C&C IN TIMES SQUARE: Thursday, May 23, 2013

Last Thursday, May 23, C&C’s name was in lights...the lights of the Reuters sign at 43rd Street and Seventh Avenue! 

At random intervals from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. the crowds of Times Square were treated to a slide show of images that represent the key elements that make an independent school education such a great choice for nearly 80,000 students statewide: Diverse, Global, Artistic, Athletic, Academic, Joyous, Community Service, Rigorous, Mathematic, Musical, Scientific, Specialized, Supportive, Theatrical, Unique.

We are delighted to have taken part in this effort by NYSAIS to educate the public to the value and importance of an independent school education. Join us in giving a hearty Hurrah! to NYSAIS and Kevin Ramsey, the Director of Communication at Trinity School, for putting together a wonderful celebration of the work we all support.
You might be interested to know that
   • 370,000 pedestrians enter Times Square, while another 115,000 drivers/passengers pass through by car and bus each day.
   • On the busiest days Times Square sees pedestrian counts of over 450,000 people.
   • There are 170,000 employees in Times Square – one in four Midtown office employees work in this district.

Above: At City and Country School, diversity is a positive aspect of our lives and an essential aspect of education. We recognize and respect the fact that diversity exists in the languages we speak, the colors of our skin, our genders, ages, and sexual orientations, the traditions we observe, the configurations of our families, the financial and educational resources in our families and the special needs we may have. We believe that our separate heritages, beliefs, and choices of expression help to define us as individuals and that our commitment to learning about one another and the larger world unites us as a community. Differences of all kinds are acknowledged and explored with respect.

Above: Beginning in the middle years, our social studies-based program focuses on one period of history for an entire school year. We firmly believe that this in-depth approach to learning helps children develop a multifaceted understanding of history. Social studies encompasses geography, archeology, sociology, philosophy, economics, religion, politics, and art in an attempt to understand what people believed and how they conducted their lives. Investigation into these areas is skillfully guided by the teachers but based on the interests of the children themselves, borne from their questions and pursuant research.

Throughout the Middle and Upper School years, past cultures are thoroughly explored through the eyes of Native American Indians, American immigrants and pioneers, Ancient Greeks, and those living during the Medieval and Renaissance periods. Trips to historic sites and museums, first-hand accounts such as journals, diaries and newspapers, plus literature from and about the period being studied provide rich source materials for research.

We believe art is a fundamental and natural part of the human experience, that all children have a natural curiosity and instinct for creative expression, and that art is an experience to be lived and shared. The children at City and Country "make art" rather than "do projects," and the process of using art materials is the focus of the art program.

Our approach to sports reflects our educational philosophy—we strive to emphasize the team-oriented aspects of sports, to set goals that are outside of winning and losing, to approach practice as an opportunity to play and learn the sport in the context of the game (rather than as simply a series of technical drills), to emphasize the tactical elements of game play, and to support an organic development of the individual’s skills.

And, of course, there is Yard!

At City and Country, we are dedicated to encouraging the kind of real learning and thinking that cannot be dictated, but will develop naturally with a carefully planned environment and teachers who support and challenge their students. Our students master the "3 R's," as well as the less-measurable but equally important skills of critical thinking and problem solving, because they have something "real to think about." We create a setting in which meaningful intellectual and social challenges arise naturally - ones that children want and do learn to solve because the issues are real and important to them. In the Lower School, blocks become a catalyst for learning. In the Middle and Upper School, the Jobs Program serves as a fulcrum.

Talk to any student (teacher, parent, and staff member!) to get a idea of the joy that is part of our daily activities and lessons here at C&C.

At C&C we encourage students to build their own playground. When you were a child, did you ever find the box a toy came in more interesting than the toy itself? Most toys are designed to have one function, whereas the box offers limitless possibilities. We think this same principal applies to outdoor spaces. When Lower School children go to play in their yard, they create an outdoor recreational environment the same way they create their indoor workspaces. Using open-ended materials, physical strength, imagination, and collaboration, they build the equipment that they play on every day...and every day the results are different.

With the PA and Community Outreach at the helm, C&C organized an immediate and tremendous response to Hurricane Sandy that supplied labor, home goods, toys, food and even funds to the residents of hard hit areas such as Broad Channel, Queens. With the help of a local (our own Kenny!) to navigate the streets, the Community Outreach co-heads and Principal Kate Turley went door to door to distribute more than $8,000 in gift cards to extremely grateful families in Broad Channel on Saturday, May 11.

The concept of an integrated program is at the heart of progressive education in general and of City and Country in particular. In-depth explorations of topics occur in a carefully designed, age-appropriate sequence and serve as a jumping-off point for virtually all other subjects during the school year.

We believe that in every area of study, children learn best in context. The City and Country School mathematics program is designed to provide that context. The Lower School program offers many possibilities for contextual learning. When 2s and 3s are learning about comparisons, a teacher at the water table might say, “Your bowl was full. Now it’s empty. Which other bowls are full?” Young children are also taught to pour a half of a cup of juice for snack; milk helpers need to recognize that one milk serves two children. Thus the City and Country math program teaches concepts in context, beginning at the earliest ages.

I spy...C&C musicians in Times Square!

Beginning in the 2s, children in the Lower School sing songs daily with their Group Teacher. These songs are selected from a variety of folk and world music traditions to help young children develop beat competency, pitch-matching and the basic comparatives of high-low, loud-soft, fast-slow, as well as to simply enjoy singing together. In the 6s through the 13s, children participate in twice-weekly classes with the Music Teacher. Children develop music literacy skills through the practice of folksongs, art music, and singing games. Songs include traditional and contemporary favorites, as well as historical music related to the social studies programs. City and Country has a singing tradition and community songs are shared in our annual all-school assemblies. In addition, children at all ages enjoy the use of musical instruments, from small percussion to larger mallet instruments.

The science program at City and Country has four central goals: the improvement of general thinking skills, practice in methods of scientific inquiry, the teaching of specific science-related information, and the coordination of the science program with the other curriculum segments, especially social studies and jobs.

See our school's name on the top left of the left panel! Social studies, the core of the curriculum, is concretely expressed by children through the use of blocks in the Lower School; the jobs help to serve this function in the Middle and Upper School. Math, language arts, science and the arts are integrated with these studies as the teachers coordinate among their disciplines.

The term "social studies" is broadly interpreted at C&C to incorporate the study of one's world - the interconnections among people, institutions and society at large. This study is carried out at two levels. On a concrete level, the children, at all ages, are asked to actively study the relationships and responsibility between the group and the individual through whole-group participation in blocks and jobs.

Simultaneously, they study, on a more conceptual level, the world outside of C&C, how it works, and its larger societal connections. The young children study their family, school, neighborhood and the city around them. Older children study the history of a certain time and place for an entire year. The children are continually asked to reflect upon and analyze the lessons to be drawn from comparing the two "social studies."

Instead of “class,” we refer to the children at each age as a “group.” “Group” suggests the spirit of community and working together that is intrinsic to City and Country. The nature of our program—the group work, the jobs, the shared materials, the cooperative learning, decision making and problem-solving—provides children with opportunities to experience and understand how to live and work together with care, fairness and respect.

Rhythms is a unique movement program developed at City and County in the 1920s. In Rhythms class, the children run, leap, and skip to live piano accompaniment, portraying through motion the new worlds they are exploring. Guided by the Rhythms Teacher and carefully chosen music, the children move with spontaneity and freedom, with fantastic invention and skill. They come to understand their own environment and to recognize their own internal rhythms. The program develops movement and coordination skills and enhances harmony of mind, body, and spirit.

Also: the Plays!

Job: The Printing Press

The printing press is perhaps the most exciting aspect of the 11s’ curriculum. The 11s are in charge of operating two Chandler Price Treadle Presses, which were made in the 1800s. The 11s print all of the standard stationery used at the school: Library Cards, Attendance Cards, Afterschool Slips, Late Passes, and Trip Slips. In addition to producing these items, students are responsible for the business end of printing, including serving the customers, setting prices, and balancing the budget. The job requires that the students learn to operate the presses safely and efficiently.

Students work on two large group projects: the holiday card sale and the Literary Magazine. Their work is packaged and sold to the students and parents of the City and Country community. The profits are used to replenish the printing supplies.

The history of printing, from China’s innovations to that of Johannes Gutenberg, is included as an integral part of our study. Students learn that the leap from transcription by hand to printed copies facilitated the dissemination of ideas throughout the world.

Children are natural-born learners. They are relentless scientists, performing experiments of trial and error everywhere they go. By the time they attend school, they have already figured out how to walk and talk and communicate their needs to their parents and caregivers. We believe an educator’s greatest challenge isn’t to teach children, but rather to create an environment that keeps their inherent curiosity intact. The C&C classroom serves as an ideal place for children to explore, experiment, fail, learn and grow, both as individuals and as a group.

Join us in giving a hearty "Hurrah!" to NYSAIS and Kevin Ramsey, the Director of Communication at Trinity School, for putting together a wonderful celebration of the work we all support.

City and Country School

146 W 13th Street New York, NY 10011
Phone: 212.242.7802