The great educational psychologist Jerome Bruner once wrote: “Knowing is a process, not a product.” What this means is that real education involves more than just having kids memorize disconnected facts: It requires helping kids understand how to discover new truths, by their own efforts using their abilities, talents, and creativities. At AMA we take this approach very seriously, from Pre-K through 12th grade, by ensuring that our students have every opportunity to construct their own understanding of the world. In practice this means plenty of hands-on interdisciplinary work, together with a carefully designed curriculum that ensures that students see connections between what they learn in the classroom and the real world, including their own communities.
AMA students are provided with opportunities to explore all areas of the curriculum using integrated units and projects. We emphasize the importance of being able to use technology. In science we encourage students to think beyond narrow subject boxes of ‘physics problems’ or ‘biology problems’ and instead emphasize an understanding of nature through asking questions that may require a combination of physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics to answer.
Our Language Arts and Social Studies program encourages students to learn with an open and creative mind, understand that reading, writing and a knowledge of history empowers them and they can make the world a better place.
In elementary grades, our students study:
In the secondary grades, our students study:
Our Math and Language Arts courses are based on the US Common Core Curriculum. Our Science courses are based on the US National Science Education Standards.
All grades participate in physical education including coached team sports (soccer and basketball). In all grades the various subjects are integrated whenever possible using interdisciplinary projects and units. In the secondary school, interdisciplinary ‘themes’ may be used to create links between diverse subjects during an entire semester. In eleventh and twelfth grades students are able to elect to study advanced placement (AP) courses and to sit the College Board AP exams. In 11th or 12th grade, students also take the US SAT exam.
Our students are also encouraged to participate in volunteer opportunities to help people in Panajachel and the surrounding villages. This is part of our ‘Whole People, Whole Planet’ approach that stresses the importance of having a wide and inclusive view of the world beyond the schoolroom. These opportunities also help build students’ sense of purposeful ‘self-efficacy,’ or the belief that they are able to achieve things that make real changes in other people’s lives or in the world.