A typical day at Austin Village Academy is a pleasant mix of academic learning, social time, creativity and good old-fashioned play! Small-class time and individual learning are balanced with all-school activities and free time, ensuring that the whole child is engaged and that relationships across the ages remain strong and vibrant.
Our doors open at 8:30 a.m. and the first 30 minutes of each day are dedicated to socializing. Connecting with each other in a casual, friendly way allows us all to keep our sense of community strong. Parents may come in to mingle and see what their kids have been up to or ask a question of the teacher, kids may want to check in with a teacher to clarify some point about an assignment or to share some new inspiration, the chickens need to be fed and watered and, of course, some kids just want to hook up with their friends and visit or play!
Morning Circle starts at 9 a.m. The students take turns lighting the candle, a daily practice that helps us to leave the morning hustle and bustle behind and focus our attention on the school community. Once the candle has been lit, we practice a moment of silence—focusing our attention a little more finely. After these focusing practices we launch into some singing: rounds, harmonies, songs from other countries and other times. Morning Circle ends with announcements and then we all split off into our various groups and morning classes.
At 10:30 we all break from classes for a snack and play break—again, outside as long as weather allows.
Classes then resume until 12:00, when we all break for all-school lunch and play break.
At 12:45 we have Reading Buddies: Younger students pair up with older ones, reading and being read to. During Reading Buddies the children spread out through the entire school building—burrowing into beanbag chairs, curling up on a couch, “camping out” under tables—all happily reading with each other.
Afternoon classes run from 1:00 to 3:00 and include such topics as Art, Spanish, Game of Village or other special-interest topics.
All-school cleanup happens every day from 3:00 to 3:15, as we all join together in mixed-age teams to put our world “back together.”
At 3:15 we all join together for Closing Circle, a time to sing a couple of closing songs and reflect on the day. We have a beautiful tradition at AVA of ending our day with Ackowledgements, Apologies and Announcements. This is one of the highlights of our day, listening while children acknowledge each other for various kindnesses or accomplishments or apologize for some unintentional or “heat of the moment” slight. We are always amazed at how gracious they are in these vulnerable moments. Can you imagine a world in which everyone acknowledged each other and made public apologies with ease? What a wonderful world it would be!
At 3:30 our day is over and everyone streams out the door, ready to go on to the next exciting segment of their day.