My children started at New Canaan Country School when they were 3, in what Country school calls the Beginners program. What we came to experience in the Early Childhood division (Beginners – Kindergarten) and at Country School at large was beyond what I could have even imagined for my children or our family.
Every morning my children were greeted warmly first by the division head and then by their teachers. They learned to make eye contact, shake hands and feel comfortable talking with these adults. They entered classrooms curated by their teachers with irresistible hands-on-experiences created with intention to teach them new information and skills. Their lessons were taught with so much engagement and creativity. Nature and the natural world was an important way in to learning both in the classroom and outside on the beautiful 75-acre campus complete with trails, vernal ponds and gardens. Intentional and opportunistic teaching moments provided lessons on how to be a friend, how to apologize, how to be kind.
Every Friday in the Early Childhood building, the head leads something called Gathering. Everyone—teachers, students—sit in a circle in the center under a massive skylight surrounded by the children’s artwork and creations on display and they share--maybe a Kindergarten class is working on fairy tales and has a play to act out or a Beginners class has a poem to recite to the group. Country School kids are such confident public speakers because they started back in Kindergarten sharing every week at Gathering. But most of all, this is where the children feel an expanded sense of community, outside their classroom. They get to know the other children and teachers and they come to feel so known.
My children love school and can’t wait to go every day. They are thriving. We live in New Canaan where the public schools are excellent. It wasn’t a given we would keep the kids at Country School for elementary and beyond. It would absolutely have to be worth it. Country School has been more than worth it for our family. We feel incredibly lucky to have found our way to this school and to be part of such a warm community.