Welcome to the Forest Room

Multi-age Kindergarten – to honor the adventurers, explorers, and observers found in this age group.  The intention is to establish roots and support their growing understanding of their world and their place in it.

Our kindergarten teachers focus on a positive, encouraging introduction to an academic setting while recognizing the power of play. We believe that much of a child's learning is constructed through play as they then have authentic experiences with leadership, collaboration and critical thinking. Through child-led, teacher directed experiences, and a rich literacy component, kindergarten students are incorporating social skills, language development, reading and writing skills, science and social studies discoveries, and developing a love for math.
Morning Meeting
This is our first whole group gathering of the day. We sing, dance, discuss the day, and read our class promise. We might have a book to share or a game to play. This first gathering helps to set the tone of the day and gives us a chance to connect as a community before the day gets into full swing.

Snack Time and Lunch
Both of these experiences offer opportunities for connection, chatting and making plans. The children quickly learn how to serve themselves the snacks they bring from home and to tidy up when they are done.  Lunch time gives us a chance to connect with each other and reflect on our day.

Wiggle Time and Recess
Young children need to engage their large muscles and really move their bodies. We often share recess with the Monarch Room. This gives us a chance for active play and to spend time with friends in other rooms.  We are outside as much as we can be all year long.

Number Corner
Number Corner is a daily math meeting that puts students in charge of calendar work and data collection. This is used in conjunction with other math instruction but is always a favorite time of day for students to chart findings and solve problems and patterns.

Shelf Time
Shelf time is an important part of the work students engage in. Studying in thematic units allows students to explore materials and games that are related to subjects and to find their own interests and creativity along the way. Balancing structured academic time with time to explore the classroom materials creates the environment of learning that makes the Forest Room tick!

Latest Events in Monarch


Febuary Monarch News

February 2, 2020 3:00 PM

February will be a busy month.


Monarch January News

January 2, 2020 5:00 PM

The year ended with such joy! I'm excited to be back in class.


Monarch News

December 4, 2019 12:04 PM

The Monarch children are very excited about all things December!

Meet the teachers

Natalie McClelland Lead Teacher

Lyric Walker

Natalie McClelland
Lead Teacher – Forest Room

B.S. Education Services - West Virginia Wesleyan College  Master of Science in Counseling - Marshall University Licensed Professional Counselor

At GCS, we pair the unbridled enthusiasm and boundless curiosity of our youngest elementary students with a rich academic program and a teacher who knows, nurtures and guides each individual child.

Every job Natalie has held has been child focused. Natalie's extensive professional background in child development, counseling and education has shaped and informed her philosophy that young students are ready, eager, and capable of understanding their world.  She recognizes their drive to learn and knows how to support your children in their desire to be creative, kind and respectful. The model of combining academic rigor with play and nurturing the best in each kindergarten aged child is one Natalie has seen work over and over again.

Natalie's students know her as a kind, fun teacher who laughs throughout the day and they thrive on her intentional interactions with each child. She is an experienced, nurturing teacher who believes that children are naturally curious, innovative, and ready to take responsibility for much in their education.  She encourages learning by doing, promotes cooperation rather than competition, and has high expectations for the pursuit of academic, social and educat1onal growth. Natalie achieves these objectives in a classroom environment that offers security, academic challenge, and achievement.

As a mother of four, Natalie also serves on the board of Communities in Schools and United Way. She has been a school based therapist, a mental health counselor in the school system and spent years in administrative roles developing, coordinating and supervising treatment plans. She brings a wonderful variety of teaching, administration and community action experiences to the classroom.

Creating the Culture
of the Classroom

Over the first six weeks, the primary focus of all GCS classrooms is to set up the structures and behavioral atmosphere needed to create the ideal learning environment for all students. Students co-create this environment so that they feel safe to voice their concerns and needs, clear in their understanding of behavioral and academic expectations and inspired to learn and grow as a valued member of a real community. Click on the links below on the right for details.

Click on links below for details

Daily agenda Introduced
Every classroom has a daily agenda and the day begins and ends with a morning circle to discuss the the goals for the day and what may have been missed at the end of the day so students are aware of what adjustments will be made for the agenda on the following day.
Classroom Structure Development
Students make lists of what will make the class work smoothly. Procedures are set for how students operate in the classrooms, how they transition from activities, how materials are used and put away, and how they will take responsibility in the classroom for their behavior for their needs.
Social Behavioral Constructs
Procedures for how teachers respond to breakdowns with students, and how peers respond to each other if there is a conflict are developed. Teachers model behavioral responses for students to emulate, which helps to set the tone for a harmonious classroom environment.
Building Trusting Community
Teachers connect with students on a human level to create relationships as caring community members not authoritarian teacher/student roles. Strategies such as being at the door in the morning, saying good morning, showing empathy with separation from parents or emotional concerns of students may have.
Class Promise
A behavioral contract for the rules that govern the class is co-created by students and facilitated by the teacher. All students sign or add hand prints to validate the contract. The contract may get read daily and students are reminded that failure is ok and the class promise is in place for students to realign with if a breakdown occurs. Teachers post the promise in a visibly prominent place in the classroom for students to refer to often.