Each day at Community School #1 begins with “Morning Meeting” and the “Daily Board of Knowledge”. A student reads aloud from the board, which outlines the day’s agenda, provides a new vocabulary word, shares an important date in history and includes a poignant idea. This is where curiosity begins. All sorts of conversation and inquiry branch from this daily event. As the day begins, students broaden their understanding of the world and their place in it.
The morning meeting continues with a recitation of the classroom creed, participation in a “brain dance”, and a moment of silent reflection. The brain dance is a series of movements designed to awaken the brain through increased blood flow to different areas of the mind. Our creed is based upon five fundamental tenants:
- Be honest, be true.
- Try to do your best and the right thing.
- Respect others and their property.
- Be kind and thoughtful.
- React but do not overreact.
Each semester a younger child (Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade) is partnered with an older child (3rd , 4th, 5th and 6th grade). Heart friends sit together, and younger children are provided guidance by their older heart friend throughout the day. Older children learn responsibility, develop patience and become a mentor as they work with their younger heart friend. Younger children delight in having an older heart friend who can coach them, answer questions and share what’s expected in the classroom.
Gimmick is our free range bunny who roams the classroom in search of paper to chew and children to love. True to his name, his gimmick is disappearing acts. If the bunny gates are left open, he will disappear as fast as he can down the hall!
Students in first through sixth grades will present a current news event, recite and perform a memorized poem, and review a book on a rotating weekly basis. Kindergarten and first year students may choose to prepare a show and tell or a formal presentation. Presentations are three to five minutes long and afterwards students ask questions of the presenter. Weekly presentations are self-evaluated as well as teacher evaluated so students can continue to build their skills and reflect on how they can do better next time.
DEAR: Drop Everything and Read
Every day, students have scheduled DEAR time where they can grab a book and read alone or with a heart friend. DEAR is just one of the ways in which CS#1 promotes a reading culture whereby all children learn to read and become enthusiastic readers.
The school day begins at 8:15am and ends at 3:30pm. However, our doors open at 7:30am and after school care is available until 4:00pm when all students are expected to depart the building unless prior arrangements have been made.