To nurture a school-family where children, teachers, and parents are collaborators in creating a process-based learning environment rooted in authentic connections with one another, with beautiful materials, and with the natural world, and where each individual is truly known and valued.
We view children as complete and capable individuals, with the right to develop their own educational experiences alongside their teachers. We encourage them to be actively engaged in problem solving and critical thinking and to find their own unique voices in a supportive, caring environment. This philosophy is based on the theories of constructivist thinkers such as John Dewey, Lev Vygotsky, Jean Piaget and Howard Gardner, whose work helped inspire the Reggio Emilia approach. We are also inspired by forest schools, outdoor education and making connections with and between art and nature.
Community: A strong, supportive community is essential to developing eager, confident learners. We believe learning happens best through shared experiences, and with adults and children working side by side. We require that parents and families be actively involved in our school by serving on committees and attending community work days and meetings. We also hold many social and educational gatherings throughout the year.
Natural, organic: We believe nature is an important tool in the cognitive, emotional and social development of children. Our classrooms are filled with children’s artwork, natural materials and high-quality supplies. We spend significant amounts of time outdoors every day in our expansive meadow, which features an outdoor classroom, a mud pit, vegetable and butterfly gardens and hill that’s perfect for rolling in warmer months and sledding in colder ones!
Respect: We are respectful of children and value their perspectives. Viewing children as competent and capable creates a compassionate, accepting environment where they are free to express themselves and develop their own unique views. We recognize the “hundred languages of children,” referring to the many different ways children have of expressing themselves, including drawing, sculpture, dramatic play and writing.
Unstructured play: Unstructured play is critical to supporting children’s ability to develop their own potential and individual interests. Our program offers plenty of time for open-ended play with a range of open-ended materials. We believe this time to play, investigate, and negotiate is the foundation for the natural emergence of children’s development across all modalities; they find their expressive voices, learn to integrate input from all of their senses, and develop problem-solving and social emotional skills.
Project-based learning: We “learn by doing.” Project-based learning is experiential. It allows for deep exploration of topics such as math, science and language arts and develops critical thinking, collaborative skills, creativity and communication skills. The children are engaged in learning because projects emerge from their interests and questions, giving them ownership and investment in the process. We do not impose themes or academic lessons, but our rich environment invites investigations through which exposure to and skills in the academic realm are natural by-products, geared to the developmental readiness of each individual.