"Good day, my name is Brian Kearsey. After spending 20 years as educators on both coasts of our country, my wife and I founded Crossroads School as an environment where we could raise and educate our daughter, Christa Grace, in close proximity to our families.
Crossroads. The name reflects the eclectic array of spiritual and educational experiences and influences that have shaped who we are and how we teach. In developing our worldview and approach to education, we have consciously reflected on both the positive as well as the negative aspects of those influences and experiences.
Our spiritual lives were incubated by our parents, who were Catholic and Jewish. During college and early adulthood we explored many eastern and Native American traditions. Eventually we realized that what nurtured our faith the most was attempting to live the simple, though challenging, principles that Christ taught, but without dogma and ritual.
Enjoying the blessings of earning our living in environments that allow us to live and teach these principles daily has nourished the need for fellowship in our lives more than organized religion did. As a result, Crossroads has no religious affiliations, yet, much like the founders of our republic, our commitment to Godly principles is deep-rooted. Because we "live it" rather than "preach it," families with widely divergent religious views find comfort in our spiritually nourishing environment.
Our educational views were initially formed by negative experiences in both Catholic and government (i.e. "public") schools – we were both sensitive, creative, intelligent kids who fell through the gaping cracks in the traditional system. We both turned to studying educational philosophy during college in an attempt to understand what went wrong in our lives, and then turned to teaching to implement what we were learning. Rather than fall into a firm set of ideas on how to teach, we both consciously fostered an attitude to continually explore and re-evaluate, with both our heads and hearts, what the individual children we were teaching needed and to what each best responded. From Maria Montessori (we're both certified Montessori teachers) to Krinshnamurti, Steiner, Holt, and Gatto, we realized many educators offered many valuable insights, but that our eye must always be "in the moment" and on the changing needs of the individual child when choosing from the many tools at our disposal.
The result of these influences has been a radical approach to education – we respect each child as an individual human being endowed with the divine breath of life. We respect the fact that individual children have unique, individual needs and talents. We respect the right of individual parents, as opposed to society or the state, to make the ultimate decisions about charting a specific academic course for their children.
To educate literally means "draw out" not stuff in. Children love to learn - it's a basic human instinct. Education should be rooted in fun, spontaneous quenching of natural curiosity. We are humble enough to constantly question our assumptions about how to enhance each unfolding soul, and individually tailor our program to complement the unique talents and meet the changing needs of each child. Based on feedback from parents and input from the child, our teachers customize individual goals for each student and develop individual guidelines for achieving those goals. These guides are designed to maximize individuality and flexibility while maintaining a balance with real-life scheduling constraints. Within their framework we encourage children to pursue their own interests in an environment ripe with choices.
Our incredible ratios (7:1 pre-k, 8:1 elementary, & 6:1 high school) afford the luxury of mixing several ages in class. The challenges and rewards of this more natural setting come hand-in-hand. It softens the developmental differences in children while fostering broader social pallets. Children work at their own pace, soaring years ahead of "grade level," maintaining a traditional pace, or lagging "behind" without the trade-offs involved in skipping ahead or the stigma of getting "left back." (Though students who opt for Regents or Advanced Placement classes and those taking SAT's and college entrance exams are well prepared for how the real world evaluates academic achievement.)
Interaction between the classes is permitted on an individual basis as appropriate. This aspect of our school reaps a bountiful harvest in the natural, spontaneous relationships that blossom. How sweet to watch a 15 year-old finish algebra and proceed to crawl around on hands and knees, tickling a 4 year-old as the toddler feigns an attempted escape! To see the loving concern of an 8 year-old gently consoling a preschooler whose mom just left for Chicago on a business trip! To observe an older child helping a young friend on his lap as he sounds out his first word!
Excerpted from the preschool's website