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Philosophy & Curriculum

Our philosophy & curriculum

Howard Gardner MI Charter School embraces a philosophy that addresses the needs of the whole child as well as practicing current, research-based education with an emphasis on Multiple Intelligences (MI) theory. MI theory is a way of explaining how children learn. It also emphasizes the diverse abilities of children and the need to assess learning using multi-dimensional evaluations. This approach focuses on the individual learner, emphasizing inner discipline and control across age levels, and encouraging students to become independent, self-directed learners. We strive to maintain the principles of democracy and respect for others and ourselves in all aspects of the educational climate.

Additionally, the philosophy of Howard Gardner MI Charter School is based on the concept of teamwork and partnership, where staff members, parents and students join together in an effort to recognize that every person has unique talents or productive skills to offer. Together we strive to make the school a safe place where the sharing of those ideas and talents contribute to produce the best education possible.

Our philosophy drives our curriculum and addresses both state and national standards. This project-based curriculum integrates creative problem solving into every segment of the curriculum. Our designation as a Laboratory School helps ensure that our curriculum is constantly being updated to respond to educational research and state and national initiatives, all the while incorporating these standards into the consistent use and exploration of Multiple Intelligences (MI) theory. While we measure student achievement in many ways, our students also participate in nationally normed standardized tests so that we can monitor their progress and the effectiveness of the curriculum.

The Apprentice Model

Our curriculum is based upon an apprenticeship model in which students learn by working alongside a “master.” Masters may include our exceptional faculty and staff, parent volunteers, and community practitioners and artisans. Dr. Howard Gardner identifies apprenticeships as being a model for schools in the 21st century because of the practical nature of learning beside someone who has working knowledge of a subject, craft, or art. Allowing a master to pass on that knowledge is both a gift and a practical way to scaffold the learning process.

A student store, a school newspaper, weblogging, art, music, and an outdoor curriculum are all examples of skills taught at Howard Gardner MI Charter School that involve students as apprentices. Each of these activities integrates subject content and assessment that is at once relevant and authentic. Students learn by doing. They needn’t ask why they are learning a particular skill. The answer becomes obvious.


Download the Curriculum Guide