Each year, teachers assess the class sizes and social dynamics to determine if more or less combining is appropriate given the specific needs of the class.
The day officially begins at 8:30 and dismisses at 3:15.
The daily schedule runs on a five-day, seven-period schedule, although this scheduling in the lower grades is primarily for scheduling the “specials”–art, music, P.E., etc. Humanities and math classes are scheduled around these at the discretion of the classroom teacher.
Our 40-acre campus has plenty of space for children to go outside, along with dedicated spaces for a library, art studio, science labs and physical education. All classes take advantage of the campus to experience nature up close, to play, and to learn. The second and third graders are in a building adjacent to the playground. Acting as a bridge between Lower and Middle School, our 4th Grade is housed in a charming, stand-alone building on our Upper Campus.
- All classes travel across the campus for science, music, visual and media arts, and physical education, which are housed in separate buildings.
- Second and third grades combine for social studies, lunch, field trips, class parties and community events.
In 2nd – 4th Grade, our two primary tasks are to nourish our students’ evolution into independent thinkers, and to create a caring environment for growth and learning. Children begin their days with a morning circle, where they greet each other, check in about the daily schedule, introduce new work, and share ideas.
- In Lower School, our students have both a younger and older buddy to engage with during different weekly group activities.
- Students participate in Drama and African Drum and Dance Residencies, giving our young students the chance to express themselves on stage.
- Field trips take students out and about in the Hudson Valley, exploring everything from archery to planets to classical music.
Environment and Sustainability
Building on our success in mobilizing our community to become more environmentally mindful, we are immersed in ways that integrate ecological understanding across all disciplines. Beginning with our garden, a hub for cross divisional and community learning, we are continuously seeking ways to enhance environmental literacy and civic engagement for our students. Our overarching aim is to promote a deeper understanding of ecological principles, human behavior and our ability to become change agents.
In the early grades, great care is taken to bring awareness to the students about the sources, value and disposal of materials, as well as reducing waste as an act of honoring our community.
The idea of “living simply so that others may simply live,” is one that is communicated often by the Early Childhood and Lower School teachers, through curriculum and classroom practices.
Whenever students learn about Native Americans and other non-industrial cultures, the relationship to the earth is stressed. The emphasis on the world as a community, and the natural environment as something to be protected, is carried seamlessly to the older students, especially by the specials teachers (art, library, science, etc.) who work across age groups.
For example, the library, art and science programs all have an environmental aspect, and touch on sustainability through explicit instruction about issues or activists, as well as through exploration of and appreciation for nature. Sculpture from found-items is a favorite in many grades, as is building from natural materials, and using the woods as a subject for drawings.