Most schools teach different subjects in isolation. Math teachers don’t know what children are learning in science class and vice versa. Students move from subject to subject but typically there is no integration.
At Jacksonville Country Day School, all learning is connected. Teachers continually meet to collaborate and find the connections between different subjects. Individual subjects are not taught in isolation but are weaved together to spark connections in our students’ minds and create a rich tapestry of meaning.
Interdisciplinary approaches (like STEM) are increasingly used in the colleges, universities, and workplaces of the 21st century. Not only does this approach lead to teamwork skills, it allows a much deeper and meaningful exploration of a subject. Integrated learning allows students to look at a subject from several different perspectives.
Students connected to teachers. Teachers connected to other teachers. Teachers and students connected to the community and to the world.
Example of Connected Learning at Jacksonville Country Day School:
6th Grade African Global Studies Unit
Art: African masks
Math: Learn to count in Swahili
English: Read a book from an African’s point of view (“Long Walk to Water”)
PE: Mancala, a game that African kids play
Music: Learn to play African drums
Global Studies: Learning about the geography, environment, and culture of Africa
Science Lab: Solving problems faced by those living in Africa, such as lack of clean water, by designing a water filtration system
With integrated global studies, teachers and specialists collaborate to plan lessons focused on a specific area, such as Africa, for each grade level. By 6th grade, students have developed a much deeper and connected understanding of our shared world and the people in it.