Life at the Q is filled with opportunities for exploration, questioning and something we like to call Problem-Setting. Problem-Setting gives children the opportunity to develop or “set” their own questions or “problems.” Problem-Setting is a skill we wish to build for all children in the program so that they learn to develop their own questions not only answer the questions posed by others.
The curriculum is structured to give children a chance to explore and learn through hands-on activities, large group and small group discussions, reflection activities through different artistic mediums, reading and writing workshops, independent projects, large group and small group collaboration projects and field trips in the community.
Children participate in classes with professional artists and other professionals as well as with certified teachers. The goal is for children to be challenged in their education and grow their skills while feeling confident in themselves and connected to a greater community.
Each day the children who attend the Q work together with the teachers to develop other necessary qualities for being part of the change we wish to see in the world, including: Self-esteem, empathy, a sense of community, a joy of learning, an understanding that differences are to be honored, a desire to help, an ability to observe, an ability to listen, an ability to slow-down and relax, and a sense of wonder about what is possible.
We structure the day to provide opportunities for children to work in both large and small groups as well as individually.
Highlights of the day include:
Morning Salutation: All elementary children meet in the movement studio to do a short, silent movement sequence that helps everyone welcome the day together and remember how to find the quiet inside of them to depend on as they go through the day. Older students lead Morning Salutation with our teachers and Director.
Homeroom: Students begin and end their day in their homeroom. In the morning, following Morning Salutation all students go to their homeroom and go through the schedule of the day, discuss ideas about time keeping (such as weeks, months, years etc), personal goals for the day and discussions about how to stay focused, help one another, ask for help and being part of the community.
Language Labs: In Kindergarten students participate in both Spanish and Mandarin classes through music, movement and interactive games. For older students they choose a track of either Mandarin or Spanish and have their language class four days per week. These classes are interactive and focus on language learning as well as cultural exploration and understanding.
Exploration Studio: Students work with the Exploration Studio teacher to learn the concepts, procedures and applications of scientific and mathematical thinking and discovery. They explore the world around them and develop the skills necessary at each grade level to ask questions, do research on a question, present their findings and create demonstrations of knowledge.
Storytelling Studio: Students work with the Storytelling Studio teacher to investigate forms of story and literary concepts. Each learning group has a different focus. Kindergarten explores creation myths and stories from around the world with attention given to comprehension and story form skills. Reading and writing is formally introduced in first grade work. There is a depth to both story creation and comprehension that is explored through different mediums and experiences to help students develop a desire to use the different forms of language to express and take in ideas and ponderings.
Community/Social Studies Studio: Students work with the Community Studio teacher to explore our community and the social structures that makeup a community. We use Queens, the most diverse place in the world, as our focus and grow our knowledge of the world from all of the cultures that reside in our great borough. We also explore the dynamics of social behavior-the importance of manners, and where they come from and what they look like in different cultures and in different places in the community. We also go on community trips to visit places and people throughout the city.
Clay Studio: One of the artistic mediums that is used continuously throughout the year is clay. Students learn technique and skills related to making pottery from a professional potter. This hands-on medium also supports fine motor, creative and academic skill development.
Professional Studios: Every Wednesday is professional studios where students have a 5-7 week course in two exciting topics that interest them. They choose the topics they wish to explore from a selection of four classes and then are committed to that class for the 5-7 week period. These classes might include: Theater, cooking, jazz dance, painting, drawing, how motors work, weaving, puppetry, singing, gardening and much more. We work with interesting artists and professionals from different fields to bring students new experiences.
Lunch and Recess: Every day students have half an hour to eat their lunch and then an hour of outdoor recess time. We go outside unless it is severe weather. Students are walked to Rainbow Park, one block from the school and are encouraged to run, jump and climb! If there is inclement weather students run and do indoor games in the indoor movement studio.
Community Field Trips: We plan trips out in the community both locally and in New York City to deepen studies occurring in the studios. Examples of these might include visiting restaurants to order in Spanish or go to The Metropolitan Museum of Art for an exhibit on an area of study or visit the salt marshes on Randall’s Island.