Crossing the Bridge

The transition from Early Childhood to the Grade School is a major one, both for children and parents. The magical years in the Early Childhood program have a cyclical feel. They are a sort of paradise (Kindergarten means children’s garden) in which the child stays with the same classmates, teachers, and classroom for up to four years, celebrating the cycles of nature and engaging in practical activities that happen on a regular basis—from annual festivals to daily rituals—and gradually gaining skills and confidence. The Early Childhood classes form a multi-age unity.

When the child enters First Grade, the seasonal and weekly rhythms continue, but a new linear component quickly comes to the fore. The students now embark on a wonderful journey of learning, starting with letters and numbers, which will culminate on the distant shores of Eighth Grade! In addition, there are now many different specialty teachers with whom the child interacts. As the years progress, the child will form strong bonds with these teachers. Most fascinating of all, his or her individuality—who s/he really is and will become as an adult—slowly starts to reveal itself. We hope you will enjoy a glimpse into this exciting time.

Grades 1-3

Emotional/Social Development

The elementary-age child remains enthusiastic about play, yet is also hungry to learn. S/he is ready for the structured environment and widening horizons of grade school, and secure enough to stay away from parents for a full school day. Equally important to cognitive development is social development: being with others and working together is as important as writing and reading! While younger children may still be content to play alongside one another, elementary-age children engage fully with their peers, creatively and eagerly playing in many different ways, often developing their own rules as they go. The distinction between self and world slowly begins to change, most noticeably when the child turns nine and begins to separate from the world and to question it.

Grades 4-5

Emotional/Social Development

Ten-year-olds are “out in the world” much more than they were even a year ago. They seek independence, objectivity, a sense of direction and spatial orientation, and empathy with others. Eleven-year-olds are poised between the early grades and the upper grades, having achieved a newly easygoing, cool, calm and collected demeanor—an emotional Golden Age also referred to as “the calm before the storm” (of adolescence).

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