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Practices

Living Curriculum

We draw on inspiring ideas, people and things in literature, science, math, history, geography, art, music, handwork and all realms of knowledge. We are informed by but not limited to the Alabama Course of Study when making curricular choices. The life of the school is structured “so that the strong have something to strive after and the weak may not fall back in dismay”. We rely on real books, real things and real experiences, incorporating the best in literature, the arts, sciences and history. We exchange workbooks for copybooks, textbooks for living books, and short-term results for long-term learning. Subject areas include penmanship, composition, literature, history (world, U.S., local), geography, science, mathematics, handcrafts, nature study, artist and composer study, drawing, French, Latin, folk music, and dancing.

Postures and Habits

The persistent effort to help a child do what he lacks the power to compel himself to do is a significant work for parents and teachers. These repeated ‘doings and beings’ create paths for freedom, character and self-governance for a lifetime. At Red Mountain Community School our attention is given to fostering intellectual habits beginning with attention, listening, and remembering along with moral ones such as responsibility, gratitude, and respect.

Narration

Our primary educational tool is narration. This is simply the retelling of what has been read, heard, or seen. Whether telling back orally or through illustration or writing, the child finds himself relating to the information and growing in his ability to attend. Material is not simply memorized for a test. It becomes a part of the learner and cannot be taken away from him.

Spiritual Formation, Feasts, Celebration

At RMCS we recognize that attention to our Spiritual Formation brings life, richness and rest. Attention to the Church Year’s seasonal rhythms and rituals undergirds our ordinary school days. We have several special feasts and celebrations including our Folksong Program, an Epiphany Service of Light, and our St. George and The Dragon Faire and Medieval Feast. Singing and storytelling are woven into the fabric of our day. Although informed by Christian Tradition, we welcome families from all backgrounds and faiths.

Assessment

Our unique and effective instructional and assessment practices are based on retelling, self-effort and trained attention.  Exam week reveals what a child knows and has retained over the course of the term. The de-emphasis of grades, rewards, and incentives with desire to replace extrinsic motivations with internal self-motivation fosters engagement and initiative. Portfolios of student work go home three  times a year. Parents communicate with teachers regularly to assess progress and hopes for each student. 

Excursions

We encourage families to learn together. Each week we offer outings or experiences that relate to our course of study and draw on local resources. These include field trips to historic landmarks, visits from local experts, nature outings and outdoor classrooms. The Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Turkey Creek Preserve, Dauphin Island Estuarium and Sea Lab, Sloss Furnace, Tannehill State Park, Vulcan, the Birmingham Museum of Art, and Oak Hill Cemetery are some of our favorite haunts.