"The Park School embodies both in its tradition and in its daily practice two assumptions: first, that human beings are capable and desirous of rational self-discipline and of acting towards others with respect, kindness, concern, and moral conviction; and second, that the activity of learning is an expression of positive energies, fulfills natural impulse, and enriches life.
As young people respond to the influence of these ideals, learning to trust and assert their own intellectual and moral powers as they develop, they acquire a sense of confidence in themselves and others which will inspire a productive adulthood. Since the quality of expectation is most important, the belief that positive expectations produce positive virtues is fundamental to the practice of the school.
The conviction that the child contains inner strength, talents, and powers which can be liberated and nurtured allows a variety of educational techniques and methods and is manifested in the school in different ways. Accepting this belief requires recognition of the excesses it may bring—occasional sentimentality, self-indulgence, disorder, and untidiness. Yet it insists that the teacher's authority as an adult and as a scholar should be used not to suppress or constrain, but to provide the skills, opportunities, challenges, and encouragement to bring about the flowering and fulfillment of the individual to think and act in the world with responsible freedom.
The academic process offers young people a dynamic view of the nature of knowledge and the experiences of learning, and supports their efforts to construct life-affirming meaning. In every area of the curriculum the school encourages substantial student commitment to reading, writing, enquiry, and focused discussion in order to secure the factual knowledge and conceptual structures essential for intellectual competence.
Thus considered, school activities become both ends in themselves and means toward more complex, more difficult ends. But however rigorous, school work need not be alienating or painful, nor need success be measured by comparison to others. Rather, achievement is the result of the use by the child, under proper stimulation and challenge, of the natural powers of mind and body which in their exercise and application provide pleasure and happiness.
To participate in the life of The Park School requires trust in these good prospects, effort to sustain these positive expectations, and confidence that, under their influence, children will grow to adulthood possessing the power to enact in their lives these beliefs about themselves and others.
Excerpted from the preschool's website