Our mission is to create a nurturing learning community that encourages curiosity, builds confidence, and sparks creativity. Approach: Students’ acquire a strong academic foundation enriched by immersion in the arts, outdoor education, foreign languages, and hands-on, project-based learning.
Our vision is that all students become lifelong learners and contributing citizens in our community. We support each student in performing at their highest level of ability while maintaining a strong sense of self and a deep respect for others.
- We value learning that is engaging and joyful.
- We value the richness the arts add to a vibrant life.
- We value relationships build on trust, mutual respect and empathy.
- We value self-reflection, fostering kindness toward self and others.
- We value collaboration and meaningful problem-solving.
- We value creativity, critical thinking skills and self-determination.
- We value diversity, seeking to understand individual differences and commonalities.
- We value nature, and see ourselves as stewards of our environment.
D. Philosophy & Approach
A lifelong love of learning is created when children are encouraged to exercise their natural curiosity, build upon their strengths. Personalized learning meets each student where they are currently, and challenges them to stretch, make connections, and engage their imaginations. A project-based approach encourages hands-on participation, which is essential for children to experience learning on a deeper level.
Our classroom environment will be rich with the arts including, drawing, painting, music, movement and drama. Numerous research studies show that participation in the arts help students develop traits that contribute to later success in life.
Children will spend ample time in the outdoors, experiencing the natural environment. On most days we will be outdoors for an hour or more enjoyed access to miles of trails and wooded areas directly behind our school. Spending time outdoors contributes to students ability to focus and to their overall well-being.
We take inspiration from the guiding principles of the philosophy of Reggio Emilia by:
. . . considering children as collaborators, explorers and protagonists.
. . . viewing the teacher as nurturer, guide and researcher.
. . . welcoming the parents as partners.
. . . embracing the environment as the third teacher.
. . . honoring the foundations of trust, respect and cooperation.
. . . preparing documentation as a facet of communication.
Social-emotional development and problem-solving skills are valued highly. Both are vital in forming a cohesive classroom community. We believe that children learn best through play. Consequently, much of the learning that occurs will have an element of fun and play embedded into the experience. This will help foster an intrinsic love of learning.
E. Assessment: We use a variety of assessment tools, primarily informal daily assessments of a student’s progress. Methods used are developmentally appropriate tools for understanding a child’s growth. We rely on authentic assessments that are worthwhile and meaningful, with the intent of capturing proficiencies in mastery of information, skills and abilities. We believe assessment should be ongoing and not rely on any single test or limited measurement of standards. Means of assessment include focused observations, research-based tools, teacher-developed assessments, unit reviews, and criteria-based rubrics, and student generated self-assessments.
Portfolio Documentation: To make learning visible for students and their parents, we use portfolios for documentation throughout the school year. A portfolio is a purposeful collection of evidence of a child’s learning, gathered over time, which demonstrates efforts, progress, and achievement. Included in a portfolio are samples of student work such as writing samples, math work, and art pieces. Photographs of activities like science experiments, puppet shows and outdoor learning experiences will also be incorporated. Portfolios will be used as touch stones during parent conferences. Students are encouraged to review their own portfolios periodically to see visible evidence of their own growth and progress.
Narrative Evaluations: Our teachers write thoughtful narrative evaluations that are shared with parents and discussed in conferences. These are completed from the view of nurturing and educating the whole child, including social, emotional, physical and intellectual growth. Students are also asked to self-evaluate, setting their own goals and identifying areas of growth for themselves as successful learners.