While providing students with the academic knowledge that’s required for their grade level, Buckman’s classroom teachers, arts specialists, support staff and volunteers all work to nurture the whole child–intellectual, emotional, social, and physical–using a variety of teaching strategies. Notably, staff use a multiple-intelligence approach (developed by Howard Gardner), working with students’ verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical-rhythmic, bodily-kinetic, visual-spatial, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalist and existentialist intelligences. (See http://web.cortland.edu/andersmd/learning/MI%20Theory.htm for more information about Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory.)
This means that a lesson about mathematical patterns is not just a static, standard math lecture–instead it might include a rhythmic dance involving the whole body. A first-grade unit about rocks does not mean rote memorization of different types of geologic formations. Instead, it might involve a puppet show of the fanciful story “Sylvester and the Magic Pebble.” Or the teacher might lead students in the creation of a mosaic using different types of rock, or spontaneous dance moves, imitating how rock erodes from a mountainside. As one Buckman teacher puts it, the idea is to give students a variety of ways to create authentic, immediate connections with the subject matter, as appropriate to their age group, grade level, and intellectual abilities.