Philosophy


SHS cares most that your child is successful and happy. We believe every child is eager and ready to learn at an individual level. Our curriculum reflects that individuality, and offers many ways for children to challenge and extend themselves through a broad range of experiences. We do not differentiate between play and work. Play is a child’s work. Indoors or out, sitting still or moving vigorously, every experience is an opportunity to learn.

Throughout the year, both teachers and parents will keep in touch with each child’s personal learning needs. With the appropriate tools and materials, and the guidance of trained adults, each child will gain knowledge and develop skills to the degree that is right for him or her.

Saxon Hill School strives:

  • To nurture an excitement for learning
  • To encourage children to investigate, explore and create through a holistic approach to education
  • To permit children to express themselves and enjoy the wonders of being 3, 4, 5 or 6 years old
  • To recognize that self-esteem grows from processing knowledge and skills in a variety of areas
  • To help children discover information, and develop the capacity to conceptualize and represent ideas
  • To give children tools to resolve conflicts and assume responsibility for their actions
  • To stimulate children’s creativity, autonomy, and ability to take risks as they travel a path of life-long learning
  • To keep learning active rather than passive, and to value the process of learning and creativity more than the product

At Saxon Hill School, we also value community.  All children are encouraged to take responsibility for themselves as members of a group.  We encourage each child to express feelings, resolve conflicts and assume responsibility for her or his actions and words. At the same time, we stress the distinction between a child’s behavior and a child’s self.  Each child will become aware of how unique and special she or he is and, at the same time, learn to work within a community.  Interpersonal skills blossom as children learn to trust themselves and others, and gain the ability to feel for and with others.

A Reggio Emilia Inspired Approach

SHS is a Reggio Emilia inspired school. In a Reggio school, education is seen as a communal activity and sharing of culture through joint exploration among children and adults who together open topics to speculation and discussion. This approach provides us with new ways to think about the nature of the child as learner, the role of the teacher, school organization and management, the design and use of physical environments and curriculum planning that guides experiences of joint, open-ended discovery and constructive posing and solving of problems. Reciprocity, exchange and dialogue lie at the heart of Reggio education.

Reggio concepts1 include the beliefs that:

1. All children are competent and are working to grow. Curiosity is a primary force in the developmental process.

2. Reflective practice is crucial to supporting this work. This means that we observe and ask questions: How are the children using the space? The materials? How would we like the children to use the space/materials? What piques the interest and focus of the children? What can we do to encourage and support curiosity, exploration, and discovery? How can we best challenge, encourage, and stimulate each child?

3. Adults must be prepared to give children time to make connections between ideas, experience, and new information; time to engage with a project and learn from others; time to make experiences more rich and complex through repeated exploration and experimentation of the different aspects of a project (exploring new techniques/new information, creating hypotheses, researching and testing ideas, documenting learning).

4. Classroom documentation serves to share the questions explored and the process of discovery.

1 Wurm, J. (2005) Working in the Reggio Way. St. Paul, MN: Redleaf Press.