Our teaching (instructional) methods at Bloom Community School are rooted in constructivist and culturally relevant approaches. Constructivism is the theory that all people construct their own understanding, knowledge, and meaning of the world based on their experiences and reflection upon those experiences, adding and revising as we accumulate moments and ideas.
Best practices and research in educational theory, neuroscience, and developmental psychology provide the framework through which we at Bloom Community School understand how children learn best and what teachers’ roles are in supporting that learning.
Moreover, we believe schools and teachers have a vital responsibility to connect children with educative experiences that are culturally relevant and personally meaningful. Students are carefully guided in understanding the learning process itself, and to build knowledge through meaningful projects that connect discrete skills with broader themes and areas.
At Bloom, teaching is a diversified practice that features a variety of peer, whole-group, small-group, and personalized instruction, support, and facilitation of critical thinking to empower children as self-directed and confident independent learners.
Our teaching approach emphasizes:
Inquiry—asking questions and being free to make mistakes;
Supporting project-driven and integrated learning opportunities that cross content-area boundaries;
Enhancing connectedness to the community through collaborative professional relationships;
Cultivating 21st-century skills: critical thinking, creating thinking, collaborating, communicating, information literacy, media and technology literacy, flexibility, initiative, social skills, productivity, and leadership.
At Bloom Community School, our approach to assessment is consistent with our overall philosophy of teaching and learning. Assessment is used as a tool to improve instruction and scaffold learning in ways that are nuanced and individualized. We consider the whole child in our assessment practices, and value the deep and ongoing relationship between teacher and learner as the basis for authentic assessment.
Instead of using standardized testing, we consider assessment part of the authentic work that teachers and students do together every day - through ongoing goal-setting and self reflection, discussion with peers, and one-on-one teacher feedback. Through careful observation and dialogue, analysis of children’s work projects, and deep familiarity with national and Illinois learning standards and benchmarks as well as childhood developmental models, teachers are closely attuned to their students’ development. They use that knowledge to help students solidify growing skills, challenge themselves, and share with one another.
Our assessment practices also include regularly applied formal benchmark assessment tools for literacy and math skills, which lends consistency and clarity to our understanding of students’ academic development in these important learning domains.
Every year, parents participate in two parent-teacher conferences and receive documentation to provide clear communication about a child’s educational progress and growth.