Educational Philosophy

What makes Walden unique is that our philosophy is based on balance: academic excellence and human insight help children see the inter-relatedness of all they learn.

This is accomplished through child-led inquiry, by developing conversation and conflict-resolution skills and by nurturing the love of learning that comes from shared discovery. Without the guiding influence of human insight, academic excellence is meaningless. Responsibility and self-esteem: Through our Walden Agreements students learn to behave responsibly with regard to themselves, other people and property. Through natural and logical consequences children learn to be responsible for their actions and how to make restitution. In this way, the child’s self-esteem remains intact while learning that even when we make a mistake, we can repair the damage. Each child is responsible to the group, yet a valuable individual.

Basic structure provides the children with both security and freedom. Learning takes place through a consistent classroom structure and regular daily program which allows students to focus on the task at hand without wondering what comes next. At the same time, teachers take advantage of unplanned learning opportunities and to respond to unusual events within the class. Students also have many choices in the use of time, materials and resources. Flexibility is possible because Walden’s program is built on a secure structure. Self-discipline is the ability to set appropriate goals and limits for oneself, while spontaneity is the ability to live in the present moment. Walden students are encouraged to take an ever-increasing role in making decisions that affect their own lives and, therefore, develop an unusual level of self-discipline. As they grow in competence and confidence, their ability to respond to the demands and opportunities of everyday life, to be spontaneous, also increases. While students are expected to take their schoolwork seriously, they are also encouraged to retain a love of learning and a sense of playfulness.

The philosophy of Walden School addresses all aspects of the child’s growth: a strong academic program challenges the child’s intellect; an emphasis on self direction builds the child’s feelings of competence and self esteem, individually-paced learning and a respectful approach to problem-solving stress the value of each child’s unique abilities and character. The thoughtful balance of Walden School’s program helps children develop an inner balance that carries them into the future with skills, confidence and insight.

We not only expect our children to become well-educated; we care that they also become wise. We believe wisdom is not a condition that comes upon us suddenly in our later adult years; it grows up with us.