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  • Beth Cuenco

A day at New School Canterbury

Children begin formal school at age of six when they enter Class 1 – the first class in the Lower School. Here they meet their Class Teacher who, ideally, will stay with them for the next five years.


The school day starts at 8:45am. Each child is greeted individually before they enter their classroom where they prepare for the day ahead and share their news with their friends before the class starts at 9:00am.



The first part of the day is spent in ‘Main Lesson’, weaving together physical, rhythmic, musical, practical and artistic activities with oral and written work. Singing, flute playing and drama play an integral part of the Main Lesson in the younger classes. Main lessons are taught in three-week subject blocks around a curriculum topic, such as literacy, numeracy, geography or history.


Morning break is at 11.00am. After a healthy snack the children go outside to play together for half an hour in the garden, surrounded by trees, flowers, and actual mud.



After Morning Break the children have two subject lessons: Maths, Reading, German (taught initially through games, songs and poems), Living Stories (Stories that encourage discussion and understanding of values, virtues and how we can contribute positively to the world in which we live), Drawing, Painting, Handwork, Modelling (with clay or beeswax), or Form Drawing.


At 13:00 the children have their lunch followed by playtime outside until lessons begin again at 14:00.


We aim to balance our day with the more practical and physical lessons in the afternoons. In their Games Lessons children discover the joy of movement through a rich curriculum of children’s games that promote physical agility, social awareness, self-esteem and cooperation.


Children are inspired by and connected to their natural surroundings, so we spend as much time outside as we can. In their Landcare classes the children are busy transforming the site - planting flowers, vegetable patches and fruit trees, digging, weeding, composting, watering and feeding and caring for wildlife.


The school day finishes at 15:30. At the end of the school day the children and teachers shake hands again, to say goodbye, until the morning, when they will take up their conversations and learn together anew.


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