The school is based on the belief that parents are a vital part of a young child’s education, as formulated by Katherine Whiteside Taylor, author of Parents and Children Learn Together.
She is recognized as a cooperative preschool pioneer with an international career that started with organizing her first cooperative preschool in 1916. Her focus on parent involvement in early childhood education led to the founding of Parent Cooperative Preschools International in the 1960’s. She served as an advisor to the organization until her death in 1989.
The PPNS philosophy comes from people who have made important contributions to the field of educational psychology, including Jean Piaget.
Piaget stated that “interaction of the child and his/her environment is essential for intellectual development.” Dr. Piaget also wrote, “What people think of as understanding is merely an ability to repeat the right answer. But to comprehend is to invent, not just repeat. Teaching means creating situations where structure (or truths) can be discovered.” Children learn best through their own discoveries.
At PPNS, we provide children with a rich learning environment. They are free to make choices in ways that do not infringe upon the freedom or safety of others, or show disrespect for the environment. Allowing freedom with clearly defined limits helps children to become more secure and use their personal knowledge to make their own decisions.
We focus on helping children understand and control themselves. In working toward this goal, we guide them by respecting their integrity, understanding their needs and setting limits when necessary. We believe that effective limits are few, firm, and fair.
We prefer indirect adult guidance that allows children to find their own solutions. When health or safety measures call for direct intervention, we are aware of their needs and try to treat them with respect while keeping them safe.
Realizing we are role models to the children, we maintain respectful relationships with them. We believe children should be treated with respect, understanding, gentleness, and sincerity. In addition to listening to them speak, we need to look beyond the children’s actions to understand their feelings and underlying circumstances causing their behavior. We encourage, guide, and help children by letting them know that we trust them, care about them, and will be there when they need us.