“To develop a complete mind… Realize that everything connects to everything else.” – Leonardo Da Vinci
On November 3rd, York House Junior School and Little School held the first Integrate Day. The aim of this day was to provide our students with exciting cross-curricular learning experiences. Our timetable was collapsed and the students were invited to take a deep dive into their learning, fueled by a driving question, through learning with real-world connections, and ending with tangible outcomes.
“Today we have done away with regular lessons!”
The look of shock on the faces of the students said it all. How could we be so heartless to take away their literacy, math, music, French, Science, PHE, drama etc…
“And we are having an Integrate Day!”
This announcement caused glances around the classroom, what was this strange day?
The idea of integrated learning is by no means a new thing; I’m sure it makes up the majority of our own, most treasured, school memories. Experiencing different subjects in silos means we often miss the natural connections. Doing away with the silos of subjects and bringing them together in cross-curricular ways enables isolated content and competencies to shine.
True integration comes when we take two or three connected learning strands and plan connected, meaningful, achievable opportunities. It starts out scaffolded – training the students to look for links between subjects at times pointing them out to them. Through regular practice, we can remove the training wheels and they begin to see the links for themselves. This metacognitive growth is what Integrate Day is all about.
We live and work in a connected world where we constantly blend our competencies and knowledge to solve problems and go about our daily lives. To best prepare our students for a world that doesn’t exist yet, we need to help them become literate in cross-curricular thinking. This is precisely what YHS JS Integrate Days are all about.
The privilege of allowing this innate, evolving awareness of how everything is connected to develop, and encouraging learners to see the subjects spilling into each other, like an artist’s palette, is part of what makes our first Integrate Day a truly special time of the year.
Junior School STEAM Coordinator