CLUSTER ONE INFORMATION
The Cluster One program of the Sonoma Charter School provides settings for children ages 5 to 8 to accommodate a wide range of experiences, interests, and ways of learning. K-1 Classrooms follow the Montessori philosophy that places the student and the center of all learning in the following ways:
• meeting the child where he/she is academically physically and social-emotionally
• individualized and small group instruction/learning in a well-prepared environment
• hands-on materials
• strong focus on community/ classroom/world responsibility and peace education
Montessori philosophy places a strong emphasis on the cultural curriculum for the purposes of skill development and student engagement. Students use individual work plans to guide their choices, keep track of assignments and support independence. A prepared environment is key to a successful Montessori classroom. The K-1 multi-age classroom supports the vast range of abilities and allow for leadership/mentorship roles, even at this young age.
All Classes in the Cluster 1 Program include:
• Mindfulness Practice based on the Mindful Schools program
• Daily 5 for literacy support
• Arts Integration through Focus 5 for classroom management, student collaboration, and accessing curriculum through the arts
• Grade-Level Proficiency Program (GLPP)
Focus upon a particular curriculum theme within the integrated format is determined by various means, including:
• The observation that children are all interested in something.
• The belief that one child’s interest reflects many children’s interests.
• The knowledge that work upon any particular theme captures children’s interest and meets their needs in a variety of ways.
• Multiculturalism in the classroom stresses that understanding other cultures and other languages in the world is crucial to the inter-connectedness of humans; thus, encouraging self-esteem, respect for all life, and the experience of success in life.
• The classroom environment must be a ‘prepared’ one, in order to make the program a success.
• Active participation is essential; learning materials are concrete and relevant to children’s lives. Objects children can manipulate and experiment with such as blocks, cards, games, tapes, books, tools, computers, arts and crafts materials, and scientific equipment, are enticing and readily accessible.
• Multicultural images and materials are integrated throughout the environment.
• Attention is given to an organization that allows for flexibility of whole class instruction, small group instruction, or individual study.
Teachers continuously gauge the progress of each Cluster One student in a variety of ways, including formal and informal assessments, teacher observations and individual student portfolios. Students receive trimester progress reports including one parent-teacher conference. Report cards reflect academic progress, as well as social and emotional skill acquisition.