The elementary classrooms are set up to be conducive to learning which means we want children to feel comfortable. Natural lighting, soft colors, and uncluttered spaces set the stage for activity that is focused and calm. Students work individually or in small groups, at tables or on mats on the floor.Learning materials are arranged on accessible shelves according to curricular area, fostering independence as students go about their work. Everything is where it is supposed to be, conveying a sense of harmony and order that both comforts and inspires.
The classroom is a happy community. Students are focused. They take joy in their work. They invent, explore, experiment, confer, create, prepare snacks, and curl up with books; sometimes they might even reflect in a peaceful, meditative corner. Meanwhile, teachers circulate throughout the room, observing the students and making notes about their progress, ever ready to offer support or introduce new material, as appropriate.
Multi-age groupings of children ages 6 – 9 and 9 –12 provide a heterogeneous mix in which children can collaborate and socialize. These inter-age relationships strengthen the entire community. Older children are seen as role models within the community. Younger children follow the example set by the older students, and have peers to work with in areas of the curriculum in which they may be more advanced. This multi-age community provides opportunities for all individuals to learn from each other, at times leading, sharing, or serving as role models. It also develops an appreciation of differences. Within this supportive, inclusive community, children work through the curriculum at their own pace, accelerating during some tasks or taking additional time with others.