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Our Curriculum & Mixed-Age Model

There’s nothing “typical” about a day at The Juniper School! Our Montessori-inspired curriculum features multi-age classrooms, active and varied electives, a focus on social-emotional learning, and expertly crafted coursework blended to create an engaging, rigorous learning experience.
A Typical Day...
 
The Welcome HourA Typical Day Curriculum
Families are welcome to be a part of their children’s classrooms for the first hour of the day, helping them settle in, seeing firsthand what their kids are working on, and developing a personal connection with classroom activities.
 
Connection Circle
Much of Juniper’s success is built on our culture of relationships and mutual respect. To nurture this culture, Connection Circle helps students remain engaged and focused using unique tools, like restorative justice practices, teacher involvement, and mindfulness observed and reinforced throughout the day.
 
Montessori Work Periods
Students are encouraged to choose a work that interests them and meets their distinctive learning needs. Juniper utilizes individualized Student Learning Contracts to help guide students in their learning journey, while our low teacher-to-student ratio and small classroom sizes allow for individualized attention.
 
Electives
Juniper has the coolest electives! Every day of the week, students participate in a different activity, including but not limited to art, Stillwater Music classes, yoga, swimming, nutrition education, drought science, Latin, and more!
 
Lunch and Outdoor Recess
With a focus on social learning, Juniper practices “Montessori lunch” with real materials, like plates and cloth napkins, and plenty of time to eat and connect with one another. After lunch, students enjoy one of two daily outdoor recesses, ensuring they have unstructured breaks in the day to stretch and flex their bodies and social skills. This free time features supervised, safe spaces to play and explore on our new 4-acre campus.
 
Inquiry Projects
Juniper students dig deep into topics! Every 5-6 weeks, new concepts and “Habits of the Heart” are explored, allowing students to delve into concepts and create unique projects that represent what they have learned. Elementary poetry slam, anyone?
 
Math and Science
Real-world application takes math and science learning to the next level. Accessible experiments, Montessori math, and 21st-century instruction methods launch kids into the world of STEAM with joy and passion.
 
End of Day
At Juniper, we end the day the way we began: deeply rooted in connection and relationships. A closing circle wraps up the day and brings kids back to mindfulness and appreciation for themselves, their peers, and their school community.
Mixed-Age Model
Purpose of Mixed Age Classrooms for The Juniper School
  • Align with TJS critical model component in our charter
  • Innovative, research-based, best practices for individualized learning and teaching diverse content
  • Decrease transition time
  • Helps address need for growth in a facility of the same size
  • 1 track school model does not support mixed peer groups for wider social, emotional and peer learning
  • Age should not be a limitation to academic access
  • School-wide alignment on mastery of skills
 
Research-Based Benefits of Having a Mixed Age Classroom
  • Less competitive more cooperative
  • A wider range of curricula across 2-grade levels meeting different students’ needs.
  • Students are not stigmatized by others if they need to relearn material
  • Friendships are formed in larger peer groups.
  • Children gain a sense of accomplishment and independence when teaching others or learning a new skill.
  • Students are not pushed through the curriculum but taught when they are ready.
  • Children can learn based on their strengths.
  • Smaller age ranges and skills ranges within classrooms
 
Research-Based Benefits of Looping Teachers
  • Stronger student-teacher relationships
  • Stronger teacher-parent relationships
  • Less time spent on classroom management and expectations (returning students know routines and expectations, modeled for younger students.)
  • Teachers have more time meeting student needs, less time at the beginning of the year assessing and learning about each child.
Our Juniper Head of School Discusses Mixed-Age Model
 
 
 
Montessori Curriculum Articles and Videos:
 
Montessori Primary Guide -- Introduction to Practical Life Article
Practical life Exercises are just that, they are Exercises so the child can learn how to do living activities in a purposeful way.
 

Inquiry-Based Learning:
 
Authentic Relationships:

 

 

Eduoptia Article on Authentic Relationships:
What does this look like in schools?
http://www.edutopia.org/blog/importance-teaching-through-relationships-stacey-goodman
 
 How Children Learn Through Play to Become the 
Critical Thinkers of Tomorrow:
Mindfulness: 
A hot topic right now! A video for kids on clearing your mind: Planting the seed of mindfulness:  
 Student-Inquiry:
Montessori Math: