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SAIS Featured School: St. Peter's Episcopal School

Wednesday, January 10, 2018  
Posted by: Christina Mimms
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By combining programs like language immersion and outdoor education with traditional curricula in arts and sciences, St. Peter’s Episcopal School has emerged as an innovation leader in Chattanooga, TN. “We offer our families the very best educational programs while keeping the warmth and inclusive atmosphere that people associate with St. Peter’s,” says Head of School Meredith Ruffner. “Balance is the key to our future.”


St. Peter’s offers pre-school, junior kindergarten, kindergarten, and first grade language immersion classes, with a new class added every year. “Research shows that immersion is good for both the children in the program and the children in the next room just being exposed to it,” says Ruffner. “As an administration, we constantly ask ourselves, ‘Is this best for kids?’ And it was clear that immersion was a ‘yes.’”


St. Peter’s offers an outdoor class for more than extra playtime. Trailwise (third, fourth, and fifth grades) combines nature exploration, survival skills, and personal expression in ways that teach kids natural sciences, art, and writing in new ways. Younger students learn about the Native American respect for the earth through lessons with local experts and artists. And all students, from age three through fifth grade, care for the St. Peter’s organic garden which grows herbs, flowers, fruits, and vegetables.


The garden produce is used both in nutrition lessons and as a part of science lessons in the STORM lab. STORM stands for science, technology, organics, related arts, and math. And since the Storm is the St. Peter’s mascot, the STORM lab connects the school’s lexicon with the different approach St. Peter’s takes to education. “We only get one chance to nurture our children through these important early years,” says Ruffner. “We must use this chance to inspire lifelong wonder, curiosity, and compassion for our world.”


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