General Purpose and Approach of the Curriculum
At Inwoods, the classes are not so much divided by age, but in vertical groups, with attention to dynamics, learning styles and teacher relationships. The groups can be arranged in narrow bands of age, such as 5-6, or wider, such as 8-11; this changes due to demographics of the student/teaching body.
The very small class sizes at Inwoods allow for an informal, friendly atmosphere in the classroom and for close personal relationships between each teacher and child, and between the children themselves. To do this, class group sizes don’t exceed 10, though there are also opportunities to work in larger groups for certain activities such as singing, sport, drama, nature walks, etc.
The curriculum is not a set of external specified, separate targets to be uniformly imposed upon the children, so much as a generalised lesson plan that in practice is adapted continually to meet the needs of the time, the school and the individual child. Our aim is to encourage a spirit of enquiry and enthusiasm for learning, by helping the children to develop their academic competence within the whole context of their social, emotional and motor development. Learning is seen as a continuous, natural process, taking place in a friendly, almost family, atmosphere in which adults and children of varying ages work, talk, make, think, cook, eat, sing, garden and play together.
The class work overlaps with all the other school activities: indoors or outdoors, within the school grounds or in the surrounding woods and fields, in smaller age groups or with the whole school together. It may reflect the weather, the season, the particular interests of individual children or the particular expertise of staff, parents or other adults. Education is a shared activity. It grows out of our relationships with each other and with the world around us. This is the general approach in which the teaching of specific subjects is grounded.
Stillness and the ability to listen and remain quiet are emphasised as much as open communication. Inwoods Small School is a place where one can learn a way of living that is whole, sane, and intelligent. Consistent with the views of its founder, J. Krishnamurti, the school encourages the art of inquiry, self-understanding and relationship in a non-competitive and holistic learning environment.