Actually we use five rooms; but it’s the approach that makes us unique. CS#1 educates the way a family or village would raise its children:

  • Our multi-age cohort of students and adults promotes interaction, tutoring, and social bonds across ages
  • Our collaborative, integrated approach to learning produces authentic, sophisticated conversations about real-world problems
  • We stress the fundamentals: language, math and geography
  • We preserve the classics: handwriting, reading, letter writing, journaling, public speaking, current events and community engagement.
  • We then add project-based learning, academic follow through, and social responsibility. Students learn to:
    • Plan, create, execute, and evaluate their annual musical, arts showcase, calendar project, field trips, open houses, school tours and science fairs.
    • Complete assignments correctly and comprehensively before moving on
    • Address and resolve problems through open conversation, natural consequences, and pragmatic steps.  

At the core of all aspects of our curriculum stand the arts—broadly conceived from fine arts and crafts to music and dance as well as the arts of language and living.


CS#1 emphasizes the foundations of reading, writing, social studies, math and science with many real-life, hands-on, practical applications of skills. Student learning incorporates experiments, manipulatives, projects, field trips, and current events with community-based learning. We ask each child to work to the best of his or her ability. Expectations are high for academics and quality. Curriculum is guided by the 'national standards' set forth in the basic core subjects. Beginning in third grade, we administer the Iowa Test of Basic Skills for evaluative purposes and assessment of our school curriculum. We frequently score in the top ten percent nationally. Individual student assessment is documented each semester and within the context of teaching.

Children range in age from five through twelve years. During the course of the school day, we make distinctions based on ability, general age level, and grade levels. Children are grouped by ability and achievement for academic work, and each child may work at many different levels across various subjects. We are able to work with children who are not challenged by the traditional school setting, but we do not have the resources to work with children with severe learning or behavior problems.

Classroom Management
The children have considerable freedom, but with commensurate responsibility. They are expected to respect the rights of others, support each other, do their best, and do the right thing. Positive behavior is recognized, and natural consequences for all behaviors are experienced. Our standards for conduct and social interaction are very high.

Class Size and Staff
We have up to twenty five students with at least two teachers covering the core curriculum. We have additional teachers on a daily basis from one to three hours to teach arts enrichment classes. These include music, creative movement, dance, yoga, art and Spanish.

Home Enrichment
In order to form a true parent-child-teacher partnership in our educational process, each child does home-based projects on a daily basis. These assignments are varied and age appropriate, and include: a) weekly homework assignments; b) daily required home reading; and c) preparation for presentations. At home, children will prepare and practice brief presentations on a variety of topics, including current events, book chats, memorized poetry, or "show and tell" for the kindergarteners.

Summer School
Summer school is no longer offered by CS#1. Information for summer camps may be offered.