School Age children arrive at the Center by the WES school bus after a full day of school. Children also come from other schools. We offer an experience where children can both relax after a long day and invest in further learning through a foundation of play, individual exploration of activity choices, and group investigations or projects. As with the younger children, teachers observe the interests and concerns of the group as they are expressed in play, activity, discussions, and creative work and then develop curriculum that weaves these interests into thematic study or projects. Teachers actively seek input from the group on how to direct and plan for investigation and projects while making use of the blossoming skills of the group. In addition, there are times in the day for group meetings, active project work, outdoor play, indoor movement and games as well as time for contemplation, relaxation and quiet study. Teachers also help the older children make ties to the younger groups by occasionally having the group plan activities for the younger children. All of these pieces help the School Age children to become capable of enacting change and taking responsibility for their own learning and community.
Trips are an essential part of the School Age group, especially during school vacation weeks and through the summer. The School Age program is open full time during the February and April vacations as well as during the summer. Summer Camps includes options for short term enrollment and centers on themes and field trips.
Our goal is to encourage a strong sense of group and community as well as friendships that cross the span of ages. We support children’s friendships by taking time to encourage leadership, foster collaboration and group creative process, and process conflict through problem-solving and independent mediation. Children develop a life-long respect for diversity by appreciating differences in classmates’ choices, opinions, and cultures.