The Caedmon School is a small, warm and welcoming community, in which children are well known by the entire staff, parent volunteers are a regular presence, and frequent events draw families together to participate in the education of their children.
From arrival in the morning, when a staff member gives each child a friendly welcome at the front door, until dismissal, the faculty and staff consistently model the philosophy and the mission of the school, providing the children with essential continuity and security.
Parents are frequently welcomed into their child’s classroom to read a story, do a special project, or just to visit. The school is proud of its extremely active and organized Family Association. Whether they have a lot of time to spare or only a little, parents are all encouraged to participate in the bake sale, book fair, teacher appreciation luncheon, auction, all school picnic in Central Park, or any of the other many exciting events at Caedmon. Everyone is bound to find something to match their interest.
In just over 50 years, Caedmon has established a wonderful array of cherished school traditions, some old and some just beginning. Here is a sampling:
As new families join our community, they are asked to fill out a Community Awareness Questionnaire, the purpose of which is to learn about the cultural, spiritual, and attitudinal perspectives they are bringing to Caedmon. The most immediate outcome of the survey is the map of the world mounted in the lobby, upon which is displayed the names of all our international children within the nations of their family’s origin. Visitors can see at a glance the incredible international diversity that Caedmon enjoys.
Caedmon teachers are experienced and adept at working with international students as they learn a new language and acclimate themselves to a new set of social norms. Aspects of their home cultures are incorporated into the curriculum whenever possible and families are often invited to the classroom to share tales, or work on cultural projects. In these ways, the entire classroom community benefits from the special, worldly perspective offered by our families from abroad.
Caedmon children return to school each fall eagerly anticipating the apple-picking field trip, when the entire elementary program is packed into buses and taken to an orchard upstate. They spend an entire day amid the smells and colors of autumn, filling their bags (and their bellies) to bursting with fresh-picked apples of every variety. For days before and afterward, at home and in the classroom, everything is all about apples.
During the holiday season, the Caedmon community comes together for a celebration of giving that is inspired by the Native American “potlatch” traditions. The potlatch tradition recognizes the act of giving as a source of honor and prestige. The elementary children, their teachers, and other adults in the school draw the name of their “potlatch person”. The weeks before the holidays are spent deciding on the perfect gift for their potlatch person – either something created, or a precious possession that is passed on. When the Potlatch Party finally arrives, it is giving, not receiving, that lights up the children’s faces.
The children at Caedmon celebrate the holidays by honoring many holiday traditions from around the world through song. In addition, each spring the entire Elementary Program prepares for a musical concert that showcases their musical accomplishments from the past year’s study.
To celebrate their upcoming graduation, Upper Level students spend the months of April and May rehearsing for a musical presentation during the final week of June.
With lessons finished for the year, it is time to enjoy some fun in the sun. Elementary children head for a day of sporting events at Asphalt Green. The youngsters in the Early Program find it just as thrilling to share an afternoon all together, picnicking at a nearby park.
Caedmon’s graduation ceremony is a tradition rich with meaning. The event begins with a processional in which children receive a flower before heading down the aisle with the Caedmon School banner. During the ceremony, students will present a graduation project that is a student-designed endeavor. The piece can take on many forms, such as an audio/visual portion, as well as a speech or a song. This is a truly creative process that the children love designing and executing. The Head of School and the Head of the Board of Trustees then presents each student with a diploma.
Finally, Kindergarten Book Buddies share their words of advice and present gifts to the graduates. The students are also welcomed into the Caedmon Alumni Association, and the role of Upper Level is passed on to the next years’ class, as two fourth-grade students carry out the Caedmon banner in the recessional.
Started in 2004, our Book Buddies program provides weekly opportunities for older students to come together with our younger children and enjoy reading together. Research shows that reading to others bolsters a student’s sense of confidence and reading abilities, and fully engages the younger child with imaginative words and pictures. Playing off of the mixed-age components of a Montessori classroom, this program allows the older children to serve as mentors and guides.
Starting in the Third grade, students are paired with an Early Program child and build a lasting relationship through Upper Level. During our graduation ceremony as Upper Level students prepare to depart for their ongoing schools, their Kindergarten Book Buddies provide them with sage and heartwarming advice to take with them as they leave Caedmon.
Book Buddies is a much-loved tradition among all children, and we’ve found that they look forward to their time together with great fondness and excitement.
416 E. 80th Street,
New York, NY 10075