Before school begins each year, the staff of The Children’s School takes time to reflect on our mission and how the institution has grown over the decades—and to set new goals for ourselves. What are the principles on which our institution rests? What is the wellspring that has made our school so vital and innovative for nearly 60 years? Below we share with you the core values that have kept the School a living, breathing hive of learning—always busy and working, always alive to our purpose, which is “to nurture in the emergent child an appreciation of his or her own gifts as well as those of others.”
Every facet of life at The Children’s School is premised on the following core values:
- We believe the first eight years of a child’s life are critical to his or her healthy growth across the developmental spectrum of mind, body and heart.
- We believe that our central purpose is to nurture self-respect in each child as well as respect for others. Grace and courtesy are a key part of our curriculum and reflect the extent to which the School’s culture is steeped in respect.
- We believe the model of our own behavior is a child’s most powerful teacher.
- We believe that every child should be known well by all of the teachers in our classrooms. Small is always better when it comes to teaching and learning.
- We believe in all kinds of minds; intelligence is not unitary. It is our job to be sensitive and responsive to the multiple intelligences and diverse learning styles that children possess.
- We believe that every child is naturally inquisitive and possesses intellectual, social, emotional, physical, aesthetic and ethical potential that deserves to be respected, nurtured and supported by all the adults in his or her life.
- We believe all children flourish in a learning environment that is safe, nurturing, ordered and calm.
- We believe in the importance of creating a learning environment that is thoughtfully prepared, with a sense of clarity and order, so that students can actively engage in learning.
- We believe the best learning environment for a child is one that individualizes its programs to each child’s potential, abilities and developmental needs.
- We believe that play is the work of the child and must be integral to a student’s experience inside and outside of our classrooms.
- We believe that children should be trusted to choose from among many good paths to learning, which is why we strive to create classroom environments that balance freedom with order and responsibility.
- We believe that the seeds of a lifelong love of learning lie in creating an environment where children are active agents in their own learning process.
- We believe that all forms of self-expression—artistic, musical, dramatic, written, oral and through movement—are integral to our curriculum and should be honored in our classrooms.
- We believe it is vital for our students to encounter and experience diversity in our classrooms—of beliefs and customs, religions and cultures, race and ethnicity—in order to nurture them as global citizens, at ease with and curious about cultures that are different from their own.
- We believe that children should be encouraged, through a variety of activities, to see themselves as helpful members of a community, citizens of a larger world and stewards of the natural environment and its resources.
- We believe teachers must be given time together on a regular basis to reflect on their classroom experiences and discuss students in order to plan carefully as well as develop and elevate their skills.
- We believe teachers must be given continuing education and professional development opportunities, as well as exposure to best practices, in order to advance their knowledge, talents and skill set.
- We believe that establishing a collaborative esprit de corps among our teachers, along with team teaching, is necessary to create a harmonious, collegial atmosphere in our classrooms.
- We believe that developing a solid partnership with parents through consistent communications is key to a child’s success in school and crucial to earning a family’s trust and belief in our mission.
- We believe that we are a community of learners—students, teachers, parents, alumni and their families—and the School is responsible for designing programs to support that learning.
- We believe that every member of our community has a fundamental right to be treated with respect, regardless of age, gender, ethnic origin, race, sexual orientation, religion or disability.
With this creedal statement, which both describes children’s enormous potential and how that potential should be nourished, our School invites every member of its community to find a role for themselves. It is a source of great pride at the School that generations of families and staff have embraced these values with joy, purpose and a deep sense of responsibility. Still, however enduring these core values may be, we want you to know that the School is a vital, living institution, always looking for ways to improve and grow. We are always aware that while a great tradition can be passed down, greatness itself is earned every day.
Thank you for entrusting us with your beautiful children,