Middle School

A Middle School

The plans to expand our Middle School are in full swing. While we have had a middle school enrichment program for years, with the 2022-2023 school year, we have begun our three-year plan for building and integrating a robust daily middle school. This year we added 6th grade. Next, we add 7th and 8th in the following two school years, respectively.

*CGS Middle School classroom

Ms. Knapp is developing our middle school curriculum that honors students’ whole experience of their expanding world and finding their place in it. Every aspect of learning is designed to stretch students to explore a topic through several modalities, thereby increasing the depth of learning rather than just a surface approach or memorizing. This multi-faceted approach also helps students learn about themselves and their own learning styles.

Our middle school students focus their studies through the Main Lesson. Main Lessons are taught in blocks based on one topic and usually last three to five weeks, for two hours a day. Block scheduling allows teachers and students to focus on a particular academic area intensively. Material is presented in various styles, allowing for time to examine connections to other disciplines, and incorporate the arts. Each day, in addition to the Main Lesson, students have classes taught by specialized subject teachers culminating in a fully-rounded education that develops the whole child.

In addition to strong academics, City Garden's Middle School curriculum is designed to provide the skills our students will need to make their way in our increasingly interconnected world: the ability to adapt to unfamiliar situations, to find answers when they are not readily apparent, and to become independent learners and flexible problem solvers who can think critically, collaborate effectively, manage their time, and live ethically.

Our students spend a large amount of time outdoors, seeing, feeling, smelling... experiencing a world of wonder. We focus on integrating real experiences with academic ideas to develop a deep understanding of those ideas in a practical way.

Nicole Knapp-Webber

Head Middle School Teacher

Born and raised in Florida, Nicole spent ample time outdoors all year round. She graduated from Furman University in South Carolina with a double major in Biology and English and earned her Masters of Arts in Teaching from Columbia College. She has a Missouri Teaching Certificate in Middle School Science. When her two daughters were little, Nicole found Waldorf education and steered her career path toward it. She helped establish City Garden School in 2013 with a group of parents who also wanted Waldorf education for their grade school children. In City Garden's first 5 years, she taught grades 1, 2, and 3 and also served as the Director. She has attended numerous Waldorf trainings and workshops. In 2018, she left Columbia and her family moved to Hawaii, where she taught grades 1 and 2 at the Honolulu Waldorf School and served as the Grades Faculty Chair. Nicole taught the first year of our middle school enrichment program in 2020-2021 and helped as a teacher mentor. In the 2022-23 school year, she will teach combined 5th and 6th grade class.

Nicole loves the Waldorf curriculum for the way it teaches students to think creatively, expand their capacities and skills, build their social and emotional selves, and foster responsibility for others and the world. She loves that each lesson is meaningful and connects to an overall theme for the year. She also loves the outdoors and has been bringing children outside for over 18 years, seeing firsthand the joy, love, wisdom, and peace it brings to her students. When she's not teaching, Nicole likes to spend time with her family. She enjoys hiking, camping, reading, and swimming.

Dr. Rebecca Bruton

Middle School Math Teacher

Rebecca grew up in mid-Missouri and attended the University of Missouri where she earned a B.A. in mathematics education and a M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction. She taught high school math for four years before returning to MU. During her time at the University, Rebecca earned a Ph. D in mathematics education, taught mathematics methods courses to future teachers, worked on research focused on mathematics teacher knowledge, and supervised teaching interns. Rebecca holds a Missouri Teaching Certificate in middle and high school mathematics.

Rebecca values problems-based and place-based learning that allows for students to make connections with mathematics and offers applications to the world around them. She encourages student collaboration and discussion to help build a deeper understanding of mathematics. Rebecca is excited to join City Garden School as she believes in education that supports the individual student and meets the needs of the whole person. She hopes to foster a love of learning and nurture and develop knowledgeable stewards of our earth.

Rebecca loves spending time with her husband, Jake, and their children and pets. As a family they enjoy traveling and experiencing nature through camping. Rebecca enjoys hiking, sewing, card games, paddle-boarding, tending to her yard and learning about plants and birds.

Slow Tech

Preparing students to engage with and impact the world around them is one of our primary goals. With this in mind, preparing our students for responsible, healthy technology engagement is a critical curriculum component in order to prepare students to navigate the world.

We nurture critical thinking, creativity, and adaptability in our students. We believe the foundation for these capacities is best laid in an early childhood and grades 1-5 curriculum, free of technology in our classrooms. Instead, we focus on honing the students’ skills with pencil and paper.

Because we understand and believe technology and media are prevalent and important forces in the world today, we introduce our Cyber Civics program in 6th grade. Students begin working with technology as a tool while learning to question and navigate ethical, responsible technology use and media engagement.