Our Classroom and Beyond

As a school based on the principles of holistic education, we seek to learn about, honor, and incorporate the ideas of many different educational philosophers and methodologies into their work. We believe that no one way works for all students and families in all situations, and that all child-centered educational philosophies including Waldorf, Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Bank Street, Democratic Education, and others have something valuable to offer. We therefore seek to gain inspiration and ideas from many different sources, and to use those ideas in our work.

When visitors first enter Wellspring they often notice that the aesthetic is similar to that of a Waldorf school in that it incorporates a soft color palette, natural materials, and spaces dedicated to fantasy play. However, upon closer examination of our school visitors will see children working in a Mat and Tray Nook, which is inspired by the ideas of Dr. Maria Montessori. One may notice students in an Art and Writing Nook, which is a nod to the ateliers found in Reggio Emilia schools. Children are encouraged to read in our Library and explore scientific concepts in a Touch and Look Nook. A visitor may witness the students engaged in consensus-building as they work to solve conflicts and make group decisions. We seek to give students the chance to work on skills and ideas that appeal to them at any given moment, as well as giving our facilitators the freedom to engage children in one-on-one or small-group work in an area they feel needs some attention.

Our space is constantly changing and evolving to meet the needs of our community, but our Nooks often include the following:

The Green Rug
The Green Rug is Wellspring’s main indoor gathering place. In the mornings, the Nursery and Primary children meet here for circle time. Throughout each day the children use the Green Rug for independent, one-on-one and small group projects. Dramatic projects and twice-weekly yoga also occurs here.

Mat and Tray
Mat and Tray is a Montessori-inspired nook designed for children to have freedom in a prepared environment. Each tray contains one piece of work and has specific instructions. Children choose a tray independently, do the work in the tray and return it to the shelf. Rotating choices evolve over the year as children’s interests and skills emerge. Also here are puzzles and student mailboxes, which the children use to send important messages to each other.

The Book Nook
The Book Nook is our student library, designed to be a cozy place to take a picture walk or read quietly alone or with a friend.

The Cozy Corner
The Cozy Corner is a place where Wellspring children learn to come when they need a little break from their day. This space encourages self-care and valuing the quiet moment. One customer at a time. No snack allowed.

Family Living
Family Living is Wellspring’s hearth and home. Rotating materials including a kitchen, dress-up box, collection of babies and housewares periodically come to this space to enrich the children’s imaginative play.

The Building Nook accommodates children who wish to build, build, build. Materials vary and include large and small blocks, Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys, and giant cardboard boxes. Imaginative play takes the form of rocket ships, sea vessels, wilderness forts, cars, trains and airplanes. This is a place for large motor and spatial skills to develop while children navigate the community skills necessary for group play.

Art and Writing
The Art and Writing Nook is analogous to the Reggio Emilia atelier. Here children partner with the Facilitators and parent helpers to extend their learning through working with various art supplies, recycled materials, natural elements, and journals. Children have time to reflect on works in progress, get assistance with technical difficulties, and experience pride of ownership on a completed project.

Elementary Classroom
The Elementary classroom is where children in the first, second and third grades gather to do their quiet study each morning and afternoon. With the Elementary facilitator, the children come together to reflect on their day, have song and movement, and check in before the day begins. Throughout the day, children work together on assignments, develop projects according to their interests, and support each other’s success.

The Paddock
People are often struck by the absence of ready-made playground furniture in our paddock. The outdoor space is deliberately designed as a natural environment for imaginative outside play. For thirty minutes each morning, children gather to chat, build, dig, jump and run. This is a time for the facilitators to observe the children’s habits and activities while together with their peers.

Rock-A-Bye Meadow
Rock-A-Bye Meadow is located across Church Street. On weekly trips, children observe seasonal changes and have time to listen to the music of Nature, monitor bluebird boxes, and feel a part of this outdoor extension of our classroom.

© 2007 wellspring community school