The school day begins at 8:15 and ends at 5:30. Families can opt out of the afternoon enrichment portion if desired, which involves a tuition reduction. This portion has outside teachers, and it begins at 3:15 and ends at 5:30.
Upon arrival, older students are welcome to read or write in their journals. Younger children may play and their older classmates (2nd-5th grade) can join them after their writing. They have until 9 am to explore the classroom. This gives students the opportunity to grow together socially and emotionally and prepares them to start each day successfully with a mindset of collaboration and compassion.
In the warmer (and even sometimes chilly) months, we will then go for a quick walk.
We then move onto our main lesson, which is taught in blocks of 3 hours per day, with each block lasting from 3 to 6 or even 8 weeks. During this time, kids will break for snack when appropriate. It is also during this time that students participate in yoga, Spanish, and art classes, all taught by professionals in the field. We often visit local businesses, The Audubon Center, or go to a play throughout the school year during the morning as well.
Early Grades (K-2, primarily) will have a different set of challenges than Heart of Childhood (3-5) students, but they will likely be similar. The teachers will work closely together within the two groups. If your child is working with one group for Language Arts, for example, she may work with another group for Mathematics. It is loosely based on grade, but moreso on ability.
It is also during these long work periods that the teacher will use the unique child portfolio to design the invitations to learning aligned to the needs and styles of each individual. After main lesson, the children have lunch (brought from home) and have time to play outdoors. Outdoor time is unstructured play time. If the weather is inclement, we will have unstructured play indoors.
During the afternoon, the teacher reads to students. The first trimester, she reads a chapter book, the second trimester is fairy tales, folktales, fables, and tall tales. The third trimester consists of historical books and Greek myths. Children will engage in group or pair discussions with a prompt after the reading. Depending on ability and subject, students may do a drawing or a writing prompt during this time, while some days they will simply listen. During this time, our younger students practice their out loud reading skills by partnering with a volunteer to read with them once a week.
We then have snack, and children can choose to say goodbye for the day or participate in our enrichment program.