Curriculum overview

ASL offers an American-style curriculum

We deliver a creative and inquiry-based curriculum, while encouraging the pursuit of personal and academic excellence.

Our oldest students may elect to take Advanced Placement (AP) courses in more than 20 subjects, and they take SATs in Grade 11 and/or Grade 12. We do not offer the IB program or UK examinations.

Learn more about the curriculum for each division:

Lower School (K1-Grade 4)


We believe learning through playful inquiry is the foundation for intellectual, physical, and social and emotional growth. Learning should derive naturally from curiosity and exploration.

The classroom environment is designed for children to learn through play because research shows that playing is the way in which children engage their minds, organize their thoughts and store information using all their senses. Children are given a wide range of experiences, opportunities, resources and contexts to provoke, stimulate and support their innate intellectual dispositions—their natural inclinations. The program is inspired by the Project Approach and the schools in Reggio Emilia, where children and adults reflect regularly on their playful inquiry as a way to deepen everyone’s understanding, and where children are seen as competent and able to construct and engage in their own learning with teachers as collaborators and guides. Learn more about the K1 and K2 curriculum.

Grades 1-4

Students in Grades 1–4 gradually move from a developmentally based program toward a more formalized approach to learning. Children continue to learn by doing, practicing previously learned skills and acquiring new ones. Teachers encourage the development of learning dispositions such working independently, participating actively in class, and demonstrating self-motivation. They endeavor to stimulate every child’s interest, curiosity and creativity, to challenge each student to fulfill his/her potential, and to promote a true love of learning.

Individual and group work in all core subjects is used to enhance students’ problem-solving, critical-thinking and logic skills. ASL students come from many different schools and learning environments, and their learning needs are assessed regularly to ensure their success. Collaboration and responsibility are emphasized throughout the Lower School. Learn more about the Lower School curriculum.

Middle School (Grades 5-8)

The Middle School has identified curriculum goals considered essential to the learning process and development of 10- to 14-year-olds. These goals are the source from which specific subject-based skills flow.

In their middle school courses, students in Grades 5-8 engage in the process of meeting the essential curricular goals. Middle school students strive to be independent learners and acquire a range of thinking skills, comprehension, interpretation, extrapolation and synthesis. They learn to read for comprehension and appreciate a variety of reading materials. They begin to understand their place in history. Middle school students apply mathematical skills and concepts to relevant academic and real-life situations and apply scientific principles, skills and attitudes to problem-solving. They acquire and use reading, writing and speaking skills in another language. Middle School students are encouraged to recognize the need for a healthy body and mind, and to express their creative potential through the arts. Learn more about the Middle School curriculum.

High School (Grades 9-12)

The high school curriculum provides students with a comprehensive and rigorous secondary education, equipping them for success in and beyond ASL. The required program of study should be considered the minimum; almost all students fulfill more than basic graduation requirements. Most students choose to take four years each of English, math, science, social studies and world language, and they pursue advanced work in academic and elective areas where they have ability and interest.

The strongest college-preparatory program emphasizes steady progression in core academic areas. ASL offers an unusually wide array of options for students to extend their knowledge in several subject areas. ASL's core curriculum is enhanced by broad offerings in technology, and in the visual and performing arts. Students learn to make thoughtful choices to achieve the best possible balance between breadth and depth. Learn more about the High School curriculum.


The Alternatives program offers authentic, challenging, and immersive opportunities that foster relationships, personal growth, and a deeper understanding of the world beyond the classroom. Groups of 12-25 students travel together to destinations in the UK, Europe and beyond. The program:

  • enhances curriculum through collaboration, shared experiences, and reflection
  • embodies attributes of the ASL Portrait of a Learner
  • nurtures relationships and builds community
  • encourages students to take responsibility for themselves, their own learning, and each other

Alternatives is designed to best fit into one of the "strands" below, which we hope to use as a guide to make sure a student's overall experience with Alternatives in the High School is purposeful and balanced.

Dialogue and action
  • View historical and contemporary issues from multiple perspectives
  • Service and stewardship
Mindfulness and movement
  • Strengthen student well-being and/or physical confidence
  • Outdoor immersion
Artistic exploration and creation
  • Explore artistic movements, artifacts or experiences
  • Provide students opportunities to exercise their creativity
Inquiry and innovation
  • Tackle challenges through inquiry and innovative technologies and ideas
  • Explore and exercise questions and ideas