Mission & Overview

Mission Statement

Cold Spring School challenges children to become self-reliant, curious, and resourceful problem solvers with the academic and social skills to engage constructively and ethically in our diverse, changing world.

Why Progressive Education?

We believe that children should have a voice in their own education. Our integrated teaching approach, with specific grade-level benchmarks, guides instruction and gives children space to ask questions, think deeply about ideas, and contribute meaningfully to the classroom. Cold Spring students work to find solutions with an emphasis on explaining their thinking and their paths to discovering the solution, not just to arrive at an answer.

Why Preschool through Sixth Grade?

We recognize that childhood is precious and brief. Cold Spring’s focus on the elementary years helps celebrate and preserve childhood. We believe it is imperative in a child’s early years to establish the understanding that school is a joyful experience where problem solving and collaboration matter. At Cold Spring School, students from three years old to twelve years old are scholars, questioners, collaborators, data researchers, innovators, public speakers, changemakers, artists, and engineers. 

Why small? 

Cold Spring School is small by design. Every child is known-not only by the classroom teachers, but by every adult that works in the school, and often, by every other Cold Spring student. This closeness and familiarity leads to a strong sense of safety and ownership for our children, and for parents it allows for authentic partnerships between school and home. Our small and loyal community is one of Cold Spring’s greatest strengths.

Why Multi-grade Classrooms?

Cold Spring School deliberately configures its classrooms as mixed-grade groupings, with the exception of sixth grade. Every classroom has two full-time teachers, and children stay in the same classroom for two years. This structure allows for deeper relationships to form between students and teachers and creates a greater opportunity for social and academic learning. Within the two years every child has the opportunity to be a leader for younger classmates and this configuration expands the children’s peer groups. There are clearly defined, formal benchmarks for each grade. Differentiated, or individualized instruction is the norm, with academic extension and support built into each classroom. 

What about Structure?

There is a common misperception that progressive schools lack structure. On the contrary, Cold Spring School has a deep, intentional, and multi-layered structure that defines both its physical environment and curriculum. Structure does not mean regimentation or uniformity. It means that children have rich choices within parameters and the space to express their thinking. Teachers have the charge to differentiate instruction so that multiple activities happen simultaneously in Cold Spring classrooms.