Signature Programs

At each grade level Canterbury School has designed programs that focus on discovery and exploration; growth and challenges; and the opportunity for students to change their community and their world. Canterbury’s Signature Programs offer unique experiences that spark the interest and imagination of students from Early Childhood through High School, and provide a growing appreciation for the joys of learning.

Age 2 - K-Prep

Canterbury Kids – Exploring New Worlds

Young children explore a new world the moment they cross the classroom threshold and enter the exciting world of school – a time to learn, to experience growing freedoms, and to develop wonderful friendships. Teachers continue this theme of exploration throughout the year as children learn to perform in front of an audience with the Holiday Angel Band and the spring Hungry Caterpillar performances. Canterbury Kids also venture out into the community as they experience Field Studies on the big yellow school bus. Students are introduced to library time, authors and illustrators, and gymnastics, loft-time, tea parties, and optional play centers round out their new world experience.


Cavaliers – The Natural World

Cavaliers are natural explorers, full of curiosity and a love of learning, and excited to explore the natural world. With several field studies to outdoor locations and monthly outdoor lessons with Garden Girl in Lili’s Garden, children discover the natural world through seasons, animals, weather, plants, gardening and helpful insects. Cavaliers go on nature walks, take a trip to a dairy farm, and prepare for a Thanksgiving Feast. Students learn about where they live and explore the globe in units on penguins and the South Pole. The Jurassic era is introduced as children learn about dinosaurs of long ago. By the end of the year, Cavaliers have come to appreciate our natural world and learned how each part relates to another.


Junior Kindergarten – The Geographical World

Pack your suitcase and board the Junior Kindergarten Express as we explore the geographical world around us. Our travels begin as we explore under the sea, learning about the oceans of the world and what lies beneath. We then journey through America as we learn about different landforms. Our travel continues out of the country and on to other continents as we visit Africa and France and learn about the people and culture of these two fascinating places. Over the year we meet Georgia O’Keefe, Anansi, Claude Monet, and many other international figures. The lessons of Junior Kindergarten offer children a unique passport to the world.


Kindergarten Prep – The Artistic World

As Kindergarten Prep makes a stop on every continent, we learn about the life, language, customs and especially the art of people around the world. The Artistic World is an amazing program that opens the world of viewing and creating art. Students study the work of 16 different artists and create art pieces in the style of the respective artists. Children learn how to identify and critique art and how to confidently use a wide variety of media while creating their own artwork. The program culminates with an art show displaying the work the class has produced throughout the year. Through art students build a confident foundation in math, physics, spatial awareness, composition, balance, and creativity.

Kindergarten-Grade 4

Kindergarten - Family Field Studies

Imagine your child performing laparoscopic surgery, preparing food in a restaurant, sitting in the jury box, checking out a hot rod under the hood, becoming a super house cleaner, or attending a rehearsal of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. Family Field Studies allow all of these experiences and much more. Photos of the visits and the Language Experience stories written by students about each trip become take-home booklets for families to share. Through Family Field Studies students develop a growing sense of the elements of our community, and practice all aspects of literacy development in the accounts of their exciting experiences.


Grade 1 – Books and Places: Magic Moments and Memories

Students are immersed in a year-long adventure through literature and writing. They meet knights, castles and fairytales; national landmarks and the monuments of Washington, D.C; the wonders of space and oceans. Virtual tours, guest speakers, research projects, and simulated trips to far-away places all provide truly magical moments for first graders. Students develop literacy and communication skills, collaboration techniques, and proficiency in technology applications.


Grade 2 – Journeys into Earth Care with Ms. Frizzle

Utilizing the Magic School Bus book series, students discover and explore the interconnectedness of people, animals, and plants in our world. This year-long study raises student awareness about the valuable natural resources the Earth offers us. A goal of the program is to provide regular opportunities for students to spend time outdoors. Native trees are studied and observed during field studies at Fox Island Nature Preserve and the Yoder Sugar Bush. Students apply what they are learning as they participate in the Canterbury Lower School Green Team. They will study our school’s use of resources and make recommendations to reduce our ecological impact and be sustainable. Students make monthly service announcements in Chapel and help plan the April Earth Day celebration. As students “travel” with Mrs. Frizzle throughout the year, they build their capacity as stewards of the environment and become more considerate and conscious of their own impact on the world around them. This unit is designed to create a lifelong care and concern for the environment.


Grade 3 – INNOVATION THROUGH TIME

A true adventure in world history and innovation awaits as students travel through time. From the Ice Age to the Space Age, the program brings together science, history, literature and technology in a collaborative approach so that students can explore the physical, cultural, and historical aspects of each period in time. Student learning will be enhanced using virtual tours, Google Earth, robotics, literature and research. Teamwork and perseverance will be a focus as students learn how to challenge themselves independently and collaboratively work as a team. The possibilities are endless!


Grade 4 – Young Entrepreneurs

Through this intensive year-long applied math project, students become Young Entrepreneurs, learning all aspects of a business from product development to production, marketing, and raising capital. Students hear from experts in the field, tour local businesses, and complete the year with the Fourth Grade Marketplace, where they market and sell several of their products. The hands-on elements of the project expose students to the realities of taking a product to market, as they use technology, collaboration, communication, and creativity to bring their ideas to life.

Grades 5-8

Grade 5 - We the People

The foundation of our country becomes the foundation of fifth grade. In We the People, an intensive study of the United States Constitution, fifth-grade students write as many as 22 essays, thinking their way through the Constitution. They realize its relevancy by interviewing community members and gain an understanding of how the Constitution impacts a variety of occupations. With the guidance of social studies teachers, the Middle School librarian, and the technology specialist, students craft mini documentaries in each group’s project. The dramatic oratory teacher coaches students on their presentation skills, building up to a mock congressional hearing at the Allen County Court House in downtown Fort Wayne. More than a social studies program, We the People is training for tomorrow’s informed citizens.


Grade 6 - Challenge 20/20

Challenge 20/20 is a national social studies program that connects schools in the United States with schools in other countries. Students work in groups to identify local solutions to a global problem. In a globally-based, experiential curriculum, students develop cross-cultural competency and communication skills as they connect, collaborate, research, and learn with their partner schools. The technology specialist assists students in using technology to chart each phase of the process in a documentary form, while the librarian assists in researching, assessing implications, and connecting with experts both in our community and around the world.


Grade 7 - Understanding Human Genetics

Seventh graders participate in this project-based learning unit to further their understanding of human genetics. Students are given a medical case study written by an actual genetic counselor that contains patient information, symptoms, and family history. Collaborating as a group, students work together to diagnose their patient based on the information provided. Students assume different roles and responsibilities throughout the process such as Hospital Administrator, Genetic Counselor, Physician, or Public Relations Director. Students meet people from the medical community, hear from patient advocacy groups and tour the Mirro Center for Research and Innovation. Finally, students present the entirety of the project to a panel of experts that includes physicians, genetic counselors, and prominent figures in the community.


Grade 8 - Student Cam Project

Eighth-graders delve into the national political scene through StudentCam. They first travel to Washington, D.C., in the fall, where they gather firsthand knowledge of and perspective on our nation’s capital. When they return to Indiana, the students begin designing and producing a research-based documentary video for C-SPAN's national StudentCam competition. The project encourages students to think seriously about issues that affect our communities and our nation, as they research the C-SPAN database and gather video clips to address a topic of national significance. Students not only hone their technology and analytical skills, but also sound their voices in the political discourse of our country.


Middle School Signature Program

Educational Partnership with Eagle Marsh - LRWP

One special educational partnership brings together all four Middle School grade levels. The Educational Partnership with Eagle Marsh-Little River Wetlands Project provides a dynamic collaboration in the restoration of local wetlands. The project incorporates hands-on scientific activity related to Canterbury’s science curriculum for each grade level, as students pursue answers and solutions to problems related to the wetlands.

Eagle Marsh is a 716-acre wetland preserve in southwest Fort Wayne. Eight miles of trails allow students to access the preserve’s varied habitats of shallow-water wetland, sedge meadow, prairie, mature forest, and young trees. More than 200 kinds of birds and numerous other wild creatures have been seen here, among them bald eagles and 24 bird and two amphibian species endangered or of special concern in Indiana.

At Eagle Marsh, students participate in hands-on, real-world applications of our science curriculum. Projects include water quality testing, ridding the wetland of Canadian thistle, examining healthy and unhealthy ecosystems, and planting milkweed to attract monarch butterflies. Data from experiments and testing is shared with the Little River Wetlands Project staff. These valuable, practical experiences and the school’s educational partnership with Eagle Marsh provide students with opportunities to develop their scientific skills while making a real difference for this important resource in their community.


Grades 9-12

Grade 9 - The Written Word

Writing is a core life skill and a core part of the freshman curriculum. The ninth-grade writing experience includes some particularly distinctive elements that punctuate students’ English and World History classes. Students write 24 five-paragraph essays in English, and they learn to craft effective outlines and compose a scholarly research paper in World History. Students celebrate the written word orally through participation in Poetry Outloud, a nationally recognized program that helps them gain a strong appreciation for masterworks of poetry. Collectively, these experiences are foundational for work in Grades 10-12, for college and beyond.


Grade 10 - Art, Architecture and the American Experience

Early in their sophomore year, Canterbury students launch their studies in U.S. History and American Literature and Composition with a trip to Chicago to explore the broad brushstrokes of American intellectual and cultural history. The trip centers on two key components: a boat tour and lecture featuring Chicago’s internationally recognized architecture, and a chronological survey of major American artworks at the Art Institute of Chicago. In addition to providing a window into various periods of American history and culture, the field study serves as a frame of reference for the sophomore humanities classes and the major research project. The broad outlines of the American experience help students understand ways in which scientific and technological developments shaped - and were shaped by - the evolution of American culture. The result is to create touch points for cross-disciplinary connections during the sophomore year and a lifelong appreciation of American intellectual history.


Grade 11 - College Bound

As Canterbury students prepare for college, several key elements supplement the curriculum. One of the school’s more distinctive programs is the weeklong junior college trip, during which students visit a representative range of colleges in a selected region of the country as part of their initial college selection process. This trip offers an unparalleled opportunity for students to see firsthand how the college experience differs dramatically from one institution to another. As they travel from school to school, students reflect on and evaluate the college they have left, and begin to read about the university they are about to visit to generate a list of criteria for their individual college search. The trip is followed by a semester-long weekly class called College Bound, in which students learn the essential elements of the college application process. Canterbury’s college counselors provide individual counseling with students and families, assisting them in charting a course that will shape each student’s future. As a final piece, for many students the decision to undertake a scholarly Independent Research Project, defended before a panel of experts, marks an introduction to the academic rigor of college life.


Grade 12 - Facing the Future

While Canterbury’s entire mission is college preparatory, senior year is marked by a number of experiences that explicitly focus on college and beyond. The vast majority of students serve as Senior Leaders, and each of the Canterbury Houses and major student government committees are led by seniors. All seniors take seminars in Ethics and Diversity as well as topic-based seminars to prepare them for life beyond the walls of Canterbury. Students begin the year with College Bound for seniors, a weekly class that builds on the junior year class and helps students stay on top of the college application process. Seniors end their High School experience with 40 hours of internships, during which they explore various possible career paths by shadowing professionals in a wide variety of occupations and settings - their first step into their new world ahead

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