse lessons learned in and outside the classroom, students journey to Pike Place Market, pumpkin patches, Seattle Children's Theatre, among others, as well as ski and ice skate during our Winterim program. Overnight trips begin with regional travel in 4th through 6th grade, a national trip in 7th grade, and an international trip in 8th grade.