The Sage School’s approach to curriculum development starts with the journey of adolescence itself. We believe that adolescents are engaged in a grand task- the task of identity formation itself. This is a period in one’s development where, in a handful of years, one transitions from being under the careful watch of one’s parents to being completely independent adults (at least theoretically) in the world. That process is fraught with individual challenges- academic, cognitive, social and emotional. It also, if done well, can create a profound base from which students may construct themselves and their own futures.
Our task as Sage School Adolescent Anthropologists and Teachers is to construct a curriculum that guides students through their journey. We have created the 7 Tasks of Adolescence which lays out the progression of our curriculum. As students move through each phase of adolescence (the explorer, the social animal, the local apprentice, and the global citizen), they will be greeted with a new set of tasks that reflect their natural questions and their growing skills and abilities. Throughout this process, the students will engage projects designed to be authentic, relevant, social, and active- qualities that are demanded by all stages of adolescents in their learning. Adolescents want to see the connections to the real world, they want to be engaged meaningfully, and they want to be challenged appropriately. We seek to create that space daily.
Our curriculum is also firmly rooted in the study of Human Ecology itself. This phase of development in one’s life is uniquely suited to have students study themselves, their roles, and their relationships to each other and the natural world. It is our contention, in fact, that this is the ‘natural curriculum’ of adolescence. We seek to immerse them in the study of Human Ecology so that they experience an integration of content, self, skills, systems, and relationships as a major part of their daily routine.
By constructing a curriculum structure with all of this in mind, and immersing students fully into engaging experiences, we feel that we are in the best position to help each student develop his/her own self-awareness, community responsibility, and sense of place. As we guide students along the journey of adolescence, we believe that the skills they gain and the content they study will prepare them to meet the challenges of college, career, family, citizenship, stewardship, and more.