At places like Maple Hill, every day is different, because every learner is different. Some strive to structure their days and participate in organized activities; others enjoy the freedom to “go with the flow” and to immerse themselves in their chosen activity until it no longer hols their interest. In addition, guest speakers, presentations, and field trips will disrupt our schedule, as will current events or curiosities that span across the group and warrant a “drop everything and talk” moment.
Our days will flow like this:
9 am: Arrival and Journaling Learners arrive, settle in, greet friends, and visit while waiting for the day to begin. Children are invited to fill a page of their journal with a drawing, a thought, or to make use of a writing prompt for the day. This is a fun and creative way to wake up our brains!
9:30 am: Morning Meeting The entire community comes together to discuss our plans for the day, decide on personal learning goals, discuss problems, make personal announcements, or share important news from our personal lives. Once a week, the Morning Meeting will be replaced by the Whole Group Meeting. We will end on a high note with a quick and fun team-building game.
10 am – 11 am: Small Group Time Learners will break into smaller groups to work on requested skills, personal projects, or to discuss ideas or questions. Requested classes or classes on topics that staff have seen come up over the past week or so may also be scheduled during this time, and learners from all groups are welcome to sign up and attend.
11 am – 12 pm: Big Group Time The entire group comes together again to work on our project pertaining to our current group theme, which changes either weekly or bi-weekly and is voted on at a group meeting. We will also discuss new ideas, current events, play a game, watch a documentary, put on a play… the sky is the limit! We may also schedule guest speakers or visitors during this time.
12 pm – 1 pm: Unstructured time Group activities can run over into this time slot, or learners can continue with their independent activities.
1 pm – 1:30 pm: Chill Time Quiet time to allow everyone to recharge. Learners are encouraged to read quietly to themselves, to listen to a few chapters of the current novel read by a staff member, or to find another quiet activity.
1:30 pm – 2:30 pm: Hang Out Children are encouraged to play with friends, be outdoors, or to choose an indoor activity.
2:30 pm: Community Management End-of-day tasks are completed with everyone taking an equal responsibility to ensure that our space is clean, tidy, and ready for another day. Chores are assigned on a rotating basis and are decided on at group meetings. Kids prepare for pickup.
3 pm: Dismissal
There are no designated meal times at Maple Hill. We believe that healthy eating habits stem from a child’s freedom to interpret their own body’s signals; as such, they are always welcome to eat whenever they need to. It is expected that kids will not disturb others while doing so and that they will tidy their space when they are done so that it’s ready for the next activity.
All scheduled activities, including group meetings, small and large group sessions, and any classes will be entirely optional for each learner at Maple Hill. Learners will never be goaded or coerced into participation and will always be welcome to choose an alternate activity; however, it is expected that children respect the choices of others to participate in these activities and do not interfere with these choices or prevent them from participating. Being outdoors is always a valid choice at Maple Hill, and children are welcomed and encouraged to spend as much time as they can being outside in fresh air and dirt!