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John Winthrop School

66 Marlborough Street
Boston, MA 02116

(617) 267-7159


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

Day in the Life

General School Mission

PHILOSOPHY Our philosophy is based on what we know about the nature of children and the developmental process. Some of our assumptions are:
1. Learning takes place when the child interacts with peers, objects, and significant adults.
2. Children are by nature active (rather than solely reactive). They are curious, exploratory, and strive toward competence.
3. Children develop unevenly and not in a linear fashion as they grow toward psychosocial maturity and psychological well being. A wide variety of factors in the child's life, as well as the manner in which he interprets his own experience, will have bearing on the pattern and rate of his progress towards greater social and emotional maturity. 4. Developmental crises that occur in the normal process of growing during the early years of a child's life may offer maximum opportunities for psychological growth, but these crises are also fraught with possibilities for regression or even negative adaptation.
5. The child's interactions with significant people in her life play a major part in her development, directly and indirectly. Since interaction is a reciprocal process, children interacting affect each other and changes occur in both of them. The significant person acts differently with different children, not only because the children are different, but also because the interactional process is unique for each two people.
6. Before the child can use the learning opportunities of his environment effectively for his own growth, his psychological needs and his needs for physical and psychological safety must be met. It is crucial that human aspects of his environment should convince him that he is safe, and that his well-being is of genuine concern to important others in his world.
7. Children strive for mastery in the world around them, and in their own private inner world. The two worlds are interrelated and the child needs support and understanding as he operates in both.
8. Each child's self concept is a combination of her feeling of self-worth and her inner sense of competence. The child's feeling of self-worth grows out of positive and accepting responses to her in terms of who and what she is, and not for what she can do. The child's sense of competence develops as she perceives her increasing power and mastery within her environment. Her expectations of herself in terms of competence reflect her perceptions of the expectations of others.
CURRICULUM GOALS Our program goals for children include the development of:
1. A positive self image.
2. An enthusiasm for learning and becoming an active, self-directed learner.
3. Pro-social behavior and skills such as engaging in collaborative play and conflict resolution with others, sharing, and functioning in large group interactions.
4. A feeling of community and the development of respect and empathy for others; an appreciation for diversity in culture, gender, ethnicity, and race. 5. Self-help skills that foster health and independence.
6.Emerging cognitive, social, language, and physical skills, the manipulation of symbols, and developmentally appropriate mastery.
7. The confidence to reach their individual potential.

Home-School Connection

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Sit on the board of trustees
  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • Fundraise
  • Are able to visit the school anytime we want
  • Go on field trips
  • Volunteer in the classroom
  • Receive newsletters

Modes of Communication

  • Notes
  • Phone Calls
  • Email
  • Special Meetings
  • Two or More Regular Conferences
  • Drop-Off
  • Pick-Up
  • Regular newsletter/printed updates circulated to the whole school


Separation is Handled through:

  • Home visits by teachers
  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Small group sessions
  • Parents in classroom early on
  • Abbreviated schedule at start of school year