Developmentally Appropriate Practice: Developmentally appropriate practice is the bedrock upon which early childhood educational best practices are based and has decades of empirical support behind it. However, the new public school “reforms” not only disregard this research, but they are forcing teachers to engage in practices that are not only ineffective but harmful to child development and the learning process. All children deserve an enriching, developmentally appropriate, personal education. When considering “What is appropriate?” we will focus on what is in the best interest of the student and what impact our approach will have on student learning.
Equity and Access: R School values equity in accessing opportunities to engage in authentic educational experiences which build community. We welcome families from diverse cultural, social, religious, and economic backgrounds.
Innovation: R School will encourage a high degree of innovation, divergent thinking, and risk-taking within a safe, encouraging, educational community. We value the spirit of inquiry that necessitates innovation and acknowledge the need for safety and security that is required to facilitate an innovative spirit.
Community and Collaboration: Learning happens within a collaborative, community-spirited environment where children feel safe and can engage in questions about right and wrong human behavior, which will require them to consider their own values and those of their communities and cultures in the context of other perspectives. Similarly, the R School organizational structure values community participation and collaboration to create and support excellent educational environments.
Flexibility: Learning happens in a variety of ways, and R School provides a flexible framework that meets the needs of each student, including a multi-age setting, an adaptable, personal educational environment, and the adaptability required to meet each student’s intellectual, social, emotional, and physical needs.
Critical and Creative Thinking: R School will embrace a comprehensive, integrative, inquiry-based process of exploration, breaking complex topics or issues into parts to gain a better understanding of the whole and making simple connections among ideas, information, and experiences before accepting or settling on a final opinion.
Self-Actualization: Students who experience R School will be empowered to enjoy a meaningful life molded by self-actualization; a life that honors their skills, interests, and abilities to define their futures as knowledgeable and engaged global citizens.
Continuous Improvement: R School explicitly rejects the notion that efficacy is measured through high-stakes, standardized testing. However, we do believe in continuous improvement processes that inform learning and provide valuable feedback to teachers. Rather than high-stakes test prep, pedagogy is student-centered, pragmatic, and constructivist; progress is measured over time through observing the unique learning needs and strengths of each child. Additionally, we will document and disseminate continuous improvement plans, results, and effects on teaching and learning so that we can learn from our experiences as well as contribute to the academic and practical discussion on early childhood education best practices.