The flow of the school day includes ample time for children to make choices that support their particular interests. These may include exploring a wide array of art and found materials from our Studio, investigating the properties of light, shadow, water, and sand, and participating in a variety of literacy, math, nature and dramatic play activities. Ongoing group investigations reflect the collaborative, interactive and cooperative nature of life and learning at our school. Each class comes together daily for meeting time, story, snack, music, and movement.
Our expansive outdoor play area is another important part of daily life at CNS. We are very proud of it!
When a child is personally invested in an activity, we believe that it will become a meaningful learning experience. Teachers pay close attention to the ways in which the children investigate their world and construct knowledge. They offer provocations, challenges, and engaging materials to further promote learning and growth. Within a framework of respect and encouragement, children are able to shape their own experiences as well as collaborate in learning groups.
PLAY is an integral part of the learning process at CNS. Research demonstrates that from play, children develop their creative, intellectual, social, and physical potential. Whether creating with art materials, building with blocks, dressing up, finding their stories, or running with friends on the playground, a child’s “play” is their work.
At CNS, engaging with our outdoor world is a very special part of our program. In every classroom, nature abounds through materials and artifacts provided by our beautiful Earth.
Outdoor exploration is an integral part of each day at CNS, which may include elements such as water play; gardening activities via our garden beds that are adjacent to each classroom; cooking in the mud kitchen; foraging for sticks, rocks, pinecones, and acorns; tracking the flight of a butterfly in the garden; and searching for fairies under the gnome house.
During the pandemic, we are so grateful for the ability to operate our program outdoors as much as possible. In 2020, we incorporated outdoor classroom extension areas with tents, as well as a communal garden studio, where children and teachers come together to create, collaborate, investigate, and play!
Every day at CNS, children have opportunities to create and work with art materials in various styles, applications, and provocations. Easels are always available and typically at least one table activity is devoted to working with creative art materials. Children have open-ended, process-driven opportunities to work with many different styles of paint, mediums, and techniques to fully experiment and explore.
At CNS, we believe in paintings that end up in big brown splotches because all of the colors mixed together; or in collages that include recyclables and lots of tape because of a child’s vision and process; and perhaps most importantly, in always empowering the creative spirit of each individual in our community.
"Instructions for living a life:
Pay attention. Be astonished.
Tell about it."
- Mary Oliver