Frequently Asked Questions
Day-to-day activities are conducted with a sense of reverence for one’s self, one another, nature and each individual’s relationship to the larger universe. A cycle of festivals is celebrated each year and serves as the overt spiritual expression of the school. Those who do not consider themselves to be particularly spiritual respond to these festivals as humanistic celebrations of life.
By recognizing that the child’s own development mirrors that of civilization, progress, growth and learning merge. The school experience is not something apart from the child’s interests, or something strained and difficult and somehow unnaturally unique to the classroom. When children relate what they learn to their own experiences, they are interested and alive, and what they learn becomes their own. In this way, school becomes a natural and supportive part of the rhythm of life itself. For example, a nine-year-old is developmentally focused on separation and individuation. The third grade curriculum, therefore, is based in part on the Old Testament and focuses on the history and culture of the Jewish people involved in a similar process as they leave Egypt and establish their own homeland.
Stable relationships are crucial for the child, including the relationship with authority figures. Having one teacher from at least grades 1 to 5 allows for closeness between teacher, parent and child. The teacher can help the child unfold at his or her unique pace. If the student/teacher relationship encounters rough times, it is the teacher’s duty and commitment to make it work, and often the more difficult relationships result in the most growth and satisfaction. In a conventional classroom, a difficult relationship is abandoned at the end of the school year and may never be resolved.
Students go on to devote the remaining morning hours to academic lessons in periods of about 45 minutes each. Subjects involving handwork and physical activity comprise the afternoon hours when energy levels are higher but the students’ ability to concentrate diminishes. All subjects, wherever possible, place an emphasis on learning by observation, discussion and imitation of nature. The class teacher presents some of these lessons and special subject teachers offer others.
Our school has a strategic goal of developing a student body that reflects the rich cultural tapestry of our surrounding community. Reaching this goal takes an ongoing active and conscious effort on the parts of everyone in our community. Our school’s Diversity Committee, an advisory body comprised of teachers, administrators and parents leads the way by creating opportunities for us to examine ourselves, our curriculum, our policies and practices to identify existing barriers and strengths that hinder or support diversity. We hope that you will work with us — both informally and formally — in helping to foster a school culture that invites and supports diversity in all of its dimensions.