Philosophy

The mission of The Open School is to enable students to become lifelong learners, informed and responsible citizens, competent and successful members of the workforce, and thinking, fulfilled, caring individuals with sensitivity to, and understanding of, the diverse multicultural society in which we live.

Educational Philosophy

Our philosophical beliefs are derived from Piaget, Bruner and Dewey in that we view children as naturally curious and motivated learners, capable of integrating and categorizing experiences in order to add to their understanding of the world around them. We believe that students are motivated by their interests, and, through developmentally appropriate practices, are guided in their ability to construct conceptual understandings from meaningful experiences. Through the use of our thematic and integrated curriculum, our teachers facilitate these experiences for their students, using current research and materials to guide their practice. As did John Dewey, we believe that learning happens best in context. Context enables students to recall, reuse, and connect what is learned to new experiences. A context driven curriculum builds student interest and enthusiasm, while also providing focal points for the infusion of standards. The teaching of basic skills then becomes a tool for student learning rather than an end in itself.

Guiding Principles

  1. We are committed to being a community of respect – we respect ourselves, we respect each other, and we respect the environment
  2. Instruction is student-centered, hands-on, and project-based
  3. Learning should be fun, interactive, and meaningful
  4. Learning is a social process that happens best in a dynamic, supportive, and effective community
  5. We recognize and meet the needs of individual learners
  6. Not all learning is classroom based
  7. Making connections to life experiences leads to meaningful and lasting learning
  8. Contextual, inter-disciplinary learning is more effective than teaching isolated information
  9. Students need opportunities to explore, verbalize, question, think, create, and discover their own answers
  10. Students are explicitly taught strategies for life-long learning, including interdependence, personal responsibility, and goal setting
  11. It is important to have the opportunity to both succeed and fail, take risks, and learn from mistakes
  12. Students need opportunities to learn using all modalities
  13. Allowing students to make meaningful choices within a curricular context engenders ownership of learning
  14. Our teachers are professionals who write their own curriculum and are supported in their professional growth
  15. Observation, assessment, and reflection are used to guide future instruction
  16. We value everyone's diverse ideas and cultures and honor their contributions as essential components of a successful learning community