Our Philosophy

The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be ignited. — Plutarch

Our goal at NCCL School is to help children gain an appreciation of learning and to become confident and proactive learners throughout their lives. By providing an environment where children feel free to take risks and to discover and be recognized for their individual skills and talents, we are able to help them achieve this goal. 22155394202_dbfee8baa4_z

Because of our small size and emphasis on community, children are in a supportive environment where exploration and self-challenge is not only invited but nurtured. In addition to a 11:1 student to teacher ratio, children spend an average of two years in each homeroom. This allows teachers to really get to know where each child’s strengths and struggles are and help them work through all types of challenges — whether they be academic or social.

At NCCL, social and emotional development is emphasized as much as academic development. We feel it’s important to help children build healthy relationships with their peers and adults and understand that principles like trust, caring, and cooperation form the foundations of these relationships. Ultimately, we hope children become responsible, open-minded, and kind adults who see themselves as world citizens.

Thoreau sketchWe value the arts. Through art children get in touch with their emotions, thoughts, and dreams. Art teaches children to take risks, problem solve, share ideas, and persevere. We study art history, draw, paint, and sculpt. We perform an annual school play, sing songs each week at All-School Meeting, and everyone participates in music classes. Art enables children to express themselves, discover their relationships with their peers, families, and their world.

We evaluate students at NCCL by assessing their progress in each subject area but we also look at their attributes as a learner — the level and range of curiosity, how they work independently and within a group, and how well they sustain their effort. This allows us to look at the whole picture. Parents receive written reports three times a year and have conferences twice a year where information is shared. Evaluating children in this way helps us see each child as a unique learner, rather than a grade.

Privy digWe strongly believe that a diverse group and parent involvement allows for a more robust and integrated community. We see diversity in many ways and this has important implications for admissions. We strive to have a diverse group of families, as well as children who have a range of skills and abilities.

Much of what we do at NCCL is about giving children the space, support, and time necessary for growth. When we do this, children take chances. They immerse themselves in projects, take on challenging problems, and ultimately, responsibility for their own learning. When we provide an atmosphere conducive to these principles, we ignite in children the kind of passion for learning we have ourselves.