Hipster Henry: ‘What I didn’t expect’
Insider School Tour from Hipster Henry:
“Last month I finally made it to Miquon. Miquon is located in Conshohocken, in its own little valley, down a twisty road. The last thing you feel like on the way to Miquon is that you are 20-30 minutes outside of Philadelphia. Miquon is considered a progressive school and is for children ages 3 years old to 6th grade. Progressive schools are unique even within their own category and Miquon is no exception. The Miquon School was started in the 30’s by two mothers, “disillusioned with their own traditional educations, who discovered the progressive education model captured better the curiosity, abilities, and potential for growth within each child.” Translation: Miquon’s founders wanted to provide an education that took a deeper dive into a child’s emotional well being and development in addition to providing them with strong academic and social skills.
“I do a lot of school tours and I am well versed in what falls under the progressive category. It often required you to shake away what you know about education and take in new concepts for learning. When I arrived at Miquon I expected to find a school in the woods. I expected to find a curriculum that focused on a lot of all-weather, outdoor play, and learning. I expected to find blended grades and small class sizes. What I didn’t expect to find was a school that prefers to lead more with its academic side then it’s crunchy side.
“The biggest misconception about a progressive school is that the school is not preparing students for the real world and that they are not as academically focused. There is no doubt when you walk into a Miquon classroom that academics and critical thinking is a huge focus in everything they do. Miquon students go on to 7th grade at the same schools as the rest of the city: Abington Friends, AIM, Germantown Friends, William Penn Charter, Frankford Friends, Friends Central, and Friend Select to name a bunch.
“When you arrive at Miquon you see a series of their signature red school and classroom buildings tucked into a wooded campus. At first glance it is hard not to compare the campus to a scout camp in the Poconos. Children move from building to building throughout their day. A friendly race from one end of the wooded campus to the other seems to be the right distance to burn the right amount of energy before their next subject starts. Gym is played on Miquon’s giant field which is adjacent to the school’s outdoor basketball court and pool. Students have the option to get to the field by stairs or by slide. Art and Science take place in separate dedicated buildings that overlook the field. Students have weekly scheduled time with five full-time specialist teachers in Music, Art, Science, Physical Education, and Library.
“I mentioned earlier that Miquon does not lead with its crunchy side. When you talk to the staff at Miquon they love that their students are outside a good portion of the day, they love that they are constantly building forts and have the opportunity to explore the wooded campus but you quickly pick up that that is only one component. Miquon knows their camp like feel sets them apart from other schools but they don’t see that as their greatest asset. They see preparing their students to be lifelong learners, amazing critical thinkers, and well… super great humans as their main focus (and if they happen to be standing in a creek while they do it… so be it).
“There is what would be considered a traditional playground but majority of the children can be found exploring in the woods, playing in the creek, climbing trees, and building forts. As the students get older their campus boundaries expand and the 6th graders can often be found in the more remote sections of campus creating their special hideaways in the woods. The older students are also responsible for returning to their classrooms on their own after choice time is over.
“Miquon classes have an average of 18 students per classroom and often have two teachers in every group. Classes at Miquon are vertically grouped, which means they contain children from two grades together. If this is new to you… don’t be afraid it is actually happening more and more. Miquon groups 1st-2nd grade, 3rd- 4th grade, and 5th-6th grade. Read more about Miquon’s philosophy on mixed-age grouping.
“If Miquon is a school you would like to explore more they have an Open House coming up on Sunday, November 20th at 1:30 pm. Everyone that attends will have the opportunity to talk with staff and current parents. You are also invited to stick around for their community fall gathering, which begins at 3:00 pm. The community event will include singing, a camp fire, and snacks.”
Email Andrea Myers to RSVP for the Open House at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are the Parents saying?
Check out what other parents are saying about Miquon in Hipster Henry’s Annual School Survey Results.