The Younger Group


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Elaina Vimmerstedt teaches the three-year span of the Younger Group. She "lives the day" with her children, carefully nurturing the group of six- through nine-year-olds as they develop into a caring, concerned community of learners.

Academics begin to have a more traditionally structured form in the Y.G., with a strong basis in problem solving. The children are encouraged to find and use their own strengths as learners to build their skills through a large variety of activities and equipment.

The classroom is bright and busy. Elaina encourages movement and talking, because children need to do both to learn. The whole Y.G. works on many things together, like plays, singing, group books, and a sense of group responsibility. They also work in small learning groups, teaching each other, and as individuals, developing their own ideas, work habits and projects.

Elaina believes that children in these age ranges "need a wide path for learning."




YG Newsletter

  • Barefoot at School
    Written by
    Barefoot at School

    Many children in the Younger Group forgo footwear during the school day. We have some ground rules - to be barefoot outside, it has to be at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and we wear shoes if we're hiking or otherwise going off school grounds. Other than these circumstances, the children are allowed and encouraged to be barefoot if it is comfortable to them. 

    One of the most compelling reasons for this practice is that we encourage the children to take appropriate, manageable risks. The act of taking off protective footwear exposes the children to some elements of risk that are manageable on our playground, and we often see that the reward is worth the risk many times over. Being barefoot can also increase a person's tactile sensory experiences and can add a rich layer of proprioception. 

    The teachers also notice that being barefoot is simply more comfortable than restrictive shoes for many of the children. When shoes are necessary, some children may be more comfortable in shoes that have a wide, rounded toe area, are "zero drop", with minimal cushioning and arch support, and flexible soles so that they can continue to strengthen the intrinsic muscles of their feet. 

    There may also be some long term health benefits related to being habitually barefoot as discussed in this study from the NCBI/NIH:

    Cheers to free feet and the opportunity to take manageable risks! 






Read more from the YG blog...
Elaina - The Younger Group Teacher

Elaina Vimmerstedt - Younger Group

Elaina was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. She studied music education and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Wittenberg University in Springfield, and holds a certification in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). During her time in college, Elaina served as an Americorps VISTA for Springfield Promise Neighborhood in their summer school program. After graduation, Elaina sought out alternative teaching posts that honored the humanity of the children and teachers involved. This search initially led her to the Glen Helen Outdoor Education Center. During her time at Glen Helen, she led 30+ groups of children through the acres of the Glen Helen Nature Preserve. She also served as the program coordinator for the outdoor school.

Elaina first visited The Antioch School as an intrigued teacher from another school - she went to observe the environment, teachers, and children to see what could be gleaned from their unique approach to education. Soon after this inspirational day of observation, Elaina began working at The Antioch School as the assistant teacher in the Older Group classroom and an artist in residence teaching music to all classes.

“One of the most important responsibilities of a teacher is to know their students deeply. In that knowing, there is room for each child to be themselves and to be affirmed in their identity. In that knowing, there is acceptance of their unique trajectory in life. I always start with the learner. It is an honor to help facilitate the daily discoveries of children at The Antioch School as they grow.”

The Younger Group
For first-, second-, and third-graders
8:30 A.M. to 3:00 P.M.

Upcoming Younger Group Events

Fri Oct 15 @12:00AM
Conference Day - School Closed

Contact Christine

If you have a question for Christine, please use the form below to send her an email.

Testimonial of Alban Holyoke.

Alban Holyoke
The Antioch School 1990-1999