Kindergarten and First Grade at Odyssey School support children in bridging the magical playfulness of the preschool years with the increasingly cognitive experience of the elementary school years in a joyful, respectful, and comprehensive way.
Our Integral classroom honors each child’s inherent wholeness, and teaches through all six strands. Each day starts with centering and is followed by time spent on theme-based projects and listening to mythological stories. Our kindergarten teachers create thematic units for Integral Learning: many of our writing, reading, math, play frames, studio, and the arts all incorporate the culture, mythology, and natural science. This holistic model gives students the opportunity learn through play as they build monuments, dance the celestial bodies, write their own newspapers, or track the Hero’s Journey of a sea turtle.
The kindergarten class is supports Odyssey’s school-wide goals of celebrating equity and culture through a wide variety of lenses throughout the course of the entire academic year. Just as we celebrate each student’s unique perspective, skill set, and experience, we do the same for our teachers! Shirley shares facets of French culture and language through daily songs and stories and Sam shares her depth of knowledge and experience as a dancer.
As an independent school, we are able to integrate many different cultures and belief systems and our kindergarten curriculum is deeply rooted in mythology. Myths tell stories about complex heroes who are faced with all types of challenges. Each challenge brings out certain traits, and children learn that real heroic journeys are layered, with ever-deepening qualities. Through engaging in the Hero’s Journey, children learn that deep within them lies the archetype of a hero that operates from noble intention, takes risks, and perseveres. Our younger learners begin to acknowledge and celebrate their own Hero’s Journey as they learn to develop self-discipline, use their personal power appropriately, and set out to meet their personal and academic goals.
Integral education is research-based, holistic, and strengthened by its commitment to exploring many points of view: integrating mind, body, and heart. Children learn that either/or thinking can be limiting when they can choose “and” instead. They learn to think creatively both inside and outside of the box, and are respected for the key role they play, together with their teachers, in shaping the learning process. They learn to understand themselves and others, to communicate peacefully to solve conflicts, and use personal power appropriately in the service of a greater good.