Mission and Philosophy

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All Souls School, an early childhood day school founded in 1965, celebrates and builds upon each child’s strengths, interests, and experiences in an intentional, diverse, and nurturing community that fosters experimentation, a love of learning, and respect for others.

 

Our highly experienced and credentialed faculty is committed to nurturing a sense of wonder and to discovering each child’s capabilities and ways of learning. This approach creates the foundation for provisioning the classroom and for curriculum planning. Play is understood as a child’s academic searching and an expression of intelligence and growth. Through the process of their engagement with play, and the project approach to learning - from inquiry, discussion, activity and reflection, to documentation - children can realize endless possibilities for discovering meaning and relationships. In order to achieve this, they are given time and space for exploration and further involvement. Each child is appreciated for his or her contributions to the process.

One-on-one, small group and whole class learning takes place within and beyond the walls of the school, incorporating the natural world and introducing children to broader social and environmental contexts. As they participate fully in their classroom community, children are encouraged to reflect on their work and to become thoughtful, active, and responsible learners.

Our teaching is influenced by several educational theories:

The Bank Street or the developmental-interaction approach holds as a basic belief that children want to understand the world and how it works. Teachers consider each child’s development and growth and strive to create an environment that is responsive to where each child is intellectually, socially, emotionally, and physically. Interaction refers to the interface within the child of emotions and intellectual development. Interaction also refers to the relationships the child has with the other children, teachers, materials and ideas present in the carefully designed classroom and school.

Reggio Emilia is a small town in northern Italy. In 1991 Newsweek labeled the early childhood schools in Reggio Emilia as the “best in the world.” Central to the Reggio approach is that children are seen as competent: their ideas and questions are worthy of being used as a basis for curriculum design. The environment of the school and classroom is seen as “the third teacher,” as children learn so much from where and with whom they spend their time in school. Teachers and children reflect often on their work, separately and together, and there is documentation of the processes of the work.

Emergent curriculum also considers children’s interests and incorporates teacher goals within the work. Some curriculum arises from what is happening in the world around the school and in the children’s lives. As a result of children’s questions teachers create specific curriculum that builds upon the topic of interest.

Overarching these ideas is the belief that children learn and gain self-confidence through experiences with each other, with teachers and with materials. We stress the importance of the life of the child within a group because we believe that society is continuously changing and children need the skills of living in a group to work well with others.