Harmony School offers a broad liberal arts curriculum of academic courses, as well as courses designed to develop social skills (cooperation, responsibility, critical thinking, problem solving). Education is meaningful to Harmony students because they see it as both a process of personal growth and a means of increasing their power to contribute to society. They leave the school with the skills and the desire to make a difference.
Separate early childhood (ages 3-5), elementary (ages 6-12), middle (ages 13-14) and high (ages 15-18) school programs, each non-graded and personalized, emphasize cooperative learning. The design of the early childhood program varies slightly from the other programs. Within each of the other programs, students are grouped in classes with a 1:12 teacher-student ratio. In the mornings, students are grouped by age and interest into math, English, social studies and science classes. In the afternoons students choose electives (art projects, computers, psychology, music, drama, etc.) that enable them to interact with classmates of varying ages.
Time is provided and valued for students and teachers to share information and make decisions for the school community in a democratic setting. The sharing of responsibility is developmental, encompassing more important issues as the students’ skills increase. The curriculum is supplemented by extended field trips, visits from guest teachers, art experiences, creative writing publications, dramatic and musical performances, independent projects in the community and courses at Indiana University.
Teachers serve as counselors, making themselves available any time, and frequently take students into their homes for a night, a week or longer.
Teachers modify their classrooms and teaching methods to accommodate a variety of learning styles. This flexibility allows the school to adjust its focus and program capabilities in accordance with changing societal and student needs. The curriculum creates a fertile environment for peer tutoring. Students’ self-esteem is often enhanced through peer relationships in which those who excel in certain areas can assist others. Likewise, older students gain confidence as they help younger students.