FOUNDATIONAL TOOLS AND PRACTICES

Cottonwood is part of an expanding network of micro-schools re-imagining education.  Our educational model is emergent and adaptive.  We iterate and evolve our tools and practices to meet the needs of the students.

SELF-DIRECTED   Humans are natural learners. When children get to follow their passions, they engage deeply, learning more quickly and thoroughly – covering years of content in weeks at the time when they choose to learn it.

SELF-DIRECTED

Humans are natural learners. When children get to follow their passions, they engage deeply, learning more quickly and thoroughly – covering years of content in weeks at the time when they choose to learn it.

INTENTIONAL CULTURE   At ALCs children feel they are heard, they belong, and they make a difference. As social creatures, we thrive in this kind of vibrant community which builds our confidence, heightens our communication skills, and calls forth our best selves.

INTENTIONAL CULTURE

At ALCs children feel they are heard, they belong, and they make a difference. As social creatures, we thrive in this kind of vibrant community which builds our confidence, heightens our communication skills, and calls forth our best selves.

AGILE MANAGEMENT TOOLS   We use practical and concrete tools to make these lofty-sounding ideals real and reliable. These tools and practices provide visible feedback, effective self-management, clarity of purpose, and easy integration of new patterns as needs change.

AGILE MANAGEMENT TOOLS

We use practical and concrete tools to make these lofty-sounding ideals real and reliable. These tools and practices provide visible feedback, effective self-management, clarity of purpose, and easy integration of new patterns as needs change.


 

Why is Cottonwood ALC unique?

  • SIZE:  Cottonwood creates an intimate community based in trust and communication where learners and facilitators develop meaningful connections.

  • INDEPENDENCE:  Cottonwood fosters independence in each of our learners.  

  • MIXED-AGE:  At Cottonwood, we see the benefits of a mixed-aged learning environment everyday.  As in the rest of life, students connect with each other across ages and some of the most magical experiences result because of the opportunities presented in a mixed-age classroom.  

  • COMMUNITY AS CLASSROOM:  We intentionally located our educational spaces in downtown Helena where our cultural and natural landscapes are as much a part of our classroom as the walls of our physical school.  Cottonwood students can be found interacting with their community everyday and helping to create the environment they believe in.

  • PLAY:  Everything we do at Cottonwood is centered in play.  Play is often the catalyst for deep learning and investigation.  From our youngest learners to our most experienced facilitators, days at Cottonwood are filled with joy because we play.    


Cottonwood ALC does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, national origin, or ethnic origin in administration, admission, or any associated activities.