RiverTree School uses the Ambleside Schools International Curriculum. This curriculum was developed by Maryellen St. Cyr, the founder of Ambleside School of Fredericksburg and now ASI's Director of Curriculum, with input and advice from the many teachers and principals she has worked with over the years. The curriculum is annually reviewed and updated with input from each of ASI's member schools.
The Ambleside curriculum coursework provides:
- A wide and varied course of study
- An alternating plan for both the development of skills and the mastery of content.
- An acquaintance with knowledge that is vital, fruitful, and interesting with its forming ideas.
- The use of books characterized as “the best thought of the best writers.”
- The use of materials that aid in understanding and explorations without diluting the thought of the discipline.
We endeavor that the students should have relations of pleasure and intimacy established with as many as possible of the interests proper to him: not learning a slight or incomplete smattering about this or that subject, “but plunging into vital knowledge, with a great field before him which all his life he will not be able to fully explore” (Charlotte Mason). The courses of study vary between the grades, their time at school, and the depth at which they are encountered.
Narration is the basic methodology of Charlotte Mason education. Narration is an active retelling of what the student has heard and learned. Such a retelling requires the use of the child’s whole mind as well as their memory, and demands careful attention to a single reading of the source, without review and repetitions.
Ambleside students do the scholar’s work of the first hand reading of primary sources of literary merit that present inspiring ideas in all subjects, not dry, predigested facts and texts. Their study also includes direct contact and observation of real objects from nature (plants, minerals, animals, the elements), and art, music, and other human disciplines (maps, instruments, machines)!