The Acton Barn Difference
There are many reasons we love the Acton Barn....
Our mixed age classrooms and our developmental approach to planning curriculum allow us to address individual needs while encouraging children to make their own choices for play and learning. We encourage creative thinking and problem solving through open ended questions and strive to recognize and celebrate the unique styles of children as learners and citizens of the world. We work to build social skills and to encourage children to celebrate and support one another as they do so. The nature of the cooperative model encourages families to participate in the educational process and to connect with and support other families as well. The sense of community and camaraderie between our teachers, families and children is contagious and fuels excitement for learning and growing together.
Our Program Features
Low Teacher Child Ratios
Our unique shared classroom space is ideal for the team teaching approach that our teachers use in planning and implementing curriculum and helps us to keep teacher child ratios low. Because classes often share the space children are able to connect with teachers from different classes, and primary classroom teachers are able to work one on one or in small groups to individualize and facilitate learning.
Mixed Age Classrooms
Our minimal restrictions on placement by age (the two day morning class is designed for children who will not turn four before September 1st and the 3 and 4 day morning classes are for children 3 and older) allow children to interact with and learn from children who may be both older and younger than they are. We recognize that children grow and develop at different rates at different times. Acknowledging the many diverse ways that children in various stages of development may approach activities we work to tailor opportunities for learning accordingly, offering open ended experiences and teachers who help to appropriately scaffold learning.
Gentle Start and Home Visits
We work thoughtfully to make a child’s transition to school at the Barn a positive experience. All children receive a home visit from a classroom teacher before starting school each year. The home visit gives each child a chance to get to know or reconnect with their primary teacher in the comfortable, secure setting of their own home.
To further facilitate a gentle start we offer a series of events to help our students and families familiarize themselves with our school, teachers and community. Small group get togethers of class members and their caregivers are often hosted at a local playground or a members home, and another gathering will be held at the school hosted by the teachers usually the week before classes begin. Additionally, during the first week of school the hours are abbreviated to help ease children into their school routine. On the first day of school we request that all students bring a caregiver with them to stay the entire time.
These routines help children to feel secure as they accustom themselves to the routine and expectations of school.
Each child creates a custom made journal each year they are enrolled. During the school year these journals are housed in binders in our custom built journal cabinet. Children are able to access them throughout the day to review their work and they do so with pride. We strive to create a chapter a month and chronicle different curriculum units and milestones. Chapters include a family chapter created by the child and their family at the beginning of the year, documentation of the home visit, graphs, songs, artwork and personal letters from teachers. Children dictate words about their learning, tell stories and practice writing their name. At the end of the school year children work with their teacher to remove their work from the binder and bind it into a book to take home on the last day complete with photographs and mementos of the school year. Each journal is as unique as the child who creates it and teachers treasure the time spent working one on one with students documenting their growth and ideas.
Please get in touch with any questions. We’re always happy to help.