This fall my older daughter, R, started first grade at a new school. Cold Spring gives kids ranging from pre-K to 6th grade a truly progressive education. R is in a combined K/1 class, and she couldn’t be happier.
The teachers at Cold Spring School have a difficult job. They build an environment where kids ask and learn how to answer questions they care about. The teachers brainstorm with the kids. They draw mind-maps with the kids. They teach problem-solving. They nurture kids’ innate creativity and curiosity while at the same time making sure the kids acquire the knowledge and learn the skills they will need to succeed post-elementary school.
The younger kids are not always aware of the bigger picture. At a traditional school a kid might come home and say “I did math today. We added numbers together.” At Cold Spring School, they come home and say “we learned about leaves today and played games.” They don’t tell you that they counted leaves or figured out how many leaves you have if you have 3 trees, each with 10 leaves.
Last night, Cold Spring held their first ever curriculum night, inviting the parents to hear the teachers explain their curriculum, the goals behind it, and how they dynamically adapt it to the interests and ideas of the current crop of kids. We heard about reading, math, science, and social skills from their home classroom teachers, as well as music, Spanish, art, fitness, and yoga from the special area teachers.
Holding a curriculum night was perfectly in tune with the school’s progressive spirit. It was a big brave experiment that opened already wide communication channels between teachers and parents even wider, and gave parents new insight into what their kids do every day and why they do it. These teachers are not used to speaking from their hearts in front of big groups of incredibly invested adults, but they did it anyway. Bravo Cold Spring School!