THE CPE WAY Enter a room at project time and experience every child engaged in productive activity. Projects evolve over time to allow children to explore, in depth, an area of their own interest. Work is a natural, organic process that allows people to know themselves and those with whom they work and live. The way children work with materials (blocks, sand, paint, etc.) provides information that is addressed in the core curriculum. Responsibility for choices and materials are metaphors for the student as a learner.
Traditions play an important part in the building of community life at CPE1. Fall Festival, Festival of Lights, Concerts, Book Fairs, Family and Weekly Sings and more have children, staff and families dancing, singing, laughing and keeping the community alive. Classrooms are print-rich and stocked with age appropriate materials, full libraries, computers, math games and other resources to support learning. Physical activity is a fundamental part of the CPE day. Throughout the winter all children ice skate at Lasker Rink. Daily recesses, walks through Central Park and weekly movement classes keep our children moving. The CPE1 halls are filled with the aromas of cooking – a central part of the curriculum that combines reading, math, science and nutrition in one yummy activity.
PHILOSOPHY AND MISSION Founded in 1974 by a group of educators who believed in the importance of ‘learning by doing,’ CPE1 is a Pre-K through 5th grade public school in New York’s East Harlem. For over three decades CPE1 has been a leader in progressive elementary education. The CPE1 philosophy and mission have been to provide for a school experience that emphasizes the use of integrated curriculum as well as curriculum that emerges from a child’s particular interests and passions, extensive opportunities in the visual and performing arts, parent participation, cross-age groupings and intensive, ongoing exploration of educational practice. We address all aspects of learning – social, physical, intellectual and aesthetic as children engage with a variety of materials. The teacher, child and family collaborate to understand how the child is making sense of the world and how to nourish the child’s development. The student population of 200 students represents a wide spectrum of economic, ethnic, intellectual, physical, social and emotional diversity. CPE1 continues to be an internationally recognized model school where individualized education grows out of the staff and students’ interests. Educators from all over the world come to New York to see CPE1. Major educational institutions (i.e., Bank Street, Sarah Lawrence, Teachers College), send their students to learn about our pedagogy and philosophy.
ARTISTIC COLLABORATION The arts program at CPE1 is designed to engage every student in required classes as well as offering opportunities for children to enhance their personal interest in the arts. Students participate in choruses, drum and guitar workshops and the recorder ensemble. CPE1 and the New Amsterdam Boys Choir collaborate to provide an opportunity for boys to sing in a traditional choir. Some children study violin with the award-winning program, Opus 118. Students attend a variety of live music events including an annual trip to the Metropolitan Opera. All students participate in theatre and movement classes where they develop skills that lead to performances such as Poetry Jams, school-wide concerts and original productions. Classes attend professional theatre events and workshops with visiting artists. CPE has the gift of an incredible Fulbright Scholar who travels the world bringing stories back to our children. Our students work with her creating narratives of their lives as well as incorporating academic studies into performance and other creative endeavors. The Art Studio is bursting with drawings, paintings, sculptures and collages created under the tutelage of a teacher who encourages children to experience varied media.
PARENT INVOLVEMENT Parents and other family members are key to making the CPE1 community vibrant. We have an active Parents’ Association that provides support for CPE1 events such as Fall Festival, Festival of Lights, Concerts and Fairs. The PA raises funds for these and other CPE traditions as well as for teacher support and curriculum enhancement. Children need to be in the company of adults to imagine how they can be creative and productive in the community. Parents are welcome in the school – to assist in classrooms, attend field trips or help with office needs. Parents are viewed as an integral part of the school and work closely with the staff. Communication between home and school is plentiful. Parents must attend family conferences with their children.
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