Elementary program details
Our Elementary Program is a long-term course of connected classes that meet in the afternoons. Children in their last year of kindergarten and elementary school grades 1-2 are welcome to join our afternoon program as a group of learners supported by a lead teacher-researcher.
This program builds on group learning that we establish in our pre-primary program and for new students entering from elementary school. Children in this age group are entering a rapid phase of development and this program takes advantage of that development by challenging students even more.
Elementary school classes meet Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday afternoons 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM. There are no classes on Tuesday afternoons since it's a full day at local elementary schools on that day.
You can think of our Elementary Program as "writer's workshop" meets "makerspace." Students tinker on group maker projects inspired by storybooks and their own ideas. Our high quality, intentionally-chosen storybooks are the starting point for this work. Soon, students will start to become writers of their own stories through playful inquiry.
Language & Literacy
A typical afternoon starts off with a group meeting with all the children. A discussion of ongoing projects might be the topic of the day, or another interesting storybook might be introduced to students to spark new ideas. A focus lesson will continue to challenge students in phonics and literacy. Following this we introduce workshop period.
During workshop, students are working in small groups or large groups through playful inquiry. You will find them working with a variety of materials thoughtfully chosen and arranged by teachers to engage students in thought. Materials include clay, paints, paper, cardboard, recycled items, codable robots, circuits, etc. As they explore the materials, students are encouraged to document ideas that they are exploring, often as stories. When students are ready, they will pick up a blank sheet of paper to document their story. This process not only helps them find a meaningful way to write, but also helps them refine their ideas by translating their work into another medium - paper in this case.
The afternoon comes to a close with a reflective, closing circle time. During closing circle, teachers intentionally choose to bring up the work students were working on. Sometimes it could be a way to bring attention to a problem students encountered and a discussion begins on how it might be overcome. Other times students will be encouraged to share the stories the wrote during workshop. This could also include moments when the students act out their stories with their friends. This reflective meeting at the end of our afternoons is an important time for ideas and learning to get reinforced. It's also a great time for students to develop communication skills and self confidence in expressing ideas and points of view in a group setting.