What kind of people do we hope our children will become? Do our schools and homes prepare them to joyfully claim a place in society, joyfully developing deep appreciation for and understanding of themselves and the world around them? Will they commence their lives after high school with a sense of purpose, or be bogged down by wondering where they belong?
We envision an educational setting that is transformed from futile concentration on school readiness, test taking, and skill acquisition measured by meaningless grades to authentic intellectual exploration, development of deep curiosity, social/ emotional capability, and consideration for social justice.
How do we know they are learning?
Children are explorers from birth, unafraid of failure and determined to practice developing skills until they are mastered. In an environment where their inventiveness is invited and encouraged, children demonstrate their capacity to make connections and then explore at a deeper level. They are capable of making their own discoveries, connecting what they understand to new findings, inspired by their own curiosity. We – children and adults of all ages – can support each other’s continued learning by impacting the environment in positive ways.
We contribute to a growth-minded environment with intention, thoughtfully inviting children to engage by modeling ways for them to do, to be and to learn in the world. We seek their playfulness and curiosity, so we create an environment that is physically and emotionally supportive of this outcome. We hope for them to build respectful relationships and deep connections based on kindness by showing them what this looks like. Our mindful behavior shows them one way to connect. Introspective questions help them to consider their own feelings and those of others.
How will we measure the success of our efforts? We observe and document what we see and hear, and then pose thoughtful questions that invite children to go deeper. We present them with beautiful materials and authentic experiences. Their joyful connections will be evident in their continuing explorations, connections with the work and other people, and challenges they set for themselves.