Philosophy

"Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself."
  –John Dewey, Experience and Education*

The Children's School of Art and Science embraces what it means to learn, to succeed, and to thrive as a human being. When a child enters the classroom, she brings a wealth of cultural and personal experience, an openness to new understanding, and a unique set of purposes and wonderings. These are the seeds of a lifelong education and enduring fulfillment. They can become an integral part of the culture of school.

TeamworkA progressive school gives each student opportunities to perceive and express meaning, through all the various disciplines it offers. A great teacher creates experiences that flow naturally toward learning. It is not enough to tell a student, "Writing is a powerful way to communicate ideas." Somehow he must experience that power directly, and then he will strive to become a writer.

The role of the school is, as Dewey writes, "to select the kind of present experiences that live fruitfully and creatively in subsequent experiences."* We believe a fruitful experience is one that increases compassion and expands one's awareness of the world. Our school seeks to connect experiences, not to isolate them. What one learns in history should not be forgotten in science. What one learns in the classroom should not be forgotten on the playground. And what one learns in school should still matter when one eventually emerges.

Our learning program rests upon a caring personal, social, and aesthetic environment. "The desire to be cared for is almost certainly a universal human characteristic," argues the education philosopher Nel Noddings.* How do students listen to each other, appreciate themselves, and recognize the valuable and beautiful moments of their day? How do they feel and act? What do they care about? How much are families included? When attention is given to these aspects of school life, a more heartfelt learning experience is possible.

Within this atmosphere of supportive friendship, we then develop integrative academic experiences: those which cause students to draw simultaneously on diverse areas of knowledge and skill. They explore rich, thematic questions about the world that they observe and the texts they study. They apply their knowledge to creative projects that engage their minds and bodies together. Their experience in school constantly suggests positive future possibility.

The Children's School of Art and Science cultivates hopefulness, courage, and happiness in learning.