Children in threes through second grade participate in special holiday assemblies such as Thanksgiving, Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, and the Lunar New Year. First and second grade students meet weekly for assemblies. Talented faculty members, parents, outside professionals are often invited to perform for our students. Past programs have included dancers demonstrating the Tango, a storyteller, an animal trainer and a puppeteer. Programming varies from year to year, capitalizing on the talents of our community members.
Clubs & Special Courses - 3rd-5th Grades
Special courses, offered one afternoon each week in the fall and spring, allow third, fourth and fifth graders to explore their own particular interests while providing them with additional avenues of expression and success. Past courses have included filmmaking, community service, yearbook, creative storytelling, birdwatching, cooking, rollerblading, kickball, math quest, Holá Calhoun and computer technology. Cross-grade groupings enhance a sense of community while providing new opportunities for socialization. In addition to special courses, students in 3rd-5th grades can get involved in Student Government as well as Community Service activities.
Community Service Learning
Numerous cross-grade and cross-divisional activities throughout the school year expand our students' concept of community and contribute to their confidence, socialization skills and command of their environment. Lower School children are sometimes joined by older students as classroom helpers. Upper School students volunteer to work in classrooms as part of their community service program, and Middle School students may be invited to spend a day as teacher assistants.
Parents in the Classroom
Curriculum is enriched each year by parents who volunteer to bring their expertise, talents and passions into the classroom. Occasionally, a parent-guided project may be tied to a unit of study; other times, it might simply be an enriching experience for the children. In all cases, teachers work with parents to make the activity timely, educational and age-appropriate. Examples of past activities: a doctor's in-depth presentation on the human body and senses; an artist's instruction on primary and secondary colors; a chef's demonstration of culinary skills; an author's reading; a discussion (and canine guest) on the role working dogs play in hospitals with patients; and multicultural holiday discussions with related foods and art projects.
For three- and four-year-olds, a major excursion might be a nature walk around the neighborhood. Kindergarten, first and second graders make use of Central and Riverside parks. Trips in kindergarten connect with project-based learning topics. First graders usually visit an apple orchard, the American Museum of Natural History, an art museum, the New York Historical Society and the Bronx or Central Park Zoo. Second grade trips relate to the social studies curriculum, a study of New York City.