Classes at Cold Spring are multi-grade with two full-time teachers, a Master Teacher and an Associate Teacher. Our classrooms are designed to provide a visually appealing, warm learning environment with furniture arrangements that promote small group and individual learning. Teachers use a thematic approach that integrates the study of language, math, social studies, and science. Children in all grades also receive instruction in Spanish, art, music, and fitness.
Assessment of children’s progress is ongoing and communication between teachers and parents occurs both informally and formally through three written progress reports shared during conferences over the academic year.
Reading for information and pleasure is encouraged through instruction, a daily time set aside for reading and a rich collection of books in each classroom. Our multi-sensory program for beginning readers combines phonetic and whole-language approaches. Teachers in all classrooms read aloud every day. As children become independent readers, teachers assist with selecting books that interest them and also provide an appropriate level of challenge. Older children participate in discussion groups and literature circles.
Math instruction takes place in small-group and whole-class activities. Children are encouraged to frame questions and to explore varied approaches to a problem. Young learners acquire math skills through play with blocks, work with manipulatives and participation in group activities such as surveys, calendar, and tallies. As children move through the curriculum, teachers continue to reinforce fundamental mathematical concepts while children master formal algorithms and apply them to real life situations.
The study of history, geography, anthropology, and economics provides children with the concepts and knowledge to appreciate and understand their societies. They learn to pose questions, conduct research, and organize and classify information. Students learn about the principles by which individuals and societies conduct themselves. They analyze issues from geographical, historical, and ethical perspectives and recognize the place of art, music, technology, mathematics, and science in our lives.
Children learn science concepts by studying what is observable and familiar before exploring more abstract concepts. Teachers facilitate a hands-on approach to science explorations, involving children in active forms of inquiry to foster a deep and real interest in the world around them.
Cold Spring teaches children to use technology creatively, flexibly, and purposefully. We believe technology should be viewed as a tool to facilitate learning. The availability of computers in the classroom increases as children advance through the grades. Second grade students begin to learn keyboarding techniques and explore the use of the Internet as a research tool. Students in the fourth, fifth and sixth grade use computers, iPods, and iPads for research, report writing, and presentations.
Cold Spring School was a recipient of the National Association of Independent Schools first Leading Edge Award in Technology in 2003. In 2008, Cold Spring's River Studies Podcast Project was one of twenty-one programs recognized by NAIS for teaching excellence and innovation.