There is a special cluster of three cedar trees on the North class playground, with just enough room for a child to stand inside and call to anyone within earshot, “Who wants ice cream?” We take for granted that children and teachers will offer imaginary money for imaginary ice cream year after year. Such is the culture of a mixed age classroom, where returning children pass on traditions, habits, and jokes as a rite of passage. The younger child, returning for his second year, becomes the one looked up to, the keeper of knowledge: “I can show you how to wash your hands, where to get more markers, or how to make a tower out of unit blocks.”
Located in the original house, the North class offers a picture-window view of Cold Spring Street and East Rock Park beyond. Situated next to the kitchen, we are often blessed with the aroma of that day’s lunch or snack long before it is meal time. With its two spacious rooms, fire place mantels displaying framed artwork by the children, and various nooks and crannies, all of us living and learning together in the North class have a true feeling of home.