Welcome to the Paideia elementary school. We have 12 multi-age classrooms in which two teachers create their own wonderful world of ideas and interaction. The age range in our elementary—five-to-twelve years old—is a wide world of intellectual and social development. Classes are known by the teachers’ first names instead of grade levels, which creates a sense of community in the larger context of the school.
We have a strong academic program within a caring, attentive and stimulating environment where children learn to explore and understand themselves and develop intellectually. This is a place for friendships and learning. Teachers work to get to know their students individually and provide a stimulating and supportive classroom.
We want Paideia to be a place that children are eager to come to and somewhat reluctant to leave. A place where parents trust and know their children are being cared for and growing intellectually and emotionally. This emphasis on wanting to be at school because it is fun, friendly and interesting is one of our headmaster Paul Bianchi’s oft-stated observances about the kind of school Paideia is.
The independence we work to cultivate in our students is reflected in the respect for the independence and capability of our teachers. This openness and flexibility creates classes that are individually rich and diverse and challenging academically. All of these distinct states of learning unite when we come together for assemblies and when we play side by side at recess.
We would love to have you visit our school.
Mary Lynn Cullen
We believe the constellation of relative strengths and weaknesses among any group of students can differ widely; no two brains and no two children are alike.
Teachers help children learn how to work together cooperatively and effectively.
We of course want children to acquire the basic skills needed for success in school and in life: among other things, the ability to read and write skillfully; a facility with numbers, mathematical concepts and real-life problem solving; and a working knowledge about the natural world. But we should also ask something more ambitious of the place we send our children. Schools should engage learners with lessons and materials that are both interesting and intellectually challenging.
Good teaching demands creativity and innovation. While Paideia teachers take pride in the rich academic lessons and units they develop, they also regularly alter these lessons to best suit their students. The alterations may include incorporating new technologies or checking with colleagues and other professional references for different strategies. All teachers in the elementary program rely on the elementary school librarians to gather reference material and resources.
Dedicated and innovative teachers are the single most important resource in creating and implementing curricula appropriately demanding and engaging to their students. Paideia both attracts and supports teachers capable of this level of professionalism and provides the structure so they can continue to grow as well as coordinate their courses of study with other teachers.
While individual classrooms might differ somewhat in how they organize assignments, administer tests, or undertake projects, every class is poised to meet the needs of the students within it.
A self-contained classroom—one in which children spend most of their academic time in one room rather than moving about the school for different disciplines— puts children, rather than discrete subjects, at the center of focus.
Students are able to develop a strong bond with their teachers and classmates which provides for a secure and nurturing classroom climate.
Most of our classrooms are multi-age, meaning that the age range of the children spans one and a half to two years, or the equivalent of two grades. We use this arrangement because it allows both academic and social flexibility.
At Paideia we of course want children to acquire the basic skills needed for success in school and in life: among other things, the ability to read and write skillfully; a facility with numbers, mathematical concepts and real-life problem solving; and a working knowledge about the natural world. But we should also ask something more ambitious of the place we send our children. Schools should engage learners with lessons and materials that are both interesting and intellectually challenging.