Every school has its own distinguishing characteristics and programs which help it stand apart from peer institutions. What are some ways in which Sant Bani School is different from other elementary and middle schools?
- Location: the Sant Bani School campus has access to 200-acres of woods and trails, which allows for ample outdoor time each day and for outdoor education to be implemented into the curriculum.
- Sant Bani School believes strongly in service learning, both in service to the community and through helping each other – it is not uncommon to see a middle school student mentoring a younger student.
- Public speaking is a difficult skill to learn. At Sant Bani School, teachers and students work to create a “judgment free” environment in which students feel comfortable speaking and presenting in front of their peers through programs such as the K-2 Museum and Projects Period presentations.
Click on the accordion links below to learn more about some of the programs which make Sant Bani School unique.
Projects Period is a two-week break combining the traditional February vacation week with an additional week for an independent educational experience. Each student is responsible for proposing, creating and presenting a project of their choosing; this has become an important part of the Sant Bani experience. Projects Period encourages each child to take risks, and builds confidence to explore individual interests, try out new roles, follow their curiosity and be creative.
At the end of the break, two days of school time are set aside for sharing. Each student describes his or her project, and students and teachers take turns serving on teams to evaluate the project and the quality of presentation. These evaluations are shared with the student. All projects are displayed on the Wednesday evening following our return from break.
One day in early October each year, all Sant Bani School students and staff – and some SBS parents – take a day to hike to the summit of one of the region’s mountains. Gathering at school in the morning, everyone travels together ot the mountain prepared for a full day of hiking and camaraderie as we reaffirm our connection to nature. Teachers and staff sign up for special duties and students are grouped together to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all. At the summit, students pause to take in our area’s natural beauty and often join together to sing some favorite school songs. After enjoying time at the summit, everyone descends the mountain and returns to school prior to departing for the day.
Each spring, a visiting author comes to campus for Writers’ Festival, a day devoted to writing. Prior to the visit, students prepare their own short stories, which they share with peers throughout the day. All students have the chance to listen to a presentation from the Visiting Author and ask them questions. In the afternoon, students venture to various locations of campus to partake in a free writing exercise.
Throughout the curriculum, we look for ways to open students’ hearts so they are aware of others and feel inspired and empowered to help them. We seek to provide positive learning experiences so students know that service is the lifeblood of their communities and a powerful source of personal happiness.
Teachers are always looking for ways to bring service into their classrooms, and service projects arise spontaneously depending on student interests and community needs. In addition to integrated service, choice offerings of service (STEAMS blocks, clubs) are popular.
September 10 and February 6, Sant Bani’s version of Founders Days, are observed with an all-school day of service. Middle Schoolers participate in the International Coastal Cleanup at Hampton Beach every September, and in the spring the eighth grade helps Camp Wilmot open for the season. In addition, three Family Service Work Day are scheduled through the year: one before the start of the school year, one in winter and one in spring. These are fun community-building events and also help with important projects that have a direct impact on the experience of our students.
A culminating event for students in grades Kindergarten, 1, and 2, the K-2 Museum occurs near the conclusion of the school year. At the beginning of the year, students and teachers choose the topic that serves as the museum’s theme. Then, throughout the year, students research the theme and work on the display pieces and exhibits that will be featured in the museum. Then, families visit campus for an evening of tours and presentations from the grades K-2 students, and the next day all other students are invited to tour. This instills in our youngest students a confidence in public speaking and presenting to both peers and adults, a skill that is beneficiary throughout the remainder of their time at Sant Bani School and beyond.
Sant Bani School’s location affords the unique opportunity to integrate the outdoors into each student’s educational experience in a variety of ways, with ample outdoor learning time implemented into the weekly routine. Since the school’s founding, utilizing nature as a learning tool has been an important component of a Sant Bani School education, in coordination with ashram principles. The campus includes a campus garden; access to trails and an open field at the ashram grounds; streams, ponds, and vernal pools; and a solar energy field. Students learn to respect and appreciate nature in a sustainable way, and bring their observations from outdoor learning into the classroom in both the Elementary and Middle Schools. Throughout the year, students (and staff) help tend to the campus garden, which provides food that is shared within the school community.