Elementary students participate in enrichment classes each day. These include foreign languages, circus arts, yoga, music, martial arts, and fine arts in the school’s studio. The enrichment program is held in the afternoons and is included in the cost of tuition.
In addition to enrichment, “Going Out” is essential to elementary students learning independence. Many of our outings are free of charge, the students also fundraise to earn money for their outings, while some are paid for directly by the elementary student’s families, generally not exceeding $20 per month per student.
Not only does our weekly art class compliment the curriculum, and what the children are currently studying, but art history is also touched upon. Each project is thoughtfully planned to work within the children’s skill set, while increasing dexterity.
The art class is led by an active artist within the community, who introduces and works with the elements of art using different mediums.
In addition to the weekly fine arts class, the children attend music together classes, rehearse and perform songs at the winter celebration before the holidays, and for the graduation celebration at the end of the school year. Throughout the year songs that correlate with the curriculum are often sung during circle times in the classrooms.
As part of their physical education, the children are learning martial arts one day per week. The program teaches a blend of Ed Parker’s Kenpo Karate and Bruce Lees Jeet Kune Do. This program teaches not only self-defense, but self control, focus, team work, courtesy and respect.
The martial arts class is led by Lena Pacheco. She has been practicing martial arts since the age of 5, learning Kenpo Karate from Middletown Kenpo Karate. Mrs. Lena co-owned the Modern Self-Defense Center in Middletown and Meriden, helping design the kids and adults programs. She holds several martial arts instructor certifications and has worked as a wrestling and Jiu Jitsu coach.
Yoga & Circus Arts
Since 1998 CTMS has incorporated Yoga techniques into the school programs. Teaching calmness and inner peace, while how to move and control your body. Our students take circus arts and yoga once per week as part of the physical education program. Why yoga for children? Ten years ago, that question was most likely asked about martial arts. Now there are classes for children at martial arts studios around every corner. And, like martial arts, yoga develops many wonderful qualities in children.
In addition to the obvious benefits of exercising the physical body, both yoga and martial arts sharpen the child’s ability to focus and give self-confidence and self-discipline. And yoga, practiced regularly, helps children become aware of themselves from the inside out. From this awareness, children can change and grow in new and positive directions.
The weekly yoga and circus classes are led by Jen Taylor from OmFly Circus School. She has been teaching and directing circus arts and yoga for over a decade. Ms. Jen studied aerials with LAVA, and circus with Circus Minimus & Circus Yoga. She has a degree in Philosophy and studied engaged Buddhism with peace activist Thich Nhat Hahn.
In foreign language class children have fun learning French through songs and games! Young children learn culture, basic phrases such as greetings, as well as words for topics like colors, animals, food, and more. The elementary students have opportunities to explore French language and culture through projects, such as cooking and baking, sewing, and making crafts for French holidays.
The French class is led by one of our primary teachers, Bethany Kanfer. Miss Bethany has had a lifelong love of all things French. She began formally studying the language when she was 12, going on to earn a B.A. in French. She is excited to share this passion with CTMS students.
Spanish is shared with our students by Mexican native and primary teacher Laura Salazar. Laura and Bethany teach the same lessons each week which reinforce each other, while teaching the new languages. This program developed at Cambridge focuses on thematic units which build upon each other.
In addition to enrichment, “Going Out” is essential to elementary students learning independence, and offering real-life experiences. On average, the elementary students at CTMS go out once per week. The materials within the classroom can provide the keys to spark interest; but in order to completely explore a point of interest, a child often needs to go outside of the classroom environment. Unlike the traditional school “field trip”, “Going Out” involves a trip designed by the child, or children, to visit the library, a museum, or some expert in the field of study to collect more information on a subject of interest. The Kindergartners are invited to participate on some of the field trips that pertain to their studies as well.
Some trips in the past have included: community service projects like trash cleanup at local parks/beaches and reading to/visiting local seniors, historical societies/monuments, museums, public library, snack shopping, hiking trails, and even out of state trips to Roger Williams’s Park Zoo in Rhode Island, Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts, Heifer Farm’s Global Village overnight program in Massachusetts, and more.
Montessori Model United Nations
The upper elementary students participate in the Montessori Model United Nations. MMUN is an extracurricular activity in which students role play delegates of the United Nations and imitate UN Committees. Montessori Model United Nations has partnered with the United Nations to create a program specifically for Montessori students, giving them hands on experience to learn about reason, justice and morality. The goal is to teach children about the importance of sustaining world peace and how countries do this through the United Nations organization.
The conferences take place in New York City, Chicago, or Rome, Italy. The Children’s Tree has participated in the New York and Rome conferences. The upper elementary works hard to prepare for this life changing experience not only in the classroom, by researching and writing position papers, but also outside of school hours, and fundraising for the trip.
Bushy Hill Nature Center
Bushy Hill Nature Center in Ivoryton offers programs on the wetlands, team building and indigenous studies. Each year they customize a program for The Children’s Tree elementary students based on our current studies. The day ends with dinner made over a campfire, and 2nd year students and older spend the night in the onsite tipi.