Learning expands far beyond the desk. We work hard, build confidence, and explore many subjects to spark and foster a lifelong love of learning. Classes engage young minds in and outside the classroom with group activities, project-based learning (an active, inquiry-based approach to education), Innovation Lab, field trips, and outdoor excursions.
Children are seen, known, understood and appreciated by each of their teachers at BCD. Our commitment to keep classes small allows us to forge personal relationships with every family and focus on each child’s individual strengths and challenges. These bonds then extend to create a community of families where parents and guardians are welcome in our school to partner with teachers as we support our students together.
Children are naturally curious and seek to make connections between their own world and what they are learning. BCD takes a unique approach to each day and each lesson to encourage resourcefulness and exploration.
Every child is unique, and so are the ways they learn. In an effort support the wide variety of learning styles within BCD, we established The Learning Center in 2013. This program sets BCD Elementary School in a class of its own with a dedicated faculty whose mission is to help our teachers tailor strategies, differentiate and individualize goals to maximize each child’s academic potential.
BCD is an inclusive, well-rounded environment that invites every child to discover their own excellence—both academically and beyond. We believe that the social and emotional growth of a child is just as important as their scholastic achievements, so we encourage students to learn who they are, be themselves, and feel supported as active, honest members of their communities.
Kindness and respect are essential to creating an environment where students feel safe and empowered to take risks. As such, BCD Elementary School passionately integrates evidence-based Responsive Classroom and Kid Power programs into our curriculum to support character development and enhance every child’s education. From contributing to a positive community and resolving conflicts to effective communication, empathy and problem solving, BCD is home to social and emotional skills at every level.
The BCD Elementary School is a place of discovery, of challenge and support where tradition meets innovation and creativity. Our commitment to small class sizes (average 14-15 with a maximum of 18) ensures that teachers truly know and meet the needs of each student and enhances our challenging yet balanced curriculum. Our excellent faculty prides themselves in being current with research based instructional theory and practice. Our Learning Center staff partners closely with elementary classroom teachers to support the diverse learning styles of our students by using a variety of grouping strategies for teaching math and language arts.
In addition to the core subjects of language arts, mathematics, social studies and science taught by the homeroom teacher, elementary students also receive instruction in technology, art, science lab, library, physical education, music, band, and world language. Students take both French and Spanish from Kindergarten through 2nd grade. In 3rd through 5th grade, students will focus on either Spanish or French as their chosen language. Students are introduced to Latin starting in 4th grade.
Character education is essential in every student’s overall development. Students participate in guided discussions, activities, and role playing exercises that encourage them to treat others kindly. Philanthropy and community service projects connect students to various charitable organizations. Students actively participate in age-appropriate service projects.
Elementary students participate in musical performances, plays and assemblies held throughout the school year. Each student can expect to be on stage performing several times during the year. Each grade takes part in a musical performance where music teachers work with homeroom teachers preparing the events. Parents are always welcome.
Choosing a Kindergarten that is right for your child is an important early step in laying a strong foundation for their education. There are numerous Kindergarten options available for children and parents. Today, more than ever, parents carefully examine their many choices: open enroll or neighborhood, public or private, full day or part day, morning or afternoon, academic or play-based…So what should a parent look for in a Kindergarten program?
BCD’s Kindergarten program stands apart in its breadth of offerings and student support. Students are known and nurtured everyday by a faculty of many including their classroom teachers, their teachers in world language, science, innovation, music, art, physical education, and library, as well as, school counselors, literacy specialists from the BCD Learning Center, the Head of Elementary, and our Head of School. At BCD, every member of our faculty seen in this picture will be involved in the education of your student. Come learn more at our Information Session on Tuesday, January 14th from 6-7pm. Childcare available.
World Language instruction at Boulder Country Day School starts with students as young as 2 1/2-years old in our preschool. Research analyzed by the education support organization, Ertheo, shows that a major benefit of teaching world language to very young students is an increased ability to connect to other cultures and build tolerance (https://www.ertheo.com/blog/en/learning-a-second-language#connect). Both objectives strongly support BCD’s mission. When working with very young students, the focus is on providing exposure to the new language and instilling a curiosity for cultures around the world. Come Kindergarten, instruction begins to include lots of sensory lessons, allowing the children to explore their world and the new language with their sense of smell and taste.
Next week you will be getting your student's report card. What is a good way to talk about the report card with my child? Talking with your child about the report card can be a positive, productive experience. How you react to your child’s report card can impact their motivation, self-esteem and sense of control over their learning. So it’s important to look beyond the grades before you respond. Please keep in mind that this is the first trimester and that grades are based on where a child is relative to end of the year standards. A '2' should not be alarming.
The following points may help:
1. Plan to talk in a quiet place and time.
2. Start with the good news. Talk about your child’s successes first.
3. For disappointing grades, ask questions so you and your child understand how a grade was earned. - How difficult was the work? - Was work completed and turned in? - Was extra help needed? - Would more participation or effort have made a difference?
4. Ask for a parent-teacher-student conference if you need more information.
5. Set realistic goals and make a plan for improvement.
Through an anonymous Diversity, Equity & Inclusivity grant by a BCD parent, Boulder Country Day School and I Have a Dream Foundation of Boulder County(IHAD) have partnered to form a combined First Lego League® (FLL) team. The grant funds transportation and course expenses for participating IHAD students and brings together students, technology, and BCD’s goal of inspiring students to reach their full potential.
Children are acquiring literacy from birth; from dinner table conversations promoting oral language development, to bedtime storytelling demonstrating that meaning can be made from text, to creating shopping lists which help children learn sounds and alphabetic symbols.
Last week, both third grade classes met for math to learn about angles and how to use a protractor. Students worked with a partner to design mazes and write the "coding" for getting through the maze using their knowledge of angles. This will support students as they solve more and more complex puzzles during coding class.
Last Friday, we watched a TEd Talk about an ocean explorer who talked about the power of wonder and why it's so important for adults and children to follow their curiosity and sense of wonder. He has explored the greatest depths of the ocean and has filmed some of the most interesting and fascinating ocean creatures. Our second graders then brainstormed a list of "I wonders" that they have about the world around them, and they worked with their partner to plan how they could pursue that "I wonder" as an adult.
Next week, we will start our first literature circle with Tuck Everlasting. During this unit, the students analyze the elements of narrative text structure. They study character, setting, plot, and conflict. We will also be studying similes, metaphors, and foreshadowing. Students use the different book club “jobs” (connector, summarizer, illustrator, word wizard, scene setter, and director) to help them deepen comprehension. During their book club conversation, the director will lead the conversation, allowing each student to have a voice in the discussion. The goal is that the students naturally discuss the novel while focusing on the jobs they have been assigned. Socially, they will analyze why it is important to be responsible and respectful, and they practice using discussion prompts to listen and build on one another’s ideas during discussion. They also explore an important theme in the novel: would you want to live forever!
As we establish a classroom community that fosters the best learning environment for all of our students, it is vitally important to incorporate our teacher language. It is our most powerful tool and permeates in every aspect of our day. Whether we are welcoming students in the morning, dealing with a conflict or simply trying to engage them in the what’s to come, we are using our words. We know that what they hear and how they interpret our message can impact how they deal with a situation and ultimately learn. Therefore, we are keeping teacher language at the forefront of our minds. We deliberately use teacher language as a tool so that students get the most out of our instruction.
Throughout our day as leaners we think about creating that environment conducive to learning and pay attention to the 3 R’s. Reinforcing what we notice (what students are doing well), reminding students of what is to come or what they will need to remember and redirecting if needed, when students are still confused about expectations. No matter the situation teacher language is a key component to our daily routine!
Over the past couple of days we have worked hard to build our classroom community. In order for everyone to feel safe, welcome, and cared for in our community, we have been working on getting to know one another. First, through morning meetings and closing circles, we have shared some of our interests, talents, where we were born, and what we are excited about to begin to lay down the foundation. Next, we set our hopes and dreams for the school year. We thought about what our dreams would look like when we achieved them and planned our strategies to overcome obstacles that we might encounter. After we shared our hopes and dreams with our classmates we broke into groups to think of some classroom rules that would support one another in achieving those hopes and dreams. We then came together as a class and narrowed down our rules into seven “be” phrases. The final vote chose the rules we have today. I was so proud of their hard work and collaboration to develop rules they established through supporting one another in the pursuit of our hopes and dreams.
During this unit, the students begin the important work of building their reading community. They hear and discuss stories, make text-to-self connections, and make text-to-text connections as they compare two stories in the same genre. They also explore the use of first- and third-person points of view in fiction. They begin Individualized Daily Reading (IDR) and learn how to select books at their independent reading levels, self-monitor their reading, and use a reading log. Socially, they learn the procedures for gathering for a read-aloud, “Turn to Your Partner,” “Think, Pair, Share,” and IDR. As they build the reading community, they practice listening to the thinking of others, sharing their own thinking, and working in a responsible way.
We have learned about parent/teacher language within Responsive Classroom. The article below builds on what we've previously learned about Reinforcing, Reminding, and Redirecting Language. It discusses the importance of "naming positive identities" in helping children see their potential as learners and how "naming positive identities" motivates them to fulfill their potential. As state in the attached Responsive Classroom article, “Strong envisioning statements are ones that engage students by speaking to issues they care about, with ideas and words that matter to them.”
The 3rd grade classes donated encouragement and joy to the hospitalized children served by There With Care. Students donated new plush toys, then wrote up a super power they invented for it, and completed the package with handmade superhero mask and capes. 3rd grade…You are true superheros!!!
BCD fifth grade students, with the help of the residents of Balfour Senior Living, filled 40 Easy Meal Care Bags for There with Care. The bags will go to families of critically ill children experiencing extended hospital stays so families are able to remain bedside. After their work, the students and the seniors relaxed and had some time to get to know each other. One resident even coaxed some of the students into singing for her. She loved it!
This week we will wrap up our discussion of "Teacher Language" with an article revisiting the three types of language that we can use with our children: Reinforcing, Reminding, and Redirecting. As we've noticed, our language, both as teachers and as parents, is one of our most powerful tools in creating a positive and constructive environment. Responsive Classroom teaches that there are three main types of language, and there is an appropriate time and place to use each, although we should aim to use Reinforcing language when possible while communicating with our children throughout the day. In this article, you will find wonderful examples of common phrases or discussions that we have with our children on a daily basis coupled with an RC variation that will send a more clear, concise, and overall positive message. You will also find several key ideas to keep in mind when using these three types of language when communicating with your children that will lead to a calmer, more positive experience on both sides:
Goals when using Reinforcing Language:
"Name concrete and specific behaviors."
"De-emphasize your personal approval."
"Avoid holding one student up as an example for others."