Cambridge Distinctives: Integral

Julie Celano, Art and Explorers Teacher

Children learn best when they experience the relationships between subject matters in a way that reflects "the big picture" of God's wholeness, not as isolated bits of information. At Cambridge, we create space to absorb and ponder. We relive historical events and identify with the characters of a book. Through a sense of wonder our students learn and make connections.

Students are invited to dive deeply into their unit themes, rather than just skim the surface of often disjointed topics. They are, therefore, better able to appreciate and understand the connectedness of all learning, how it relates to all of God’s truths, and how it relates to them personally.

The integral nature of Cambridge is possibly our most distinctive feature. Our unit topics stretch into all subject areas, including art. Art plays a significant role in making unit studies come alive. When students are studying about Mexican traditions with their unit teacher, they are creating piñatas in the art studio. The material they are learning is not just conceptual but something they can see and hold, something they proudly create themselves.

Because of their deep knowledge of the subject matter, students see the value in the work they are creating and are invested in their artwork. The elements of art and art techniques are woven into the unit-related projects in a way that gives them purpose.

As an art teacher, I am not simply teaching students to mix colors or recognize a certain artist. We work together to capture the right shade of blue to paint their masks for their Shakespeare play. They’re not just learning about texture; they’re making the rainforest plants they’ve been studying come to life.

Art isn't a subject. It is a space to take their learning even deeper.

Lisa Bond