Blue Oak School offers a challenging and stimulating education to children of diverse backgrounds and interests. Balancing structure with choice and the requirements of the group with the gifts of the individual, the School holds itself to the highest standards of responsible educational innovation, so that students develop the skills and habits of learning that endure.
Through the culture and community of the School, teachers nurture the development of character and foster confidence, creativity, flexibility and curiosity in each child. Students in turn encourage each other to learn. Relationships among freedom, responsibility, community and environment are explored through studies that engage students as stewards in service to the School, the region and the world.
Blue Oak School is committed to providing children with an optimal learning environment where they are encouraged to examine their interests, expand their understanding and engage their imaginations. Small class sizes allow for individual attention and a collaborative mix of teachers who are creative, passionate about the lessons they teach, and most importantly, deeply committed to the children they serve. The result is a vibrant community where learning is an active, joyful process of discovery.
Students are encouraged to explore an integrated liberal arts curriculum through experiences that develop understanding rather than mere memorization. The program of study builds a solid base in the fundamentals of reading, writing and mathematics, and the first-rate Blue Oak School faculty emphasizes themes of character education, environmental responsibility, global perspectives and community service.
The Blue Oak School curriculum, developed by the School’s faculty, adheres to the following seven guiding principles:
- Children "learn by doing." At Blue Oak School students experience what they study. They do not just read about science, they explore and make hypotheses and then test them. They devise mathematical models and use them in practical applications; they read children's literature and create their own stories. They learn music and compose and perform their own.
- Curriculum is child-centered and developmentally appropriate. Learning takes place in a meaningful context and is tied to children's needs and interests.
- The curriculum builds from a foundation. It draws on what students already know and extends their established base of knowledge. Students connect to new learning and retain the known.
Understanding, rather than memorization, is stressed. Students transfer learning to new situations, teach other students and create using what they have understood.
- The process of learning is emphasized. When process is central, there is no need to cheat, no need for parents to do homework, no need to avoid risks. Risk-taking and experiencing an occasional failure are encouraged.
- The curriculum is integrated. Blue Oak School faculty blend disciplines to stimulate understanding from different viewpoints. Teaching is extended through literature, music, art, science and mathematics.
Inquiry is at the heart of the curriculum. Important questions are asked and addressed.