Our curriculum is a truly global one, combining the innovative work of leading educators with the best curricula from around the world. For Early Learning, our curriculum is inspired by the Italian Reggio Emilia model, grounded in student autonomy and discovery of the world. Our curriculum uses a thematic approach that ties to the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals. It also highlights the Chinese national curriculum and is aligned with principles from global best practices, including the National Research Council’s Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), Singapore Math, Australian Mathematics Standards (ACARA), as well as competencies developed in partnership with the Center for Curriculum Redesign, Harvard. In Upper School, our model takes inspiration from the traditional American Independent School curriculum, including research and presentation components of the AP curriculum, is bolstered by some of the best traditions from the British tutorial system, and is also deeply informed by research in learning science and some of the best aspects of the Chinese approach to education. We offer our students a learning experience that is truly Integrated, Personalized and Global.
Every Whittle student’s schedule is made up of three interconnected modes. They study foundational knowledge during content Mastery Bands, then apply that knowledge in a real-world context by collaborating with their peers and presenting their work in Interdisciplinary Blocks. Experiential Learning gives students a chance to analyze, solve problems and make an impact.
Mastery Bands: Grounded in innovative, personalized techniques, students learn fundamental skills and content mastery in 50-minute Mastery Bands. The mastery bands are focused on the development of specific skills and knowledge, like math and languages. The bands are supported by Acceleration periods, during which students can work to move faster than the pace of their current grade level or receive any additional support they need.
Interdisciplinary Blocks: Based on the latest educational research, our program builds upon coverage of traditional disciplines by incorporating interdisciplinary courses. Interdisciplinary courses are grounded in project-based work that combines multiple areas of content, making connections across subject matter, skills and knowledge even stronger. By blending classroom study with fieldwork, students are encouraged to explore big questions and solve relevant problems. Interdisciplinary courses are broken out into three blocks:
STEM Block: Teachers of chemistry, biology and physics will together design projects, in collaboration with staff of the maker space, that provide students the opportunity to learn about the important components that make up STEM: science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Projects will span important world problems that knit together the STEM components in ways that push learners to integrate their growing understanding both within and across the component parts of STEM.
Humanities Block: In the same fashion, teachers of history and geography, literacy and literature, ethics and religions will design projects, or will help students fashion projects that integrate interesting world topics and challenges. Students will learn to write in a variety of voices, coached by a team of teachers that is designing the work in collaboration rather than in competition or isolation.
Arts and Design Block: 2-D arts, 3-D arts and performing arts.
Experiential Learning: Expedition Days (X-Days) get students to engage with the environment beyond the classroom, teaching them the real-world applications of their education. Each week, one day is set aside for experiential learning. Programmed by the faculty, the Expedition Day is reserved for work that cannot be contained in the regular schedule or even within the walls of the school. Expedition Days alternate between an “inward” day, which focuses on personal growth and the school community, including time spent on Center of Excellence projects, and an “outward” day, which sends students out into the city on fieldwork in our City Core Program.
Advisory and Holistic Learning Individuals develop along multiple interconnected pathways: emotional, intellectual, physical, ethical and social. We view students holistically and seek to foster their whole development, integrating social and emotional learning and comprehensive health and wellness programs within our tailored curriculum. Mindfulness activities, robust arts instruction, enrichment, expeditionary learning and rigorous scholarship are all part of our well-rounded education, both inside and outside of the classroom.
The Role of Advisors Individuals develop along multiple interconnected pathways: emotional, intellectual, physical, ethical and social. We view students holistically and seek to foster their whole development, integrating social and emotional learning and comprehensive health and wellness programs within our tailored curriculum. Mindfulness activities, robust arts instruction, enrichment, expeditionary learning and rigorous scholarship are all part of our well-rounded education, both inside and outside of the classroom. (For more details, see Personalization)
College counselling begins in Grade 9 and is integrated into the daily advising system. Students and their families are guided together in preparation for the next phase of their educational journey.
A Global Experience
At Whittle, each student’s global experience is rooted in local engagement. We send students out to study their city and other cities in our network, reinforcing their learning through meaningful interactions with the world beyond the classroom. It is our vision to inspire, educate, and empower students to be responsible and empathetic citizens.
Our global exchange programs—City Experience, Centers of Excellence, Summer Abroad and Global Rotation—will provide Middle and Upper School students with the opportunity to spend a trimester, summer or full school year in one of our 30 global campuses. Our global city curriculum exposes students in the Early Learning Center and Lower School to a Global City Toolkit, cultivating the skills, knowledge and awareness to prepare them for thoughtful and meaningful interaction with different cultures in their host city and around the world.
*A trimester is approximately 62 school days