We believe that by fostering a love for reading in children opens a world of possibilities for children. Reading is an active, cognitive process. Children develop a passion for reading when they are exposed to meaningful and exciting literature. Our classroom libraries offer a wide selection of fiction and nonfiction literature for children at all reading levels. Every child at Cold Spring is read-aloud to each day. Phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, comprehension, and guided reading are all building blocks to developing proficiency and fluency in reading. Through specific instruction in reading comprehension, we provide opportunities for children to make text-to-self connections, text-to-text connections, and text-to-world connections. Research is integral to the development of our curriculum and providing choice and variety in books is what we do.
It is important to us that children see themselves as writers from the youngest ages. From the very start through scribbles, pictures, and words to writing elaborate fictional stories and research papers, we guide children through a deliberate writing process. We believe that surrounding children with a literacy-rich environment inspires writing. Using Lucy Calkins approach of teaching writing, mini-lessons provide children with practice in building their skills in the mechanics and content of writing. Peer and teacher conferences give students specific, individualized feedback on their work. Our goal is to create deliberate, strategic, thoughtful writers. We teach manuscript and cursive writing at Cold Spring School, something that we value tremendously. Often, writing is done in conjunction with thematic studies.
At Cold Spring, the Everyday Math curriculum develops deep, conceptual understanding of mathematical content. Through spiraling, concepts are revisited and learning is spread over time. A dedicated hour of math each day for Grades 2-6 allows teachers to teach in grade-specific small groups and differentiate instruction. Facts and skills are directly taught and practiced, and learning is balanced with the more creative, problem solving aspect of Math. Math discourse with an emphasis on explaining one’s mathematical thinking creates opportunities for appreciating multiple perspectives and problem solving is encouraged.
Filled with materials from simple to complex like cardboard, tools, beakers, sewing machines, 3D printers, and more, this science, math, engineering, and design program is built specifically for elementary-aged children. Problem solving, risk-taking, collaboration, experimentation, and creativity are encouraged and supported through this program. Often, children engage in long-term projects which are designed in conjunction with classroom thematic studies.
Thematic Studies like Community, Personal Histories, Crossing Borders, and more, provide the framework for social studies content to emerge in the classrooms. Through specifically-designed curriculum, children learn about past and current issues that may be prevalent in society and understand the influence of societal structures. Using primary and secondary sources, students engage in extensive research around their areas of study. Whenever possible, students have the opportunity to engage in informed action within or outside the school community.
ScienceThrough first-hand experiments, this hands-on, project-based curriculum promotes scientific inquiry and experimentation in classrooms and in the Tinkering Lab. Children are taught to make predictions, test hypothesis, evaluate, and apply information individually or in small groups. Often, thematic studies provide the framework for scientific content to emerge. Presenting data and conclusions through experiments, creating models, or writing papers is also part of the process.
TechnologyTechnology at Cold Spring grows with age. As children progress through the grades, they engage with technology which supports curriculum and content. Learning isn’t just about getting access to doing more complex technology but it is also about being responsible with it. Learning to evaluate and trust sources of information and exercise responsible digital citizenship is specifically taught as children engage with more technology.
SpanishUsing the total immersion approach, Spanish begins in preschool with exposure to the language and vocabulary through songs, stories, and everyday phrases. As children progress through the grades, the complexity of content and the frequency of classes increases. Along with the teaching of grammar, reading, and writing of the language, projects are designed and integrated in conjunction with thematic studies in classrooms.
MusicThe Orff method that provides the framework for music at Cold Spring engages a child’s mind through percussion instruments and singing. This developmental approach resembles a child’s world of play. Through playing, reading, writing, and composing of music, children gain proficiency and efficiency with music. At fourth grade, children learn to play the recorder. Songs bind the community together at our weekly School Meeting. Older children often play music for the younger students and perform at events such as graduation and concerts.
ArtArt at Cold Spring is a fully immersive experience. In an aesthetically-pleasing Art Studio, children learn the principles of art and create original pieces of art that reflect each child’s individuality and self expression. We believe in taking children through an intentional step-by-step process of creating work and teaching children to appreciate one’s own art as well as others. Learning in thematic studies is often represented through art. Throughout the year as children create art, beautifully-displayed final pieces adorn our school hallways and classroom walls.
FitnessWe believe that a healthy attitude towards fitness has a positive influence on the social, emotional. and physical wellbeing of all children. Using a wide variety of equipment, a planned, sequential curriculum allows for the development of specific physical skills. Non-competitive games provide a safe and supportive environment for children to develop respect, responsibility, empathy, and sportsmanship. As a way of building ownership and confidence, students are often encouraged to create games to play with their classmates. In partnership with City Climb, a local climbing gym, students in grades 2-6 climb on our Climbing Wall to build strength, endurance, and problem-solving skills.
MindfulnessMindfulness is about creating awareness and space between our thoughts and actions. It is about noticing these thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and anything that may be happening at the present moment. We practice mindfulness in our classrooms with the intention of centering our minds and bodies. We believe that by doing this, children are able to make better decisions, control impulses, manage stress, and pay attention. At our weekly School Meeting, children in our 2/3 classes lead the entire school community in ‘breathing’ exercises.