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 whole-group, small-group, and individualized instruction, support, and facilitation that empowers children to become self-directed and confident independent learners.
Our teaching approach helps to mobilize the key tenets of our broader educational approach:
emphasis on inquiry—asking questions and being free to make mistakes;
supporting project-driven and integrated learning opportunities that cross content-area boundaries;
promoting inclusion of diverse learners and learning styles;
enhancing connectedness to the community through collaborative professional relationships.
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 we 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 careful observation and dialogue, analysis of children’s work projects, and deep familiarity with national and Illinois learning standards and benchmarks, teachers are closely attuned to their students’ development. They use that knowledge to drive their teaching decisions and ensure that children are acquiring appropriate skills and understanding.
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 three parent-teacher conferences and receive two detailed narrative reports to provide clear communication about a child’s educational progress and development.