At TKG, a student’s development, their sense of relationship to self and others, and the environment are the foundation of a more personal approach to education. Students’ passions, skills, and interests inform their academic, physical and social/emotional learning. Responsive curriculum supports learning that follows Common Core Standards with an emphasis on the cumulative results rather than year by year timelines. Our environment is responsive to students, teachers, and the community. Meet the teachers who live this, every day, with your children.
Design of the Day
Our students are grouped into developmental multi-aged groups informed by the individual’s growth and stage within the classroom community. We collaborate to support each child’s learning rhythms and help them develop concepts as a continuous and individual process. We meet Monday-Friday from 9 to 1pm. Extended day is available to 3pm.
We are breaking the mold of traditional school grade levels but value a framework that allows students, parents, and teachers to know where learners are in their journey at any given point in time. Our trajectory is used to record student evolution, with consistent and verifiable tools, over many years. For deep learning to really flourish, student, teacher, and parent are fully committed to learning and problem solving, together. Teachers assess development from the perspective of the entire trajectory, not just each school year in the following domains:
Cognitive Learning – Academic offerings in reading, writing, and maths, which align with Common Core, are accessed through multiple methods including: interdisciplinary studies, constructivism, project-based, and emergent curriculum. Multiple forms of assessment are used to document growth and evolution. Learning is documented through assessments, narratives, trajectories, and triangle conferences but never report cards with grades or labels.
Social Justice/Community Building – We are always learning from each other. Teaching others, in mixed age settings, helps us understand more deeply and practice flexibility and empathy. As we gain personal confidence, we feel more comfortable to share our success, knowing that all people can achieve personal success. We encourage children to solve problems on their own, with guidance from parents and teachers – effectively providing a safe environment to practice negotiation, take responsibility, become self-aware of desired outcomes, and be involved in resolving conflict.
Social Emotional/Empowerment – By understanding how our brain works, we can give ourselves the best chance at learning and we can experience the full range of normal and healthy feelings and emotions.
Science/Concern for the Earth – It is vital to connect our students to nature and address the nature deficit facing our community. The main objective is to foster a personal bond with the natural world through familiarity, sense of kinship, and understanding of climate change. People who are connected to nature are more likely to protect it.
We don’t do grade levels but if we did, our range is from “grades pre-K through 8.” Currently, we are enrolling for ages 5 through 10. Older co-horts can open based on community needs and financial resources.
SPROUTS (name tbd) Ages 3-5. Play is the learning of this child. There is no academic work that can improve on the work of developing big and fine motor skills, exploring a big new world, and learning to trust other members of their community. Teachers in this class love to offer provocations to inspire joy and wonder.
ACORNS – Ages 5. Nurturing the joy of learning, the wonder of creating and learning that your voice matters is the work of the Acorn. Our teacher has a strong commitment to social/emotional development and is skilled at inspiring self-propelled learning.
NATURE GROWERS – Ages 6/7. Brain function and the capacity to process academic learning takes a noticeable leap for students in this class. Students asking for more are met by teachers who are ready to dive into practicing foundational skills, foster a social/cultural awareness, and help build confidence.
REDWOODS – Ages 8-10. The world in which to learn becomes much bigger for students in this group yet their self-discovery is becoming more influenced by external sources. Teachers in this group support building academic confidence and skill-building and an awareness/appreciation for mindfulness, self-love, and courage.
EVERGREENS – Ages 10-12 (not currently open but with a minimum of 5 enrolled families, the options are wide open). With more mature brains and on the cusp of a physiological transformation, Evergreens are encouraged to challenge themselves to achieve their potential, have awareness of their social and cultural surroundings supported by teachers who can hold space for social/emotional growth balanced with academic rigor.
13-14 AGE CLASS (mapped but not yet populated). Students in this age are in an explosive creative phase and are beginning to see the adult world in their future. They are encouraged to know that through the practice of: project planning, critical thinking, failure and success, they will build the academic, social and cultural skills required to use their hearts, minds and voices to be innovators and catalysts through the next phase of life. The teachers, mentors & coaches who work with these students have high-expectations with an abundance of trust.
WHY MULTI-AGE CLASSROOMS?
Student interactions are an important part of the learning experience at TKG and we are committed to maintaining small class size with low student-teacher ratios. Cross-age groupings, based on the teachers’ observations and recommendations, stimulate children’s thinking and cognitive growth. The roles of leader and follower are exchanged; mentors and learners develop while capitalizing on student’s strengths and abilities. Our priority in deciding how to place students is to support each child’s learning rhythms and support them in getting comfortable with their growth-edges.
EVIDENCE OF LEARNING
Yes, assessment – but one that takes a bigger picture into account.
Students are people who are developing in their own way at their own rate. We favor a holistic approach to assessment that includes academic, social and emotional development of each child. Therefore, assessment of progress is through anecdotal observation, individual student conferences, formative assessments, rubrics, and authentic assessments. There are no letter or rated grades. Students are part of the assessment process by preparing class work portfolios and participating in teacher conferences. Leading children toward measures of achievement in terms of their personal best, is empowering.
We can provide real-time information about student progress and official documentation through:
- Teacher/Parent Office Hours
- Student Portfolios (during covid – work folders)
- Triangle Conferences (Student/Parent/Teacher participation)
- Personal academic trajectories (“report card” if you are used to traditional terminology)
- Whole Child Snapshot
- Teacher Narratives