General Information

 

Educational Mission Statement

Through the shared ethics and knowledge of parents and educators, The Circle School cultivates a thriving and compassionate community while individualizing education, fostering a lifelong love of learning, and providing the confidence and leadership skills needed to become impactful citizens of the world.

Guiding Principles

The Circle School is committed to the development of the whole child by cultivating the body, mind, heart, and spirit. Through its curriculum, teaching styles, and programs, our environment:

  • Introduces children to the wisdom of the ages and diverse cultures

  • Encourages children to develop and express their own creativity

  • Guides children in developing open minds

  • Fosters the development of creative leadership skills through exploring novel methods

  • Teaches respectful conflict resolution.

 
The Seven Fundamental Skills 

By Isabeth Bakke Hardy

Imagination: Goal --- to develop an imagination that is rich and well founded on nature and culture.

Observation: Goal --- to develop the ability to observe and explore and put observations into order and to develop an appreciation for patterns and relationships.

Creative Thinking: Goal --- to develop memory, attention, concentration, basic concepts, logic, and the qualities of clarity, broadness, originality, and openness.

Cooperation: Consider cooperation as the science of life. Goal --- to develop the ability to work for the joy of it and do so in harmony with others; to develop a sense of and feeling for the common good; to develop all aspects of communication including language arts skills, listening skills, music, art, etc.

Discernment: Goal --- to develop the ability to interpret findings critically and to develop the ability to see, hear, and sense subtle differences.

Living Ethics: Goal --- to develop a simple code of conduct and use it to live and interact with others.

A Sense of Beauty: Goal – to develop an appreciation for beauty in all forms.

Assessments

The Circle School does not issue grades. Each teacher makes assessments based on observations with input from other teachers received during weekly staff meetings and throughout the year. Each student will be discussed within the faculty meetings several times a year. Along with the teacher’s personal observations, educational benchmarks from Core Knowledge and the Seven Fundamental Skills propounded by the school's founder, Isabeth Hardy, (referenced in the section below) serve as guidance for our assessments.

At least three times a year, parents and teachers meet formally to assess progress. The first of these meetings, the Goal Setting conference, takes place during the first semester and serves as an opportunity for the child’s family and teacher to agree upon expectations and goals.

Throughout the year, student activities will be documented and kept in a portfolio of ongoing classroom work. Parents are encouraged to review student work. Parents are welcome to schedule meetings with teachers throughout the school year to discuss progress in addition to the goal-setting and narrative meetings.

 

General Daily Schedule

7:30 a.m. School Opens

8:20 a.m. School Begins

8:30 a.m. Morning Circle

8:45/9:00 a.m. Main Day: Teachers post detailed schedules in their rooms, including times for:

Academics

Snack & Lunch

Outside play

Specials classes

Teachers conference times.

3:20 Afternoon Circle

3:30 Parent pick-up time

4:00 After-School Program Begins

6:00 School Closes

Morning and Afternoon Circle

The Circle School is named for our morning and afternoon circles when the entire school gathers to hear oral folk stories from around the world. These stories not only provide students an unique opportunity to enjoy and learn tales from around the world, but also build numerous academic skills, such as memory retention, literary analysis and comprehension, public speaking, and others. These stories also serve as a jumping off point for many of the lessons that each class engages in weekly.

 

Each day begins with a child ringing the bells  after the the school community gathers in a Circle. The building of that Circle strengthens the solidity and wholeness of the community. We create a ring of peace and find our quiet.

 

The same story is orally told Monday through Friday. After the story, songs are sung, announcements are made, and, on Fridays, birthdays are celebrated. Finally, Mother Earth is placed in our midst by the child who called the community to the circle with the bells. In unison, we intone our own version of an ancient chant:

There is peace before me

There is peace behind me

There is peace below me

There is peace above me

There is peace all around me and within me.

Morning Circle is itself a lesson. By practicing the discipline of Morning Circle, we promote the process of peace and teach our children to do the same. It is the foundation and wellspring of the integrated curriculum at The Circle School. Stories are physiologically integral to the mental development of each child. Children need stories, rich and deep with shared symbols, to chew on and sharpen their wisdom teeth.

We honor stories coming from the oral tradition and the indigenous cultures that they represent. Rather than being quaint curiosities from forgotten times, the stories are the tried and true building blocks of intelligence. They echo what it means to be human. It is this school’s hope that they also be the building blocks of Peace. We hear a human voice, see human mannerisms in 3-D and real time, and our experience is totally interactive. The listener is a part of the telling, and both the listener and the teller are part of a shared environment.

 

The Story Cycle

The story cycle follows two main patterns year after year. While the patterns remain the same, the particular stories that are told from year to year change and so certain specific emphasis change also.

Pattern #1: We begin each year in the macrocosm of all creation and throughout the fall will gradually make our way down to earth. In the spring, we will continue to narrow our focus through communities and neighborhoods until we arrive at the individual self in May.

Pattern #2: We take a trip around the world. We always begin with North America, focusing especially on Native American myths and legends in September and October. We typically move to real life heroes and heroines of the New World in November, and then on to the various Festivals of Light from many cultures in December. In the spring, we will go from continent to continent about every three or four weeks. 

Whenever we can, we may take a brief detour to highlight a particular holiday (such as Diez y Seis de Septiembre, Halloween, or Valentine’s Day). Sometimes, but not always, this is done during Afternoon Circle, which tends to be less formal than our Morning Circle.


 

The Circle School Song

By Melissa Javors

 

Circle of hands, circle of hearts,

This is how the new day starts.

Circle of earth, circle of sky,

Sun and moon and stars.

 

A tale to tell, a song to sing,

We find our roots and try our wings,

The rainbow dream, the golden rule,

Teaching peace, The Circle School.

 

Circle of time, circle of trust,

A world that grows in each of us.

Circle of family, circle of friends,

A great wide world to mend.

 

A tale to tell, a song to sing,

We find our roots and try our wings,

The rainbow dream, the golden rule,

Teaching peace, The Circle School.