When you walk through the doors of the Elementary School, you encounter a creative, vibrant, joyful environment where students love to learn. Our outstanding and experienced faculty is passionate about teaching and learning. Our teachers make every school day count; classroom activities are meaningful learning experiences specifically designed to help students discover their own passions. Classes integrate learning styles, multiple intelligences, differentiated instruction, and current brain research, and teachers thoughtfully design lessons, units and projects with each child’s unique profile in mind.
Community School keeps class sizes small, emphasizing a caring, nurturing environment. In addition to the homeroom teacher, classes also have highly qualified assistants working alongside the lead teacher. Homeroom teachers are responsible for teaching language arts, mathematics, and social studies. Specialist teachers are responsible for science, art, music, dance, drama, human development, physical education, and Spanish. Specialist classes are an integral part of the overall curriculum and assist in our mission to educate the whole child. Teachers have a balanced focus on building social-emotional growth, academic skills, creativity, problem-solving and positive character traits.
All teachers use a wide variety of teaching techniques to engage learners, however you will commonly see students working on hands-on, student-centered projects, utilizing all parts of our campus from the floors of the hallways to the creeks just outside our windows. During the course of a year, students will have built snowshoes and trebuchets, hand-sewn tents that they’ve used for overnights, worked on multi-media pioneer presentations and colony projects, designed and presented fashion for the recycled materials fashion show, Podcasted digital stories, and filmed and edited the bi-weekly elementary school news show. Interwoven into and across these amazing projects are a solid foundation of academic skills and core knowledge at each grade level. The latest technology, such as interactive Promethean white boards and laptop computer carts, also enhances and develops learning.
In addition to engaged learners, you will also see happy, confident students who get along exceptionally well with each other and their teachers. Every faculty member, regardless of whether they teach a particular child or not, knows them well because we take the time to talk, laugh and learn with our kids every day. We know what makes them unique and we celebrate those traits. We also encourage students to develop relationships with students in other grade levels by playing and eating together at recess, combining classes for some specialist subjects and working through more structured programs such as K-Pals, Kindergarten-Fifth grade buddies who do activities each week together.
At Community School, you’ll also see two other features that, while not unique to other schools, we believe we approach exceptionally well. First is public speaking- through our bi-weekly community meetings in front of our faculty and parents as well as numerous class presentations, we encourage and develop confident, articulate public speakers. Many parents who see our students speak in public remark that they seem more comfortable in front of a crowd than most adults! Our outstanding performing arts team produces several shows each year where students are able to utilize our beautiful, state-of-the-art theater. Second, our extensive outdoor program begins with hiking and cross-country skiing in kindergarten and develops into overnight trips from third grade on. Older students participate in such exciting trips as hiking Idaho canyons and camping in the wilderness, snowshoeing to a yurt for an overnight, and sailing on a schooner in the Puget Sound. These adventures, in the company of their teachers, help further our goals of creating confident, well-rounded, environmentally conscious individuals.
At the end of the day, Community School students do not want to go home. And when they finally do, they jump into their parents’ cars full of stories about their teachers, their classmates, their exciting day, and most of all, their learning. Success in today’s rapidly changing world requires such skills as critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, flexibility and we provide the foundation for a lifetime of learning in the Elementary School.