Signature Programs

Canterbury School has designed programs for each grade level 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.


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, experience growing freedoms, and 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 into the community as they experience field studies on the big yellow school bus. Students are introduced to library time, authors and illustrators. Additionally, gross motor skills, loft time, tea parties, music and optional play centers complete 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, with special focus 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

Junior Kindergarten students can pack their suitcases, and board the Junior Kindergarten Express, as they explore the geographical world around them. Travels begin undersea, where students learn about oceans and what lies beneath. Then, they journey through America, learning about different land forms, and continue to Africa and France, discovering the people and cultures of these two fascinating places. Throughout the year, students meet Georgia O’Keefe, Anansi, Claude Monet and many other international figures. Junior Kindergarten lessons 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 lives, languages, customs and art of people around the world. The Artistic World opens students' worlds of viewing and creating art. Students study  different artists, creating their own masterpieces in the artists' respective styles and confidently using a variety of media. Along the way, they also learn how to identify and critique art. The program culminates with an art show, displaying students' work. Through art, students build a confident foundation in math, physics, spatial awareness, composition, balance and creativity.


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 include these experiences and much more. Photos of the visits, and stories written by students, are published as take-home books for families to share. Through Family Field Studies, students develop a growing sense of community and practice literacy development.

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, DC; and the wonders of space and oceans. Virtual tours, guest speakers, research projects and simulated trips to far-away places provide truly magical moments for Grade 1 students. Students develop literacy and communication skills, collaboration techniques, and proficiency in technology applications.

Grade 2: Journeys into Earth Care with Ms. Frizzle

Using the Magic School Bus book series, students discover, and explore, the interconnectedness of people, animals and plants. One goal of the program: To provide regular opportunities for students to be outdoors. Students study native trees during visits to Fox Island Nature Preserve and the Yoder Sugar Bush, and they apply new knowledge to their participation in the Canterbury Lower School Green Team.

Another goal of the program is to raise students' awareness of Earth's valuable natural resources. They study our school’s use of resources and make recommendations to reduce our ecological impact and boost our sustainability. 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 commitment to 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 mixes science, history, literature and technology so students can explore the physical, cultural and historical aspects of each time period. Student learning is enhanced using virtual tours, Google Earth, robotics, literature and research. Teamwork and perseverance is a focus, as students learn to challenge themselves independently and work collaboratively. 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 and production, to 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.


Grade 5: We the People

Our country's foundation becomes Grade 5's foundation. We the People is an intensive study of the US Constitution, where fifth-grade students write as many as 22 essays. They realize its relevancy, and understand its impact on occupations, by interviewing community members. With the guidance of social studies teachers, the Middle School librarian, and the technology specialist, students craft mini-documentaries. 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 US schools with those 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-grade students participate in this project-based learning unit to further their understanding of human genetics. Students are given a medical case study, written by a genetic counselor, that contains patient information, symptoms and family history. Then, they collaborate to diagnose their patient, based on the information provided, assuming different roles and responsibilities throughout the process, such as hospital administrator, genetic counselor, physician or public relations director. Along the way, students meet people from the medical community, hear from patient advocacy groups, and tour the Parkview Mirro Center for Research and Innovation. Finally, they present their project to a panel of experts, including physicians, genetic counselors and prominent community members.

Grade 8: Student Cam Project

Eighth-grade students dive into national politics through StudentCam. In the fall, they travel to Washington, DC, 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 affecting our communities, and our nation, as they research the C-SPAN database and gather video clips to address a topic of national significance. Students hone their technology and analytical skills, and they' voice their opinions in the political discourse of our country.

Middle School: Educational Partnership with Eagle Marsh

One special program unites 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 wetland-related problems.

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 is shared with the Little River Wetlands Project staff members. 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 community resource.


Grade 9: The Written Word

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

Grade 10: Art, Architecture and the American Experience

Early their sophomore year, Canterbury students launch their studies in US History and American Literature and Composition with a trip to Chicago where they explore 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 how 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 distinctive programs is the week-long junior college trip, where students visit a representative variety of colleges in a selected region for 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 generate lists of criteria for their individual college searches. The trip is followed by a semester-long course, meeting once a week, called College Bound. Here, students learn essential elements of the college application process. Canterbury’s college counselors provide individual counseling for students and families, helping chart a course that will shape each student’s future. As a capstone to College Bound, and an introduction to the academic rigor of college life, many students undertake a scholarly Independent Research Project, which they present and defended before a panel of experts.

Grade 12: Facing the Future

While Canterbury’s mission is to provide a college preparatory education, senior year includes experiences focusing on college and beyond. Students begin the year with College Bound for Seniors, a course that builds on the junior year course and focuses on the college application process. Through the year, students complete ethics, diversity and other topic-based seminars; serve as Senior Leaders; and lead Canterbury Houses and major student government committees. 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.

Artist. Athlete. Scholar.

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