Children learn to feel empowered, safe, and connected in our small school setting, not only within their classrooms, but also as part of a grouping of multi-age classrooms that we call Clusters. We have four Clusters [three Youngers classes (K-1), two Bridge classes (1-2 and 2-3), two Middles classes (3-4), and two Olders (5-6)]. There is a shared retreat space between every two classrooms – students on either side of the retreat are the same basic grade equivalents.
Interacting with groups large and small allows each student to know every teacher and every other student in the school. With this level of support, PS1 students become self-assured individuals and confident learners.
We have a two grade equivalent range in all of our classes – (K-1, 1-2, 2-3, 3-4 and so on through Sixth grade) – changing a child’s peer group from year to year. In this way, each child has opportunities to be both an older and a younger student within the class at different times through his or her school experience. This structure fosters connection, a lifelong skill, and helps students thrive in many different kinds of environments. Parents year after year, and now generation after generation, come back and tell us that a two year age range was the most important piece that made their children the well-rounded, well-spoken, confident, comfortable, agile people they have become.