The mission of the Children’s Community School is to create a collaborative community of young children, families, and educators that honors and empowers children to be active agents in their learning and lives.
In all our work, the Children’s Community School seeks to fulfill eight intersecting core values that support the development of each child, each adult, and the community as a whole.
- LIFELONG LEARNING—We view children and adults as lifelong learners who construct knowledge, seek answers, take risks, reflect on their own experiences, and approach learning with action and commitment. We honor where each learner is in their learning process, recognizing that present learning is linked to both past and future experiences. We work to provide children with skills, attitudes, and understanding that will serve them in a lifetime of joyful learning, both in school settings and beyond.
- MINDFULNESS—We believe that by cultivating an awareness of our bodies, minds, and emotions, we become more grounded in ourselves and better able to connect with others. We work to support all individuals to recognize and affirm their own feelings; to notice how their words and actions impact others; and to respect their own and others’ needs for both connection and solitude. We recognize that play and discovery are intertwined with the ability to be present and connected.
- COMMUNITY—We seek to build community by practicing empathy and respect for all people, and by infusing our culture with the expectation of mutual care. We create opportunities for each individual to contribute meaningfully to community life, and we forge connections through experiences of shared play and collective joy. We demonstrate solidarity with people working for justice both in and out of our communities.
- INQUIRY—We believe that learning is fueled by curiosity about ourselves, our communities, and our world. We encourage children and adults to discover and pursue what sparks their personal interest and joy, and to contribute their passion and knowledge into the classroom and their lives at school. We create opportunities for asking questions and seeking answers together, and we cultivate flexible thinkers who value wonder, contradiction, and multiple points of view. We believe that learning is most powerful in the context of a rich and varied environment that encourages play and collaboration.
- JUSTICE—We encourage each child and adult to take active steps in seeking fairness, and thus build a stronger school, a deeper community, and a better society. We acknowledge that justice is not a state but an ongoing process, and we recognize the reality that CCS, like any institution in an unjust society, will in some ways reinforce injustice. As a private school we must identify our particular responsibility to create a welcoming and equitable space, and take actions to build an ever more inclusive community, with particular attention to race, culture, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, class, and ability. We believe that each individual is responsible for working to create a more just world, and that those with greater privilege in their positions, identities, and experiences bear greater responsibility for that work.
- COLLABORATION AND DEMOCRATIC VALUES—In an environment comprising a variety of power relationships—teachers and students, caregivers and children, employers and employees, and so on—we seek to create structures in which everyone has a meaningful voice in decisions that impact them, and where those with power are accountable to those over whom they hold power. We promote transparent and collaborative decision-making in which individuals, including children, make meaningful contributions to decisions that impact them. We teach and support honest conversation, and respectful engagement in disagreement. We value and encourage the sharing of one’s self while hearing and attending to the voices of others. We seek to nurture agency and leadership skills in all people.
- SAFETY, CARE, AND COMPASSION—By taking care of ourselves, of others, and of our space, we create a safer environment where children and adults have the resources and support they need to allow for deep exploration and learning. We recognize that each individual’s body, mind, and emotions are worthy of attention and caretaking. We cultivate relationships that encourage inclusivity and connection by reaching out to others with compassion and empathy.
- HONORING AND CELEBRATING EACH INDIVIDUAL—We acknowledge and respond to the individual needs and strengths of all people in our community. We value each person’s feelings and ideas, while recognizing the importance of clear and compassionate boundaries, especially for children. We recognize that every individual is a unique and complex combination of mind, body, and emotions, and believe that celebrating and honoring individuality builds and strengthens our community.
These core values not only apply to our staff, but are primarily implemented by our staff. Thus, CCS is committed to building community among staff members, involving staff deeply in the life of the school, providing ongoing professional development and opportunities for growth, and affirming and enhancing their quality of life in and outside CCS. By supporting staff in these ways, we enable them to be the best caregivers possible for children and families. CCS’s ability to function and implement our mission also depends on our relationships with a wide variety of non-staff professionals (substitute teachers, service providers for children with special needs, cleaning staff, handyworkers, etc.), and we work to ensure that our core values are reflected in our interactions with them.