Continent Study & Cultural Sharing.
Each year all three Lower Elementary classes focus on one continent to study in detail—geography, ecology, maps, countries and cultural traditions. This type of focused and sustained project helps students to develop their research and writing skills, as well as to explore both similarities and differences of cultures other than their own. The study culminates with a Cultural Sharing Day during which children present reports, maps and projects they have created for their parents, peers and students from other levels. See pictures from the 2017 Cultural Sharing day.
Each spring the Lower Elementary children participate in an artist-in-residence program, which is based on the cultural traditions of the continent they are studying that year. Students spend a week working with the artist(s), learning stories, songs and dances particular to that culture. At the end of the week they present a performance for other students and for parents. Artists are usually invited from outside of the school and in the past have included folk musicians, professional dancers, and story-tellers. See pictures from the 2017 Residency performance.
After the winter holiday break, each Lower Elementary class spends a week working with our drama teacher. They learn to read lines, practice moving on the stage and make props and costumes as they prepare an informal performance for parents and the other Lower Elementary classes. This is a fun, relaxed introduction to drama, preparing them for plays they will do in Upper Elementary and Middle School. See pictures from a recent Playlet by Debby’s class.
Morning Outdoor Play.
Meeting twice a week before school starts, Morning Play is opportunity for students to begin their day exploring the woods around school, playing cooperative games and immersing themselves in the natural world. Morning play meets all year—in all types of weather—so that children learn to enjoy the outdoors in all types of conditions. Research shows that unstructured, outdoor play is essential for the growth and development of the brain, body and intellect.
Taking place at least once a week in each LE classroom, Community Meetings provide valuable practice for becoming responsible, respectful and resourceful members of a community. Children learn about constructive problem-solving, develop the ability to work through problems, and begin to realize their own significance within a community.
• To use their voice
• To practice looking at issues from multiple points of view
• That mistakes are opportunities to learn
• To see strengths in themselves and others
• How collaboration can change things
• That they have influence in a socially useful way
• What it feels like to set goals, plan and be able to carry out the plan.