Wake up! - It’s a bright new day!  Sienna is a first-grade student at The Greater Dayton School (GDS), and she gets ready for the bus to pick her up.


Bus Pickup - Sienna gets on the bus.  She receives a warm greeting from Thomas, the bus driver who is also the custodian at GDS.  (At GDS bus drivers are custodians, so they get to know the kids at school and the families when they drop kids off.)



Arrive at GDS - It’s 8am and time for school to begin.  Sienna gets off the bus and receives a warm welcome from teachers, the principal, staff, and her friends as she enters the school building.



Breakfast - Sienna enters the class and students are beginning to serve breakfast. The school chef prepared a delicious breakfast of warm oatmeal with fresh berries.  At GDS, nutrition is a priority, and our school chef goes the extra-mile making healthy, non-processed food for GDS students, who help serve and clean up family-style meals

gds breakfast bar


Morning Meeting - Sienna finishes her breakfast and sits down in the circle area for morning meeting.

Sienna’s classroom has two teachers and 20 students in grades Kindergarten through second grade.

At GDS, we believe in mixed-aged classrooms so older students can help teach the younger kids.

Morning meeting time is for building relationships, checking in with students and classmates, and deepening our bond as a school family.


8:45-10:15 am

Foundations Learning - Foundations block is time for self-paced learning and individualized instruction in reading, writing, and math.  Sienna writes her “playlist” for the morning.  She works at her own pace, and her teacher meets with her one-on-one or in small groups for individualized lessons and check-ins.

Foundations learning

10:00 am

Wellness Health Visit - Sienna takes a short break from Foundations class to visit the doctor in the wellness center attached to the school.

A Dayton Children’s pediatrician does Sienna’s annual checkup.  She gets immunizations, health screenings, and a physical before returning to class.

GDS dental clinic photo

10:15-10:45 am

Morning Fitness - Sienna and her classmates take a break from Foundations for morning fitness.  Kids get to choose from a variety of fitness activities to raise their heart rate and build life-long healthy exercise habits!


10:45am -12:15pm

Foundations Learning - Sienna returns to class to finish morning Foundations.  She reads a book - that she has selected - and completes her math lesson on a touch-screen computer.  Then her teacher meets with her again for an individualized lesson in math.

12:15-12:45 pm

Lunch - Sienna sits at a round table for a family-style lunch, along with four other kids and her teacher, Tamesha.

Tamesha helps the students set the table and serve the food to one another.  There’s no traditional “cafeteria” or “lunch line” at GDS because kids help prepare and serve the meals to one another.  Plus, students eat with their teachers, which Sienna thinks is really cool! It’s a great time for the kids to talk to their teachers about the day.


12:45-1:00 pm

Teeth Brushing - Sienna knows the importance of brushing her teeth and gums.  The school dentist taught her class how to brush well, and they do it every day after lunch time.


1:00-2:00 pm

Enrichment Classes - Sienna and her classmates get to pick their own enrichment classes.  Sienna picked music because she loves to dance and sing.  Her friend picked technology because he’s into making robots.

Kids get to choose one enrichment class per trimester - music, art or technology.

2:00-2:30 pm

Recess - Sienna and her classmates love recess at GDS because of the state-of-the-art playground.  There is a turf track/field, ropes course, basketball court, and much more.  Kids get play-time to just be kids – go outdoors and play alongside their classmates and teachers.

GDS recess picture

2:30-3:30 pm

Project-Based Learning - Every afternoon, kids at GDS work on projects in a selected focus areas:  Communications, technology, science, or design.  Sienna picked design!  She’s using a computer to build a 3-D Rubik's Cube game.  Once she’s done, she will print it on the school 3-D printer.


3:30-4:15 pm

Sports & Clubs - In the beginning of the year, Sienna got to pick which sport or club.  She chose cheerleading.

Tamesha is the cheerleading coach, and she starts with a warm-up before the kids learn the new cheer and moves.

4:15-4:30 pm

Afternoon Meeting - Sienna and her classmates return to their classroom for the day’s closing meeting.  The kids reflect on the day, share what they learned, and celebrate their achievements together.


4:30-4:50 pm

School chores - At GDS, kids are responsible for cleaning the school.  These assignments teach them ownership for their learning environment.  Kids wipe down desks, sweep classrooms and hallways, and organize the classroom materials before they plop on their backpacks to head home.

4:50-5:30 pm

Dismissal & Ride Home - Sienna packs up her things and grabs a to-go dinner bag, prepared by the school chef.  She is once again greeted by Thomas, the school bus driver/custodian.  She nestles into her seat for the ride home.