Christine Lipari-Althaus teaches the three-year span of the Younger Group. She "lives the day" with her students, carefully nurturing the group of six through nine-year-olds as they develop into a caring, concerned community of learners.

Academics begin to have a more traditionally structured form in the YG, with a strong basis in problem solving. The children are encouraged to find and use their own strengths as learners to build their skills through a large variety of activities and equipment.

The classroom is bright and busy. Christine encourages movement and talking, because children need to do both to learn. The whole YG works on many things together, like plays, singing, group books, and a sense of group responsibility. They also work in small learning groups, teaching each other, and as individuals, developing their own ideas, work habits and projects.

Christine believes that children in these age ranges "need a wide path for learning.”



Younger Group Newsletter/Blog


YG Newsletter

  • The Gift of Collaboration: Parent/Teacher Conferences

    Every school year we hold three scheduled sessions of Parent/Teacher Conferences. Once in the fall, once in the winter and once again in the spring. These conferences are so valuable to our mission of supporting each child, the entire class, and of course our overall school community. These sets of conferences do not include the impromptu conversations, emails, texts and additional conferences that occur over the weeks between scheduled Parent/Teacher conferences. All of the faculty encourage continued communication since life can speed along for the students and when time-sensitive ideas come up we like to address them when the opportunity arises. 


    In a conference, guardians and educators discuss children's growth, consider areas of challenge, and tell some fantastic stories. Parents love to learn more about social dynamics with friends and classmates, or how their child approaches various areas of the school and curriculum. Teachers often ask about ways certain areas of life are supported or experienced at home and share insights of how school days are going in the class.


    Through these conversations, we can sometimes learn that one of our collaborators - the child, the parent(s) or the teacher(s) have something to problem solve, or learning and growth to celebrate. When we problem solve we bring conversation to light that sometimes is not inherently comfortable but it is important work, and nothing to feel ashamed about. There are also problem solving opportunities that require more than one conversation and we do not shy away from this continued work either. The trusted adults in the community collaborate and work together to support the children of the school, and each other in their roles. 

    We do not spend time discussing report cards, as we do not give report cards or assign letter grades to the children's work. The experience of growth is life! To actively engage in the world/materials/community, to practice, to practice some more - and yes, even fail. "Practice makes progress" is a phrase this teacher has heard (and said!) many, many times over the school days. The art of continuing joyful practice is something we all should strive to master. The continued practice of writing, reading, communicating with others, solving math equations, playing together, giving ourselves grace and supporting the community with kindness- this is what our intentional conversations for Parent/Teacher conferences are about. And the opportunity to collaborate over intentional conversation with teachers and parents is a true gift to the daily work that happens at our school.
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