"At Manhattan Country School, progressive education is how we translate our mission into learning."
—Karen Zaidberg, Sixth Grade Teacher
The academic program at Manhattan Country School is comprehensive, innovative and dynamic. It relies upon rich learning environments where children are encouraged to explore their surroundings, think critically and articulate their opinions. Flexibility within a sequential curriculum allows us to meet the needs of the individual as well as the group. Teachers focus on depth of study and value the process of learning. Small groups enable students to establish close connections with teachers and each other, while time for self-reflection helps students develop a sense of self and an awareness of who they are as learners. At the MCS Farm in the Catskill Mountains, children spend part of the year not just learning about the environment but also living sustainably, in close connection with the earth. Students learn to be responsible for themselves and to their community in an atmosphere where they consistently engage in meaningful learning and social activism.
The Lower School includes pre-K through fourth grade in mixed-age classrooms that allow for maximum flexibility to meet individual developmental needs. These classes are referred to by age (4-5s, 5-6s, 6-7s, 7-8s, 8-9s, 9-10s). The program in the Lower School emphasizes active participation in interdisciplinary, meaningful learning. Social studies is the core of the curriculum, building on children’s growing curiosity and understanding of the world around them. Children are encouraged to play, to express their creativity and to explore the outdoors. Caring for one another and building a strong sense of self and a responsibility to our community are integral components of the Lower School program. Throughout the Lower School, teachers give importance to skill development in all subject areas, including language arts, math, science, Spanish, art, shop, music, library, and physical education.
The Upper School incorporates the school’s mission of engagement and social justice within an academic curriculum. Lessons balance active experiential learning, intellectual inquiry and adolescent development. Projects such as role plays, science experiments, math trails, autobiographies, interviews, field trips and more bring the curriculum to life. Mastery of academic skills occurs in tandem with increased self-awareness and community involvement. Fifth- and sixth-graders learn in homeroom classes in frequent collaboration with specialists. In seventh and eighth grade, the program is fully departmentalized and taught by specialists. Electives for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders expand arts, music, technology and physical education offerings, including team sports. Seventh- and eighth-graders meet regularly with an advisor who provides personal and academic support.