Our building, our program, and our traditions are all designed to develop organic relationships between students of all ages and cross-age learning opportunities. Sometimes planned activities such as All-School Ski Day or Field Day, and other times by sharing a space and letting it happen naturally, we know that a Kindergarten student can teach a senior just as much as the senior can teach the Kindergarten student. Not many schools can say that their high school sophomores have a peer group that includes third graders, seventh graders, and their math teacher. Students learn together, play sports together, work in classrooms next to each other, and interact throughout the day. These cross-age experiences help to make VMS not just a school, but a community.
The Senior/Kindergarten buddy program is a time-honored and cherished tradition at Vail Mountain School. At the beginning of each year, a kindergarten student is paired with one or two senior buddies. Approximately every ten days, there is a special Homebase senior/kindergarten special activity. This might include a scavenger hunt, nature walk, or an activity to learn more about each other. Signature senior/kindergarten meetings include Halloween pumpkin carving, holiday gift exchange, and a senior/kindergarten ski day. Finally, at graduation, kindergarten students present their buddy a yellow rose of friendship.
The relationship doesn't end there, however. Many VMS alumni are still in touch with their kindergarten buddy long after graduation.
My favorite meeting with my Kindergarten buddy was definitely carving pumpkins with her on Halloween. It was so nice to be able to help her carve a pumpkin with her name on it. I saw how much joy that simple act brought her and it really helped me see life through a new perspective where I appreciate all the little things in life. Alumnus ‘21
The last day of the school year features our all-school Field Day. Students compete in their cross-age House groups. Each group picks their own theme and dresses accordingly. These fun-filled activities allow for friendly competition between cross-age groups.