"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." - John Muir
SELF TO SELF
SELF TO OTHERS
SELF TO WORLD
SELF TO LEARNING
Bellwether invites students to know themselves: to understand what they are passionate about, what motivates them, what their needs are, what their stengths and areas of growth are and who they encourage themselves to be in all areas of their life.
Bellwether encourages students to make meaningful and authentic connections with others and find the ways in which we are connected. Students do not merely become a classroom of learners but rather they become a true community of individuals who support and share their unique selves.
At Bellwether, students create deep relationships with the world around them. Whether outside in our protected wetlands or hiking one of Vermont's stunning mountains, students are linked to the natural world and it is through that connectedness that students see the value and importance of cultivating an appreciation and love for the world and all its creatures.
What we do is rooted in who we are.
Curriculum at Bellwether intergrates students and teachers. Not only are areas of study emergent and led by the community in the room, the students are often reflecting on how they will engage in the learning. They see themselves as artists, scientists, mathematicians, writers and actors. By helping to determine what we will study and how they will approach that content, our students have a rich relationship with thier learning and themselves are learners.
Bellwether School teachers are skilled educators who have a common regard for progressive and holistic practices in education. Our impressive teacher/student ratio allows children to get their needs met in a warm and productive community atmosphere. Each Bellwether classroom has teachers who attend to their students with humor, love, empathy and consummate diligence.
Our teachers are passionate, playful and reflective. Teachers at Bellwether are constantly balancing freedom and structure, individuality and group responsibility, content and process, rational and intuition, spiritual wisdom and spontaneity - all in order to respond to each learning situation in its immediate presence. They recognize that any particular learner, in a particular setting, in a particular culture, at a particular point in time, should be addressed in that moment, and not according to a fixed model meant to apply to all individuals in all learning situations. They sure are busy!
Because holistic education does not rest on any one curriculum or method, it is all the more important that our teachers’ sensitivity, responsiveness, inquiry, caring and self-understanding are cultivated. Our teachers participate in ongoing professional development in such areas as reflective and technical teaching, child development and early education, self-assessment, and ways to support families.
Bellwether School students learn to self-reflect, analyze and extend themselves to their peers and the greater community. We accept students ready to work hard as individuals, able to learn how to be considerate community members and motivated to make the world a better place.
At Bellwether, we start with the child. We seek to understand what motivates him/her and how s/he interacts with the world. We support and are responsive to a child's whole development and help children to be reflective about their self, thier needs and their learning. Bellwether students wonder openly, play fully, think creatively, express honestly, problem solve actively and seek connections constantly. They are ready to construct thier learning.
Bellwether School parents are thoughtful participants in their child’s education. Bellwether’s warm community encourages parent engagement in a myriad ways. The most essential ingredient for a Bellwether School parent is a deep desire to see their child happy, confident, and challenged in their school environment.
We believe that when a child comes to Bellwether, we are not just enrolling the student but rather we are enrolling a family. We take time to know who you are and what matters to you. We invite you to be a part of the classroom and the school in general and to share in the learning that happens here. We want parents and other family members to share in learning, to feel like a part of the building of the classroom, the curriculum and the culture that is so uniquely Bellwether.
Bellwether School graduates successfully continue on to both public and private middle and high schools and have grown up to become community organizers, teachers, researchers, environmentalists, world travelers, scientists, artists and more.
Bellwether alumni move on to both public and private schools. Schools they have attended include Edmunds Elementary, Williston Central, Red Cedar, Vermont Commons, Richmond Elementary, Hinesburg Community School, and others.
Each year we contact the schools our alumni go on to. We speak directly with guidance counselors and principals about their transition. They often tell us that former Bellwether student’s transition well into their new environment. They tend to be the students whose curiosity is intact, who are still excited about learning, who speak up, who are not afraid to ask questions, who have a strong sense of self and know themselves well as both learners and as friends. Schools appreciate a Bellwether student’s values, social skills, and sense of justice.
We also speak to the alumni students themselves and their families. They tell us that there is an adjustment period in the beginning but that within a relatively short period of time, they figure out how to navigate their new environment. Many continue to be connected to and involved with Bellwether and their Bellwether friends.