Signature Programs

Signature Programs

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 aspects of our program which set our School apart and that have a transformative impact on our students extending 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. Our entire school community begins and ends every week together at our Opening and Closing assemblies. These all-school meetings are 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 through actions as well as through having respect for one another and for the greater community. In the classroom, on the stage, and on the playing field students develop a strong sense of personal responsibility and accountability. 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. 

Experiential Learning

Beginning in Grade 4, students take trips to sites where the focus is on learning by doing. Grade 4 visits Calleva, an outdoor education center, to better understand the farm-to-table food cycle. 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.

Montessori Classes each have a garden which they plant and tend. Each spring, older students help with planting and campus projects. A school-wide native plant garden provides countless opportunities for furthering understanding of life cycles, evolution and adaptation, and ecologic systems.

social emotional learning

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) provides the framework within which students develop self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills. Students learn emotional skills and responsible decision-making beginning in Montessori. The School Counselor provides a much needed element of social emotional learning to the curriculum. Her schedule includes weekly lessons with students in Grades 4 – 8, as well as an every other week lesson with Grade 3 students. She has joined the Montessori – Grade 2 classrooms as well, and leads small group sessions to assist with social development and interactions. She has been available to families seeking her guidance as well as to students when needed. 

World Languages

French instruction begins with our Montessori students at age 3 and continues through Grade 8. Classes meet three to four times a week for world languages. In Grade 6, students have the opportunity to continue their study of French or switch to Spanish. Throughout Middle School, students study Latin in addition to French or Spanish.  Prior to graduation, our students, on average, satisfy one or two years of high school foreign language credit. 

Service Learning

From Stewardship Week, when all students help with campus gardening, to Grade 3’s weekly responsibility for campus paper recycling, to various school-wide food drives, recognizing and answering to community needs plays an ongoing role in our students’ experience. 

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, and choreography 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 media as they draw, paint, and sculpt while developing their knowledge of art history and their understanding of creative endeavor.