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Statement of Philosophy

At Packer the foundations and tools for the pursuit of learning are developed in interactive, child-centered, developmentally appropriate settings in which children work individually and in cooperative groups. Quantitative reasoning, the scientific approach, and literacy skills are fostered. Creativity, critical thinking, research skills and an appreciation for the collective knowledge of the human family are also developed.

We at Packer believe that academic growth rests on a solid base of positive social and emotional development. To foster that goal we build classroom community in several ways: through the collaborative development of positively stated classroom community rules, students and teachers create a contract for living and working together; through the consistent implementation of a conflict resolution program, students from Preschool through Fourth Grade learn to negotiate and solve conflicts; and finally, through the use of Morning Meetings, we foster a sense of community by having each student feel recognized and valued, and develop the students’ interpersonal skills and respect for others’ points of view.

The academic program incorporates three fundamental goals: learning to solve problems, learning to access information, and learning to present information to others. Underlying all these objectives is the notion that active learning best suits the needs of our students. Solving problems is an important part of our students’ work in math and science where faculty encourage creative thinking and innovative approaches; solving problems also occurs in the social studies as students participate in a debate or study the lives of others. Accessing information can mean using a picture book, going on a trip, asking good questions in an interview, or going to the library or appropriate sites on the Internet. We care about our students’ ability to present to others what they have learned. Attention to those skills occurs as we provide students with the opportunity to participate in activities such as creating a computer presentation, curating a museum exhibit, or creating a book or a script. Finally, active learning occurs as we use simulations and other hands-on activities to stimulate our students’ imagination and use of multiple capabilities. They participate in activities such as the Colonial Fair or build a model city that they plan together as a class.

Children at Packer grow to be productive members of a pluralistic, cooperative community of learners and are encouraged to appreciate the rich diversity of heritages at Packer. They continue to thrive in the Middle and Upper School at Packer where the developmentally appropriate programs suit the changing intellectual and physical capacities of adolescents and teenagers. As they grow intellectually and personally, our students prepare to move beyond Packer as competent and effective members of their future communities.

 


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