MADISON, CT - On any given winter day, Country School students can be found outside at recess, during club time, and after school. Building snow forts and sledding on the playground, snowshoeing around campus, making maple syrup snow cones in the fresh drifts, and even having English class in 35 degree weather on the patio of the dining hall, The Country School community embraces the outdoors, no matter the weather. In addition to letting off a bit of academic steam, such unstructured time provides children with opportunities to practice problem-solving, communicating, and cooperating. Spring Hollis, mother of three Country School students shares, “My boys look forward to their outdoor time and the projects they undertake on campus with such excitement that we often go back after school and on weekends so they can share their projects with me. Incorporating the outdoors has made learning a tangible, physical experience, one that undeniably solidifies classroom teachings. It's one giant lab!” Beyond simply having fun in the snow with their teachers and peers, Country School students are unwittingly honing 21st Century skills, skills that will make them attractive to secondary schools, colleges, and future employers.
Despite the bomb cyclone that hit the east coast and kept most Connecticut shoreline school districts closed for two days; unsurprisingly, The Country School was open for business after only one day off. “I love that TCS makes its own independent decisions about snow days, rather than follows the broader school systems,” continues Hollis. Armed with snow shovels, parents and children happily and voluntarily chip in to prepare campus. Unless the conditions are too dangerous, being the lone school in session is nothing new for The Country School. Beyond accommodating working parents, maximizing the school year is a priority, even for this independent school that does not tack on missed days in June or shorten vacations.
Families are made aware of the school’s inclement weather policy early in the year, with safety a primary concern when making weather-related decisions. Either in school or at home due to the weather, The Country School’s commitment to academics does not waver. The faculty anticipate the possibility of days school is called off and send work home or post it the night before so that, in an age-appropriate manner, students can spend the day off campus with a balance of relaxation and academic work. This distance-learning capability is easier, of course, for the older students. In the case of two or more consecutive days out of school, the balance of relaxation and academic work shifts noticeably in favor of academic work.
On campus or at home, in the classroom during structured learning time or on the snowy playground at recess, educating children at The Country School is an unceasing enterprise. Borrowing from the unofficial motto of the U.S. Postal Service, neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays The Country School from providing an education that lasts a lifetime.
Founded in 1955, The Country School serves 215 students in PreSchool to Grade 8 on its 23-acre campus in Madison. See our community in action during our Open House on January 28 from 1-3:30 p.m. Learn more at www.thecountryschool.org