"Four Dimensions. Our program focuses equally on the acquisition of basic skills, the accumulation and integration of knowledge, the development of academic discipline, and the use to which learning may be put. We value what children learn, how they learn, their commitment to education, and what they actually do with their learning.
I. Basic Studies. Our program is founded on curricula that provide breadth and depth in the fundamental subject areas: mathematics, science, social studies, and language arts. These comprise the basic skills and knowledge that will sustain our youngsters as lifelong learners. The school day provides ample blocks of time for these core areas of study.
II. Exploration and Enrichment. Our students learn through exploration and discovery. In addition to core studies, we provide enrichment classes in art, music, foreign languages, physical education, and computer and technology. Other enrichment opportunities include drama, declamation, arts and crafts, photography, chorus, literary magazine, chess, sports, hiking, survival skills, and robotics—augmented by assemblies and seminars built around special topics.
III. Commitment and Discipline. Rules and expectations provide boundaries and benchmarks. Academic discipline implies adherence to a Code of Conduct rooted in honesty, assumption of responsibility, respect for oneself and others, and basic courtesy and decorum. We urge our students to:
Always do their best.
Obey class rules and guidelines.
Come to school on time, fully prepared.
Share in the spirit of cooperation.
Show a positive attitude.
Be excellent ambassadors of LTS.
Be responsible citizens.
Apply their knowledge for the greater good.
IV. Knowledge in Action. At LTS we are committed to nurturing a sense of compassion, respect, and responsibility, not only by what we teach and learn, but how we teach and learn—together. We aim to wed knowledge to action by providing students with opportunities to explore and actualize their values—through classes in life skills, after-school volunteerism, and extracurricular activities.
A Distinctive Curriculum. It is vital that students and parents—current or prospective—understand clearly what Lake Tahoe School is, what it is about. We believe our school is special in terms of several distinctive characteristics, and that these provide reasons for affiliating with the school. We think of these attributes—some of them philosophic, others thematic—as foci:
1. A child-centered program. At LTS, the child is central. Curricular units and assignments are adaptable in terms of (a) the theory of "multiple intelligences"; (b) giftedness and special needs; and (c) the diverse requirements of a heterogeneous student population.
2. An emphasis on communication. We rank reading comprehension, writing, and oral communication at the top of the "learning hierarchy." Teachers of sequential grades and those responsible for different subjects collaborate to ensure that reading, writing, and research skills are continuously honed. We see face-to-face oral communication as a force for strengthening one's sense of self and building character, and therefore stress in all grades student interaction, class discussion, and oral presentations. We mentor school-wide declamation presentations.
3. A cultural grounding. Our faculty, themselves immersed in the liberal arts and humanities, view these as the foundation of an authentic education—both intrinsically, and as preparation for life. We strive to ground our students in the great ideas, themes, values, images, and "fictions" comprising our cultural heritage—American, Western, and world. We do this through storytelling, the study of mythology and folklore, integrative seminars that respond to perennial social issues, and increasing exposure to the great historical civilizations. By Grade 4 the Trojan Wars are presented over several weeks. In Middle School, the great historical epochs—ancient, Medieval/Renaissance, and "modern"—are studied in detail as precursors to the world of today and tomorrow.
4. An integrated curriculum. Our teachers understand knowledge and learning as an integral process that transcends the boundaries of traditional academic subjects. They appreciate the value of crossing disciplines in lessons and assignments; of integrating instructional goals and materials of (several) different fields of study. They see integration as intellectually liberating and inspiring—and an efficient way of reinforcing learning. For example, integrating a poetry unit with Spanish translation and computer keyboarding—writing poems in English, translating them into Spanish, all word processed in the Computer Lab—engages student interest while reinforcing several skills simultaneously.
5. A humanistic education. We do not shirk our responsibility to study values, teach ethics, compare the civil principles of the world's great civilizations, and inculcate as standards of behavior respect, decorum, and integrity. We teach cooperation and responsibility, and expect our students to be cooperative and responsible. Ultimately, we hope to mesh an appreciation of the duty to oneself and one's own happiness with our obligations to others.
6. A Tahoe orientation. We take advantage of the manifold opportunities—in science, outdoor education, physical education, aesthetics—provided here in the Tahoe region. Field trips (to the Nevada Museum of Art, to the ballet, to the Regional Science Fair, to list just a few) are abundant, as are nature outings in the form of hikes, snowshoeing expeditions, and camping trips. These are augmented by visits to the school by area educators and artists (by representatives of Parasol agencies, by musicians from the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra, by performers affiliated with the Nevada "Arts in the Schools" program, and so on). And not least of all, once a week, from January to March, our students spend the afternoon in area skiing programs.
7. A commitment to the environment. Related to our Tahoe orientation, but transcending it, is Lake Tahoe School's deep commitment to the natural environment, and to environmental issues. We aim, as a school community, to manifest—both academically, and in our day-to-day operations—sound environmental practices, and to inspire in one another both a celebration of, and a sense of responsibility for, the health and beauty of our natural world.
8. A commitment to serve the community. At LTS, public service and volunteerism constitute a value, a theme, and actual activities that are part of the curriculum. We extol service to others and volunteerism as a major topic under "Life Skills," and require of our students a minimum number of "service hours," increasing at each grade level. Our students have been involved in Project MANA food drives, a Pennies Drive for the American Leukemia and Lymphona Society, and the Multiple Dystrophy Hop-a-thon, to name just a few projects. The Volunteer Club, which meets weekly, augments in-class community service activities.
Excerpted from the preschool's website