The Russian Hill School is an early childhood education program which addresses the individual, social, emotional and educational needs of children between the ages of three to six. Specific concentrations in social interaction, art, music, physical exercise and academic readiness are a tradition for this thirty year old 'cooperative learning' program. The 'mixed age' curriculum model was created around the belief that young children need balance between organized and free activity, in order to receive the maximum of mental and emotional growth. Different from most school environments, the program is specifically structured to achieve that balance. Included in the program are indoor and outdoor educational activities and free play opportunities.
We are a program that seeks to address the whole child and individualize to his or her 'Zone' of learning needs.
We believe in collaborative learning whereby the students and teachers are involved together in the process of development - a mutual respect as researchers in education and facilitators for each other. If children get the message early on that learning is an exciting journey that never ends and that we do it together, not in a vacuum, they will embrace the process forever. We promote the approach of 'learning by doing' with age similar companions and adult guidance.
We believe in unit study and project development as effective curriculum methods and art as a catalyst; learning through visual arts, music, dance and dramatic play.
We believe that creativity is a natural outgrowth from the ability to do something; and therefore we nurture skill development in children to promote the 'I can do it' response and foster independence.
We use multi-procedures ('extended learning') and combined curricula to develop project effectiveness. This is to say that children learn to respect the time it takes to create something of worth and that attention spans and involvement in the process are enhanced through satisfying individual experiences.
We nurture social development and believe it to be a primary focus of the pre-school agenda. As a non-profit organization we continue to refine our purpose as teachers of children and leaders in the field of art-based education. As a non-profit organization, we are able to develop more continuity in serving the children of the community and involve the families of our group in the process of education. Through grants and school growth, we will be able to expand our staff, serve a more diverse community and further develop our programs.
Morning Session (8:00am - 12:30pm). Children should arrive no later than 9:00 am. Half day morning students should be picked up no later than 12:45pm.
8:00 - 10:45 Open classroom with mixed media and Outdoor Activities. Children are free to choose activities, including educational toys, dramatic play, arts and crafts and pre-structured self-correcting learning materials as well as outside play (children are rotated for outside time 5 - 7 children at a time, each child participates daily).
10:45 - 11:15 Match-up time. Children work cooperatively in teams (usually an older child paired with a younger child) to pick up and store toys and play equipment.
11:15 - 11:45 Snack time. Children go with their partner to wash their hands before coming to the table for snack. They assist, as time permits, in arranging place mats and passing out cups, napkins and food. Preparation of snack is a frequent class activity.
11:45 - 12:30 Circle time. A combination of stories, finger-plays, songs, rhythm, dance and movement activities, group discussions and learning demonstrations make up this structured activity.
12:30 - 12:45 Transition between programs. Full time students prepare for lunch. Half-day morning students are dismissed at 12:30pm. Afternoon half-day students begin to arrive for lunch between 12:45 and 1:00pm.
Afternoon Session (1:00pm - 5:30pm). Afternoon students should arrive no later than 1:00pm for lunch and be picked up no later than 6:00pm.
12:45 - 1:15 Lunch Break. This large group social opportunity around the lunch table encourages children to practice eating etiquette while building conversational skills with peers. Children bring their own lunches daily. A choice of milk or water is provided by the school.
1:15 - 2:15 Lunch transition and Rest time. The children attend to their personal needs (bathroom; hand washing, etc) and engage in 'quiet time' on rest mats, while listening to audio stories. Children who nap, do so in a designated area.
2:15 - 2:45 Circle time. A combination of stories, finger-plays, songs, rhythm, dance and movement activities, group discussions and learning demonstrations make up this structured activity. Although similar to the format of the morning activity, themes and story selections are not repeated in the afternoon program in order to avoid redundancy for children participating in both programs.
2:45- 4:15 Open Classroom with mixed media and Outdoor Activities. Children are free to choose activities, including educational toys, dramatic play, arts and crafts and pre-structured self-correcting learning materials as well as outside play. Activities from the morning program are not repeated here, with the exception of projects that are extended over time and which have multiple steps. (Children are rotated for outside time 5 - 7 children at a time, each child participates daily).
4:15 - 4:45 Match-up time. (see morning program for description)
4:45 - 5:00 Snack time. (see morning program for description)
5:00 - 5:25 End of Day Circle Session
5:30 - 6:00 Dismissal: The children prepare to be picked up by their parents. The school day is completed at 5:30pm. Quiet stories are available for children who are waiting during this final half-hour.