The staff believes Lower School students learn through personal involvement and active engagement with people, places, things and ideas. Hands-on exploration, interaction and dialogue with peers and adults, and reflection lead to an individual's construction of knowledge. Learning is a process that encourages children to play with, practice, connect, synthesize and apply new understandings. Ownership and choice are key elements in maximizing students' learning potential.
Implications for Teaching
In response to these beliefs about children's learning, the Blake Lower School staff seeks to:
- Create a physically and emotionally safe, nurturing environment.
- Model ethical behavior and passion for learning.
- Provide authentic learning experiences that are intellectually stimulating and developmentally and age appropriate.
- Validate and respond to each individualís personal needs, interests, culture, beliefs and experiences.
- Build an excellent foundation of skills and conceptual understandings within all the students.
- Respond to childrenís natural curiosity, building a love of learning that will last a lifetime.
- Support a growing sense of competence and self-confidence by gently, yet continually, stretching each child as a learner.
- Address, simultaneously, the individual and the group, considering developmental, social, emotional, physical and cognitive needs.
- Develop in all students an understanding of their own approach to learning, leading to an acceptance of their strengths and challenges while developing compensatory strategies.
- Assess studentsí progress in authentic and meaningful ways, utilizing the results to inform and shape instructional decisions.
- Accept mistakes and conflicts, utilizing them as learning opportunities.
- Develop open-ended educational pursuits that have many ìrightî answers, or multiple pathways toward an accurate solution, and that require problem solving, risk taking, initiative and perseverance.
- Celebrate originality, creativity and outside-of-the-box thinking.
- Immerse students in a rich, literate environment of thematic and interdisciplinary studies.
- Respond to the teaching and learning opportunities that present themselves, being flexible with time and plans.
- Actively involve itself with students in the role of facilitator and coach.
- Work collaboratively to design and implement the Lower School curricula.
Commitment of Community
The Blake Lower School community is committed to:
- Developing a sense of community among the students, staff and parents where the safety, respect and welcome rules extend beyond the school experience.
- Communicating openly and honestly.
- Fostering an acceptance and understanding of oneself and others.
- Creating and sustaining a dynamic learning environment.
- Expanding childrenís knowledge of and involvement with the broader community.
- Empowering children to recognize and maximize their intellectual, artistic, interpersonal and physical capabilities.
- Working in partnership with parents to support and enhance the development of each student while educating them about current educational trends, best practices and childrenís developmental stages.
- Encouraging, supporting and providing professional development experiences for all staff members.