Many parents of innovative and spirited children , the ones who love to climb trees and build robots, worry about gremlins gnawing at the creative mind of their young child (not to say that some teachers are more like furry creatures with sharp teeth than inspiring mentors who awaken minds). At Raintree, we know that a school with a challenging learning environment is not built with pressure and stress. It is taking risks and trying new things. It’s exploring vast regions of possibilities and testing your understanding of Science, Mathematics, and the Humanities against the world around you.
Long-term project work provides an environment in which students take part in constructing their curriculum. Kindergarteners at Raintree are offered choices. Our small class size creates the ideal setting where teachers are able to allow for individual pacing, to allow for close monitoring of each student’s progress, allowing each student an active part in the school community.
Children learn to prepare a meal with friends, use common and unusual kitchen tools, experiment with flavors, and explore the science, math and artistry of cooking during their final year at Raintree.
Surrounded by the wonders of the woodland, Forest School gives each kindergartener an experience unmatched anywhere in the city. To be the keepers of the forest, to learn the techniques of scientists and apply them in the real woodland setting, to play and camp in the great green forest is the right of each child at Raintree. The forest is their backyard, their playground, their hideaway full of mystery and intrigue. This wild woodland also becomes the protagonist of their first over-night campout.
Art is the native language of childhood. To help students express their ideas and new discoveries, the art studio is always open. From sculpting the Childlike Empress of The NeverEnding Story or sketching a dragonfly with scaled wings, the studio is the place to invent, experiment, and express the complexities of their young minds.
With the learning of new words and their spelling, kindergarteners are inspired to write fresh tales with sentences written all on their own. During small-group workshop sessions, each young writer hones their use of setting, mood, character traits, and dialogue. But we don’t stop there…we never stop there. Our well-experienced authors also venture into the writing of their first chapter book!
Yes, in this age of technology, we at Raintree still value the sight of a good looking ‘g’. Learning to take pride in all elements of one’s work, to work patiently and carefully, and to do beautiful things are at the heart of our handwriting instruction.
Math is more than number recognition and arithmetic. Math is a way of thinking. It is pieces fitting artfully in place to solve everyday problems and creative dilemmas. At Raintree, math comes with a force and inspires each young mind to meet the challenge.
Daily doses of reflection and body work encourage children to slow down their day, focus their thoughts, and connect their body with all that they are learning. Yoga in kindergarten reminds children that they can challenge their bodies in small, quiet ways too.
While learning to fashion simple toys, sew clothing and pillows, and make tools for the garden, children begin to build a sense of what is practical and what is beautiful. They are empowered by their ability to identify things that are needed or wanted and will them into being with their skill and determination.