The Life of an Ambleside Student
8:10 am Children are greeted warmly by a parent as they exit their car. They have practiced looking into an adult’s eyes, shaking hands, and saying “Good Morning!” since the beginning of the year. Even the most reticent child has learned this courtesy. Once inside, they again greet the Head of School and then their teacher before entering the classroom.
8:30 am Morning assembly begins with the entire school gathered to sing a hymn and share a quiet moment of prayer together.
9:15 am Sunshine spills into the Kindergarten class where art prints and beautifully illustrated books fill the shelves. Putting away their base ten blocks, the children gather around tables to examine the larvae of Monarch butterflies. Using dry-brush watercolor techniques, they mix their own colors as they paint the newest stage of the transforming insect in their nature journals.
9:35 am As the Kindergartners line up for Music class, they hear the quiet voices of first graders working through early readers. A student pauses to decode a difficult word and the teacher prompts him: “What are the other sounds that ‘o-u’ makes?”
10:00 am In 8th grade, the Greeks are warring with the Persians. The defeat of Leonidas at the battle of Thermopylae turns into the triumph of Themistocles at the Battle of Salamis. Taking out their history copybooks, the students write a summary of the Greeks’ defense of Europe from Asiatic invasion.
10:15 am Students flow back into the second-grade classroom, red-cheeked from the brisk outdoor air. The whiteboard is filled with notes from the week’s work: a spelling rule, a habit the class is practicing, an idea they have discussed. The students have been studying the life and works of Claude Monet. This morning they take out paper and oil pastels to create their own reproductions of one of their favorites, the “Japanese Footbridge.”
11:00 am Down the hall, fifth grade students are enjoying Robin Hood’s antics in Sherwood Forest as he fights Will Scarlet with the quarterstaff and witty repartee.
11:30 am The quiet bustle in the hallway is the fourth grade putting their math journals away. Converting improper fractions to mixed numbers has been a struggle, but building the numbers with fraction tiles and recording their work on slates has helped them visualize each step.
11:45 am The sixth grade students are excited about their monthly L'Abri Lunch today. A simple meal of soup and bread provide a setting for conversation about books and their highs and lows of the week.
12:15 pm Two young boys face off on the playground. A conflict in the midst of fort-building has left both with tear-stained faces. A teacher quickly intervenes to help them sort out their differences. Each boy explains his frustration to the other with coaching from the teacher. Finally understanding, forgiveness, and handshakes are exchanged, before they leave forts behind and run off to join the older boys, in their game of football.
1:45 pm Strains of Handel’s music float out of the sixth grade classroom, where students are sketching in their science journals. They are illustrating the parts of a vascular plant and adding notes in the margins. One at a time, they are allowed to move to the back of the room to check on their plant experiment, comparing herb growth when planted in different soil compositions.
3:10 pm The day draws to a close. Dictation, science, and grammar journals are returned to shelves, and rooms are swept and returned to order. As parents line up for carpool, students record homework in assignment books. One teacher pulls a student into the hallway to offer encouraging words about his effort at class participation today during poetry class. Fifth grade students head out to safety patrol duties and sixth grade students move to help kindergartners pack up and get to their cars safely.