A Canterbury education is a foundation and a springboard. It offers a blend of traditional and innovative teaching and individual and group learning. The curriculum is uniquely designed to draw the best from current research and faculty collaboration, and is carefully developed to ensure a smooth progression from Early Childhood through High School graduation.

Strength of confidence seems to come with the growth of knowledge that we receive at Canterbury.

Canterbury Sophomore

Inspiring each student to reach his or her full potential is a goal we take very seriously. Our teachers have a solid belief in each student's power to learn and succeed.

Canterbury graduates have consistently stated that they enter college far better prepared than their classmates, not only in their academic skills, but also in their attitudes and dispositions toward learning.

The academic commitments of a school's mission and philosophy are primarily addressed and fulfilled through its classroom curriculum. Canterbury School strives to provide a college preparatory curriculum that balances a rigorous academic program with opportunities for creativity, curiosity and critical thinking to flourish.

To achieve the full benefits of an Early Childhood through Grade 12 experience, the curriculum has been carefully articulated to achieve both vertical (from one grade to the next) and horizontal (across subjects with a given grade) coordination, with particular attention paid to the challenges of moving from one division to the next.

  1. The design of Canterbury's curriculum recognizes an important balance of three major elements:
  2. Appropriateness of material for children of a given age.
  3. Recognition of the ability level of our students. A commitment to our mission of preparing students for college.

As such, the curriculum incorporates attention to both the process and the product of learning.

Click to expand each panel and learn more.

ENGLISH - Alice Hancock, Department Chair

Because we learn to read - in large part - by reading, write by writing, speak by speaking, and listen by listening, the English/Language Arts Curriculum centers on the use of literature, not only to accomplish traditional goals of literature itself (such as development of cultural awareness, critical thinking, empathy and imagination), but also to facilitate the acquisition of skills necessary for successful communication in school and beyond.

The curriculum offers students instruction and extensive practice in reading, writing, speaking and listening, presenting them with a progressive series of challenges in their encounters with and use of the English language.

It aims to cultivate creative capabilities along with logical and rational faculties; to acquaint students with major works in the literary traditions of the United States and Britain while at the same time exploring nontraditional voices; and to begin their acquaintance (in Matthew Arnold's phrase) "with the best that has been known and said," while simultaneously creating thinkers able to discern meaning and express ideas cogently in an increasingly complex, diverse and changing world.

The best part of this class, that I enjoyed, was how each student was free to share and express his or her own opinion.

Seventh Grader, Mrs. Hamilton's English Class

FINE ARTS - Ranae Butler, Department Chair

We recognize the arts as reflections of life and history, of cultures past and present, and of human desire for creative expression. Education in the arts is thus an integral part of a full academic process. It contributes to cognitive development and encourages imagination, intuition and reasoning through the direct application of the senses.

Educational experiences in both the fine and performing arts make a vital contribution to the development of the whole student. Since the school's founding, the arts have been an integral part of each student's school day.

Goals include making sure students have experiences in the arts that affect awareness at various levels of abilities and interests, develop individual artistic talents, maintain and develop artistic abilities, study history of the arts, have an opportunity to experience technology as a tool in enhancing creative expression, develop aesthetic awareness and critical analysis skills, achieve physical, social, emotional and intellectual growth through a balance of classroom experiences and participation in performances or exhibitions, and to develop an appreciation of the arts as an enriching dimension to life experiences.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE - Kimberly Summers, Department Chair

Foreign language learning is an integral component of a well-rounded curriculum. Current brain research indicates that foreign language learning should start at the earliest age. Language is a vehicle for communicating ideas and the study of a foreign language opens up new areas of literature and expression to the student.

Foreign language study fosters an understanding of how languages develop and increases an awareness of the logic and structure of language in general. The exposure to other cultures and ideas provides opportunities for developing critical thinking, creativity, and confidence in self-expression.

I love that my teacher is so knowlegable about languages, and he's really invested to help you inside and outside of class if you don't get something. I've gone to him before, and he even helps correct your homework with you.

High School - Spanish 3 Student, Mr. Colgrove's Class

LIBRARIES - Bonnie Niemann, Director

The Canterbury School libraries are an integral part of the educational program of the school at each of the four division levels. As instructional media centers, the libraries provide materials to support the learning process.

While each of the three libraries has its own unique focus, overall the libraries have three fundamental functions: curriculum support and enrichment for students and faculty, library and information skills instruction, and motivation for reading and learning.

Proficiency in library skills provides students a solid base for all library curriculum related activities. In a world filled with information, knowing how to evaluate the credibility of information has become essential. Mastering the use of library resources will give students the means to search for information, which is the key to life-long learning.

In the Middle School library, literature is promoted through English classes and as a tie-in to social studies. The librarian has developed book lists with input from faculty. These lists are updated yearly to include the most recent literature. Historical fiction is a major focus as well as the Newbery award books, realistic fiction, fantasy and biographies. The Middle School library collection reflects these lists. Middle School students use the book lists for both required and recreational reading. Reading for enjoyment is strongly encouraged. A special time called CART: Cavaliers All Read Together, is set aside each week during which everyone (students and faculty) in the Middle School reads together.

The High School library is used throughout the day for research, for quiet study and reflection, as well as for recreational and independent reading by students and faculty. The relaxed but focused and productive atmosphere of the High School library provides the ideal environment for learning. Peer and faculty tutoring take place in the library. Students work together and individually, as they take advantage of library resources. Students gather in the library and learn from one another, building a sense of community.

MATHEMATICS - Wendy Helmkamp, Department Chair

Mathematics is a pure science, a language, an integral part of the humanities and the social sciences, and an applied science. It has a completeness of its own and a use as a tool to organize and analyze information in many other disciplines.

In studying mathematics, students are learning ways to organize their thinking and to solve problems. We intend that students gain a proficiency and understanding of numerical and geometric concepts, both for immediate application and as a foundation for future analytical studies and applications. However, in mathematics education, process is as important as the product, and the final answer is only one component. Just as valuable are the mastery of basic skills and the development of mental agility, creativity, persistence, and patience. Moreover, with the changes in the availability of technology to aid in problem solving and the exploration of concepts, the ability to use these tools effectively has become an integral component of the teaching of mathematics.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION - Connie Oberlin, Department Chair

Physical activity and the knowledge necessary to maintain one's body are essential to the optimal growth and development of a child.

Physical education is an integral component of the total educational process, providing planned experiences that are instrumental in the social, physical and mental development an individual.

Through the nature and the discipline of the program, students acquire skills that promote and strengthen self-concept, cooperation, within a group and a respect for varying levels of ability. These skills enable an individual to choose lifelong constructive physical activities and habits, allowing each child to reach his or her potential as a contributing member of society.

RELIGION - Melissa Walda, Department Chair

Within all cultures, religion has served functions that include, but are not limited to providing people with a sense of heritage and a link with the past; providing a sense of origin, destiny and a bridge to the future; accounting for the supernatural; providing a sense of belonging and meaning for life; and establishing expectations and standards for behavior.

Canterbury School was founded in the Christian tradition, upholding its principals and practices as most fully demonstrated in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. In this context, Canterbury's religion curriculum seeks to provide an environment in which students many come to understand for themselves the principals of the Christian faith and its implications in their daily lives, may learn of and experience Jewish and Christian traditions, and may develop an understanding of and respect for the diverse heritage and faiths of others.

This class is great. The environment is friendly and laid back, but she still manages to teach the students. It is fun and the kids debate about things they normally wouldn't.

Sophomore - Religion, Mrs. Walda's Class

SCIENCE - Julie Ervin, Department Chair

Science is both a body of organized knowledge and explanations subject to change and modifications germane to the scientific method and a dynamic process implying activity – a search for knowledge and explanations. Science education should reflect a balance between these two qualities of science.

The world in which we live in is becoming increasingly shaped by and dependent on science and technology, thus mandating that science education should continue to stay current in the uses of technology and prepare all students to become scientifically literate in order to participate knowledgeably in this complex world of the 21st century.

Many issues surrounding science and technology are not value-free, and thus science education should provide students with the necessary information to make intelligent decisions concerning real world problems like ethical, environmental and economic matters.

My teacher is enthusiastic about biology itself, and her obvious passion and knowledge of the subject make the class even more interesting. Her class is fun and engaging, and I have really enjoyed it this year.

- Freshman, Mrs. Ervin's Advanced Biology Class

SOCIAL STUDIES - Eric Wehrli, Department Chair

Social Studies is the study of people as social beings in their historical, cultural and geographical context, an examination of the social, political and economic structures in which the students live.

The social studies curriculum introduces students to that body of knowledge and those skills that will help them understand the affairs of their community, country and world. A democratic society and an increasingly interdependent world call for students to develop insights and skills necessary to comprehend controversial issues and make responsible choices about their own relationship to and involvement in society.

I have learned so much from my teacher this year in Social Studies! I really enjoyed the Europe unit and loved working on the PowerPoint project that we each presented to the class on the European country of our choice.

Sixth Grader, Mrs. McFarland's Social Studies Class

TECHNOLOGY - Nate Doelling, Department Chair

The influence of computers on human life and on the development of our culture will continue to increase in the years ahead. Students should be prepared to cope with and contribute to this trend.Technology is a powerful information tool, and to use that tool students must understand and master the many possibilities for its use.

In addition to the use of a computer as a tool, the study of programming fundamentals can help to illustrate the nature of software and expand the power of critical thinking by presenting opportunities and procedures for problem solving. Computer literacy and the foundations of computer science are therefore important components of contemporary education.

The Lower School technology curriculum introduces and then builds on the skills necessary to use technology as a learning tool. Students are then able to apply these skills to other applications, regardless of the application format, and they learn to adapt to new technologies as they are introduced to them. They are taught to view using technology as a useful lifelong skill.

Students use a variety of devices including lab computers, wireless laptops and iPods to explore topics in English, science, social studies, math, foreign language and fine arts. In addition, students use Lego robots, sensors and other devices to learn about control technologies and robotics.

The Middle School technology curriculum is designed to allow all students to become knowledgeable and confident in the use of the technology and software available in all aspects of their educational development. The computer and accompanying hardware and software are seen as tools to be used in the educational process. To get the most out of these tools students must master the basics and be exposed to the possibilities they can create using these tools.

The computer labs, classroom computer pods and laptop carts are used by English, science, social studies, math, foreign language and fine arts classes throughout the year for class activities and projects. The main computer lab is open daily for student use during tutorial and recess. In addition, it's open after school three days a week. Computers are available in two computer labs, the library, in every classroom, as well as laptop carts for student and faculty use in order to promote integration of technology into the curriculum.

The high school lab and classrooms use computers running Windows and/or Linux. Computers are available in the computer lab, the library, and in several faculty classrooms in order to promote integration of technology into the curriculum. Macintosh laptops are used in the Fine Arts department for computer and music composition. In addition, wireless laptops and tablets are used for class activities and are available for student use in the library subject to availability.

The High School technology curriculum is designed to provide all students with the basic computer skills and knowledge they will need to use computers effectively as learning and productivity tools. To that end, it is a graduation requirement that all High School students successfully complete a one term basic computer skills course (usually taken as part of the 9th grade program) or a basic programming course. Beyond this, courses in more advanced areas of computer study are offered as electives, including Java, Python, and C programming, Advanced Topics in Computer Science and AP Computer Science.
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