Frequently Asked Questions
What is Arden Forest's philosophy on homework?
We do not assign homework in kindergarten. Because we meet four days a week, some light homework assignments are given in the elementary levels when appropriate to curricular pacing or group learning needs. Homework is designed to reinforce class topics, and enable children to work independently and creatively.
What is your approach to classroom discipline?
We strive to first and foremost honor the inherent dignity of each child as a human being in our word and deed at Arden Forest School. We utilize Non-Violent Communication (NVC) techniques as much as possible, within developmentally appropriate parameters. We view discipline, rooted in the Latin word “learner” as an opportunity for learning and growth. We seek to understand each individual child’s processing, as well as class group dynamics and needs, and mindfully assist, discuss, redirect, and encourage each child’s cooperation at school. We regularly include parents in behavioral discussions and awareness, so that as a community, we can support the educational process on all levels.
How do you support diversity?
Arden Forest School is committed to supporting inclusion and diversity in the academic, social, and communal makeup of the school's faculty, staff, parent, and student body. We believe that diversity of experience and community strengthens the school as an institution, as well as individual students' world perspectives.
How are parents involved at Arden Forest School?
Parents are a vital part of our school. They help organize get-togethers, festivals, fundraising events, class/field trips, teacher support, etc. We welcome parent volunteers in the classroom and on campus during the school day. Opportunities abound for parents to contribute their unique skills and energy to the school community through volunteering.
Did you know that approximately 60% of all English words derive from Latin, and that 90% of English words with more than 2 syllables have a Latin root!? After learning Latin, learning any other language will be easier, but especially the Romance Languages. Spanish, French, Italian, Portugese, and Romanian are all Romance languages, and these languages derive more than 80% of words from Latin and their grammatical structure is similar to that of Latin. Latin provides many root words for the modern sciences, and is the language of law, politics, logic, and theology.
Having taught Latin and encouraged it in other educational programming, we have also delightfully discovered that children love it! They will make connections all the time to the world around them, and so will their parents!
When Can We Visit?
We are hosting two open houses on February 17 at 9 a.m, and March 4 at 6:00 p.m. Come meet us and learn about AFS and tour the land and barn classrooms!
What are class sizes?
Classes maintain a 1:10 teacher ratio. Depending on the class and the day, there may be between one and three teachers in each class.
How do you measure student progress?
Students are assessed by monitoring progress through portfolios of their work. They are assessed both as individuals and as a part of their class. Beginning in third grade, a mixture of testing, composition, and projects may be assigned and evaluated by the class teacher, who also keeps abreast of student progress through class participation and individual relationships with each child. Parent conferences are held twice a year, and ongoing communication between school and home is promoted. All students will have thorough written progress reports in their portfolios/files throughout the year that parents may use for their records.
We do not believe that standardized testing is an accurate or complete reflection of a student's wisdom, knowledge, mental flexibility, or ability to learn. Because of this, our curriculum does not focus on nor require our students to study standardized test taking preparation. If parents are interested in standardized testing, we are happy to provide resources and information for you to obtain that for your child(ren).
How do you work with students who are gifted, or who might have unique learning needs?
We value all expressions of humanity and we see every child as gifted in his or her own unique way. We focus on the multi-dimensionality of learning styles, emotional processes, and physicality at Arden Forest. Although our methodology is such that all children are taught the same curriculum, a child who is gifted in certain areas may go deeper or do more advanced work within the general classroom setting. A child who needs additional accommodations in class will be given them, as agreed upon by the parents and the director, provided that Arden Forest has the resources to support him/her.
What if my child needs to transfer to public school in the future?
Although we do not follow state standards of academic learning per se’, we do use them as a reference in tracking general learning measures. We are happy to take a close look at your child’s progress in class, personal academic status/abilities and public school requirements to assist in making such a transition in any way we can. Such transitions are usually quite smooth.
Why does Arden Forest operate on a four day week?
Attending four days a week invites families to participate in educating and spending quality time with their children, and places the schools back in a supportive role. By following this growing national trend, our class time not only becomes more valuable, but children are retaining/understanding information MORE than in a five day week because they are less stressed. Studies have also shown that children, teachers, and parents are more generally engaged in the learning process and school community as a result. (1A Across America; Colorado 2011)
Tell Me More About 4H?
4‑H empowers young people with the skills to lead for a lifetime. It’s a research-based experience that includes a mentor, a hands-on project, and a meaningful leadership opportunity. Young people experience 4‑H through school/homeschool and community clubs, in-school and after-school programs and 4‑H camps. Based on their interests and guided by adult mentors, youth develop their own pathway in 4‑H. They select from a broad menu of local 4‑H programs. There are hands-on, learn-by-doing, opportunities for everyone. The 4-H pledge outlines their mission beautifully:
I pledge my HEAD to clearer thinking, my HEART to greater loyalty, my HANDS to larger service, and my HEALTH to better living, for my club, my community, my country, and my world. Head stands for decision making, planning, organizing, problem solving and using knowledge throughout life.
We are thrilled to be offering some of this curricula at Arden Forest School!