At the Ella Baker School, we believe…
…all children can learn. Children are naturally curious. Children want to make meaning of the world around them, and they do so in many, varied ways. When teachers provide clear, rigorous expectations, children will rise to meet the challenge. School lays the groundwork to develop the skills and passion for a lifetime of learning.
…children learn from making and doing, thinking and talking. At the Ella Baker School, children are guided to work with materials, make things by hand, talk about ideas, and think collaboratively to make sense of experiences. Learning is made meaningful by inquiry: asking questions and solving problems. Children are encouraged to develop their voices and make choices. We believe these skills are essential to success in school. Developing voice and choice are also necessary to participate in and strengthen a democratic society.
…learning happens when there is a meaningful context and an opportunity to use our knowledge and skills. This is why children must have access to rich literature, opportunities in the arts, meaningful trips, and contexts for inquiry based learning in math, science, and the humanities.
…a teacher’s role is to design curriculum that addresses children’s interests, strengths, experiences, and differences. Each person learns and makes sense of knowledge in their own way. Teachers are given the time and support to observe students, know them well, and provide instruction that nurtures each child’s growth and learning.
…children learn best when their needs are met. When children feel physically and emotionally safe, are free from hunger or worry, and trust their teachers, they can do their best work.
…teachers partner with students and their families in these pursuits. Building community is essential to a successful school.