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Our Philosophy

Park West’s philosophy is to encourage thinking ability in a variety of situations. Our ambition is to challenge and guide every child to develop in physical, cognitive, social, emotional and moral domains according to their own abilities and circumstances, all in the context of a group experience. We work to foster relationships with and between children, parents, and teachers to provide emotional security and a safe environment for development.

 

Our broad goals are to encourage autonomous, self-reliant thinking and decision making, and at the same time, to encourage kids to de-center, to expand their world view by incorporating the ideas of other people in their decision making, and to think about how they affect each other. More important than specific results, the vital element is the on-going attempt to balance one’s individual needs with the needs of other individuals and with the group as a whole. We use an investigative approach to conflict resolution, and model and encourage group problem-solving.

 

We encourage trial and error exploration and validate the importance of erroneous ideas. We strive to ask questions that stimulate thinking and build understanding, and to use language that encourages children to try out their ideas, experiment, and make new discoveries.

 

Our teachers set up predictable routines and procedures, and offer open-ended materials which appeal to a wide variety of developmental levels and interests. We offer children the opportunities to mentally and physically engage with materials, and we make play, experimentation, and social interactions a priority. We understand that all domains are intertwined, especially during the preschool years, and that goals within each overlap and extend into others.


Park West students are enrolled through a lottery process. Park West staff strives to meet each child at her/his individual developmental level. Some children may require a “shadow” person in the classroom to support her/his interactions.