Learning at Pacific Oaks

Learning at Pacific Oaks Featured Image

At Pacific Oaks Children’s School, we believe in providing abundant opportunities for experiential learning, and we proudly employ a progressive educational philosophy inspired by educational pioneers like John Dewey.

At Pacific Oaks Children’s School, we believe learning is an active, dynamic, social and active process.

Learning is active.

Children learn through direct experiences with materials, people, and events—and then reflecting on those experiences. Like scientists, children build theories about cause-and-effect and how the world works. Then they test these theories and, over time, develop increasingly more complete and sophisticated understandings. Teachers are on hand to prompt critical and creative thinking.

Learning is a social process.

Young children learn from their interactions and relationships with others.  At Pacific Oaks we encourage collaborative play because we know that children spur on one another’s curiosity and thinking, child-to-child.

When children make choices they encounter obstacles from time to time. We encourage children to describe the problem and generate their own solutions, and in the process, over time, children begin to develop a sense of agency.

A disagreement with a classmate is an opportunity to learn how to deal with issues constructively.  Children learn to resolve problems through practice and guidance so that they can navigate conflicts with increasing independence and skill.

Learning involves choice and self-direction.

At Pacific Oaks, children make choices and decisions throughout the day. This is fundamental to a child’s developing sense of competence and confidence as respected participants in the classroom. They learn to manage themselves as they move from choice time to group time, from self-initiated to teacher-initiated activities. Self-regulation and learning to adapt to the needs of the situation is foundational to being an effective learner.

Learning embraces diversity.

Pacific Oaks Children’s School pioneered anti-bias curriculum, an approach that supports children in valuing who they are as individuals and, at the same time, respecting differences in others—gender, family make-up, cultures, and more. The spirit of social equity is evident throughout the programs, woven into how we speak with children, the books we read, and the materials we have on hand in the classroom. As questions and issues arise, teachers take the time to talk with children about differences and fairness in age-appropriate ways. Children apply their developing sense of right and wrong to think critically about these things.  Our goal is to cultivate understanding of fairness and equity. Our differences are part of what makes us interesting and unique, and they are to be respected as every child is valued. Children have opportunities to be advocates and take action on behalf of others.