Paideia’s philosophy is based on the belief that to educate well, schools must be individualized. The best education acknowledges the innate curiosity of children and their desire to understand and master their environment. Because children have different interests and learning styles and because they progress at different rates, an effective educational program must be tailored to the talents and needs of each child. The best education also recognizes and reflects each child’s ethnic and cultural heritage in an atmosphere of tolerance and respect.
The elementary school faculty emphasizes the acquisition of basic skills: reading, writing, mathematics, and the scientific method. The development of social skills is an important part of every learning experience at Paideia. Teachers frequently employ nontraditional means to achieve these traditional goals. Most academic work at the elementary school level is carried out through individually prescribed instruction in mixed-age or multi-age classrooms that emphasize individual challenge and achievement rather than competition. Teachers create in their classrooms a highly academic environment that promotes students’ confidence and desire to learn. In addition to teaching basic skills and content areas, Paideia encourages each child to develop abilities in art, music, and physical education under the guidance of specialists. These activities are often coordinated with themes and subjects of classroom study.
Founded by a group of parents in 1971, Paideia continues to encourage the active involvement of all parents in classroom and schoolwide activities. Paideia assumes that the responsibility for a child’s education remains primarily with the child’s parents. In order for parents to exercise this responsibility successfully, they need the opportunity to engage in the life of their child’s school. Children, teachers, and parents working together make the educational experience complete. And, by enlarging the pool of resources beyond the faculty, parents enable the school to become a richer place for all children.