The founders of GHS were ahead of their time in their conviction that children were best served with a rich educational program that emphasized excellence in the core subjects and included instruction in the Arts, World Languages, opportunities for Community Service and for learning by doing. This foundation has evolved into a number of programs which set our School apart. These programs have a transformative impact on our students which extends beyond their years at GHS.
Providing frequent opportunities for each student to lead and to be led is part of the GHS fabric. Every morning two Middle School students, together with our Head of School, greet families and assist with morning drop-off by helping young students out of their cars and escorting them safely to the crosswalk. Each week our entire school community begins and ends our week together at our Opening and Closing assemblies. These all-school meetings are facilitated/led by Grade 8 students and are an opportunity for various grades to present their work in front of peers and for outside performers to visit our school.
Leadership opportunities for all grade levels are encouraged and shaped at GHS. From the beginning, leadership is emphasized not just as an act but as having respect for one another and for the greater community, and incorporates ethics and personal responsibility as key components. At GHS, leadership experience and instruction begins in Montessori where the five year olds understand that they are role models for their younger classmates. Opportunities continue at many points across our grade levels where older students present to and mentor younger students on specific projects at various times during the year.
Because every student at GHS is known by the faculty and staff, an individual student’s particular leadership style and strengths can be fostered, encouraged, and celebrated.
Beginning in Grade 4, students take overnight trips to sites where the focus is on learning by doing. Grade 4 spends a night at Hard Bargain Farm Environmental Center, a working family farm to better understand the farm-to-table food cycle and learn about our local watershed ecosystem. Grade 5 spends 3 days and 2 nights studying ecology on the Chesapeake Bay at the Echo Hill Outdoor School; Middle School students experience an overnight camping excursion, building teamwork on ropes courses, confidence on climbing walls and zip lines, etc, at Genesee Valley Outdoor Learning Center. In the spring, each Middle School grade explores an East Coast city. There are also optional trips during Spring Break, most recently to Belize, Costa Rica, and Quebec City.
Montessori Classes each have a garden which they plant and tend. Each spring, older students help with planting and campus projects. Plans are also in place for a school-wide vegetable and native plant garden as well as an apiary to be located on land newly acquired by GHS.
French instruction begins with our Montessori students at age 3 and continues through Grade 8. In Montessori, classes meet three times a week and in Grade 1, four. In Grade 5 students have the opportunity to continue their immersion in French or switch to Spanish and beginning in Grade 6 all students study Latin in addition to either French or Spanish. Middle School students take optional trips to French or Spanish speaking countries during Spring Break or Summer vacation. Prior to graduation, our students, on average, satisfy two years of high school foreign language credit.
From Stewardship Week, when all students help with campus gardening, to Grade 3’s weekly support to GHS recycling, to various school-wide food drives, community service is part of the curriculum for all students.
Arts At Green Hedges
Drama, visual arts, and music have always been a core part of the GHS curriculum.
Music instruction begins with our youngest students at age 3. In Grade 3, each student learns to read music and play in a group setting through our recorder program. At the end of their Grade 3 year, with guidance from the Band Director, each student chooses an instrument for concert band instruction in subsequent years. All students participate in concert band through Grade 8, and in Middle School students have the option of joining the GHS Jazz Band whose performances are a staple at numerous Vienna community events.
Drama productions are part of each student’s Green Hedges experience. Beginning in Grade 1 every student is part of drama instruction including acting, stage direction, blocking as they memorize lines, rehearse and perform a play for the entire School.
The Rice Arts Center is dedicated to studio art. Students work with a rich selection of mediums as they learn drawing, painting, and ceramics as well as art history and aspects of working creatively.