Q: Why another independent school?

A: Our school is progressive in a real sense, allowing children to have a voice, and a say in the curriculum.  Our school is also priced at a level that is affordable for working families, our tuition is half the usual tuition, in order to provide high-quality, child centered education that is within reach of more families.  Our neighborhood is a historically strong and forward-thinking community, and our school will reflect that sense of community and will serve the families who are interested in a progressive, creative model of education.

Q: What is Emotional Education and why teach it in school?

A: Emotional Education is a system of teaching children about feelings – how to identify them, how to develop a lifelong habit of self-reflection, and how to express their feelings to others rather than act them out.  Our school envisions the classroom as a safe space for children to learn about how emotions work, and how to communicate them in a healthy way to others.  Emotional Education is carried on during the day in normal interactions, as well as in organized discussions, lessons and games.

Q: Does it take time away from “academic learning” to work on Emotional Education?

A: The opposite is true.  A few minutes spent dealing with emotional situations, exploring conflicts, and allowing children to resolve issues as they happen, saves time in the long run.  Misunderstandings can cause feelings to grow and fester, and impede a child’s ability to function fully and work freely.  When problems are aired in an honest and objective way, children and teachers can move forward and focus on their goals.  Children who are emotionally healthy are able to perform better in academic endeavors.

Q: Do you adhere to any curriculum benchmarks such as the common core?
A: Yes we do believe that there are skills a child needs to develop. In the same way as an expert cook makes a delicious dish, our teachers have recipes in mind but do not need to strictly adhere to them, they can vary the recipe with creativity in order to achieve the best results.  Our teachers are fully trained and aware of all the benchmarks that children should reach, and they develop their own creative methods of supporting and guiding children while they work. In fact, in our preschool our children are exceeding the standards, in a joyful and non-pressured environment where work is what the child loves to do.
Q: What is project based learning?
A: When a child (or adult) works on any project, many skills are needed.  For instance if a child wants to learn about birds, he or she will be able to look at this topic through the various aspects of math, science, art, music, literature, and so on.  When preparing the final project, the child may make a film, draw a picture, make a chart, draw a map, or construct a model of a bird’s wing alongside an airplane wing. Rather than focusing on dry academic drills, we bring math, literacy, science and other subjects to life through activities that are relevant and interesting to the child – his or her own project.
Q: What is A.R.T.?
A: Accept, Reflect, Teach, is the method we use in our school.  You can read more about it here:  The Children’s Bill of Emotional Rights or Emotional Education.  We accept all feelings without judgment, and with empathy.  If a child is angry, sad, lonely, worried, he or she should not be distracted from that feeling.  Well meaning adults try to ‘fix’ a child’s feelings, however that alienates a child, who just needs to be heard and accepted.  We reflect back those feelings without judgment and with empathy, for instance: ‘Your face is red, it seems you are angry.’ We let ourselves experience discomfort, we are comfortable being uncomfortable, and we allow the child the space to process his or her feelings without trying to manage them for her or him.  And we teach, in a quiet moment, recalling feelings that happened earlier in the day, or preparing a child for an experience which may frighten her or him, for instance, a fire drill.  We teach children that we all have feelings, and there are ways of handling them, and ways of communicating them without acting out.
Q: With children being given so much freedom, how do you keep a disciplined classroom?
A: An autonomous child is a disciplined child. An autonomous child is a happy child.  Discipline problems occur when a child is seeking negative attention or is unable to express him or herself in words.  Discipline problems occur when a child is angry or hurting.  In a classroom where children feel emotionally safe, and know their feelings are listened to, discipline issues are not a problem.  When children are given responsibility in a classroom, they are committed and involved and do not tend to undermine the authority figures or the community.


Q: Why all the current attention to the importance of play?

A: Play is receiving a lot of attention now, because more and more studies are showing what we know intuitively, that what comes naturally is usually good for us. We are seeing that, even in studies of animals, the need for play is hardwired into the brain, and that play is correlated with healthy relationships and high functionality. Play is regarded as a human right, according to the U.N. Charter of Rights, and its therapeutic as well as adaptive functions cannot be underestimated.
Q: What is Executive Function?

A: Executive function is the name that is given to higher level cognitive operations. Though skill-based learning is important and serves many needs, the application of these skills is governed by a higher operative. Executive function is the ability to perform important tasks such as: prioritizing, taking perspective, controlling impulses, deferring gratification, applying experience, analyzing mistakes, reflecting on the self, thinking flexibly, among others. Think of a person with high level executive function as an air traffic controller who can take a ‘bird’s-eye view’ of his or her own cognitive operations, and bring them in an organized and orchestrated way into the work at hand.

Q: Do you provide financial aid?
A: Yes we do.  Each year we fundraise actively to provide as much financial aid as possible.  The application is on our website at: FINANCIAL AID APPLICATION
Q: What is the teacher to student ratio?
A: The teacher:student ratio is 2:12. In addition we have interns during the spring term, from February to June.