Our Philosophy & Guiding Principles
Mission & Philosophy
Peconic Community School's mission is to foster reflective, resilient, compassionate learners in a safe, caring and trusting environment.
We nurture children’s natural curiosity, imagination and inclination for creativity and play, and integrate the land, environment and community through the unique landscape of the North Fork, to inspire an awareness of self and the surrounding world, and to foster excellence in math, science, literacy, arts and humanities.
Exploration and Discovery
"Education is a social process; education is growth; education is not preparation for life but is life itself." - John Dewey
Learning at the school will occur through active exploration, of the self, others, and the surrounding environment. A hands-on approach to learning will guide instruction, as we value the child's experience with a subject over the rote learning of facts. Students will have the opportunity to dig and plant, find and draw, read and act, listen and sing, hike and write.
Cooperation and Collaboration
"Great discoveries and improvements invariably involve the cooperation of many minds." - Alexander Graham Bell
An emphasis will be placed on cooperation and collaboration, among students, among teachers and between the students and teachers. Collaborative learning is an inherent part of multi-age classrooms. Research shows that learning through discussion and debate in small groups enhances analytical thinking skills. Because we value a democratic approach at our school, we recognize that the teachers can collaborate and learn from the children, as much as students can learn from their teachers. We also place tremendous value on collaborations within the community. Whether it is with local parents, professionals, artists or our elders, we envision educational, cultural, environmental and artistic collaborations.
Creativity and Imagination
"The creation of an imaginary situation is not a fortuitous fact in a child's life, but is rather the first manifestation of the child's emancipation from situational constraints" -Vygotsky
The integration of the arts and fostering young people's individual imaginations is central to our philosophy. We will integrate the arts on all levels of learning. Through movement and yoga our students will learn about the body. Through plein air painting students will view the landscape of the East End from a new perspective. Through acting and singing our children will embody the rich local history of the North Fork and surrounding areas. And through structured and unstructured play we will invite imaginations to soar.
Conservation and Sustainability
"When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect" - Aldo Leopold
In an age of environmental uncertainty it is imperative to arm our students with the awareness and tools needed to address climate change, global warming and a deep respect for the earth. As such, a strong conservation ethic and stewardship will be a key tenet of the school. And, honoring our students' intrinsic innovation, we will turn to them to come up with new ways to honor, protect, and sustain our natural resources. Place-based education practice and service learning projects such as Roots & Shoots allow us to foster a strong conservation and sustainability ethic.
Wonder and Reverence
"If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder without any such gift from the fairies, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in" - Rachel Carson
Nurturing our children's sense of wonder will be a key principle at the school. One of the most effective ways to accomplish this is by spending time in the natural world. We are blessed to be surrounded by natural beauty here on the North Fork and not a day will go by where this will go unnoticed. By exploring our local farms, waterways, beaches, and trails, we will draw out that natural sense of wonder in our children and by encouraging reflection on these great gifts we will bring forth reverence. We will invite thoughtful reflection and response by the child by listening to and encouraging our students' questions about the mysteries of life, nature and the world around them.
Respect and Responsibility
"Respect is an attitude that we instill in our children as they become school-agers, and responsibility is an act that we inspire in our children as they grow through the middle years and become adolescents." - Zoe Weil
We believe that respect begins with the self. By respecting our own bodies and minds, we learn to respect others, our communities, and the earth. By teaching respect for the community school- from the people to the physical space – we will ask our teachers and students to take responsibility for themselves and for one another. We will also cultivate these virtues through civic engagement and reflection, encouraging thoughtful citizenship in every realm - from the classroom to the global community.
Choice and Empowerment
"The ultimate aim of education is to enable individuals to become the architects of their own education and through that process to continually reinvent themselves." - Elliot W. Eisner
We believe that the opportunity to exercise choice in the classroom provides a pathway for individual empowerment. When it comes to learning, the spark of curiosity and interest is ignited when students have a say in what they will be studying and how they will approach the learning experience. Our students will have a voice in how the school is run - from administration to curriculum development.
Multiple Intelligences and Academic Excellence
"Teaching which ignores the realities of children will be rejected as surely as any graft which attempts to ignore the body's immune system." - Howard Gardner
We will recognize the uniqueness of each student and his particular aptitudes, proclivities and strengths by using Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences in the formulation of curriculum and instruction. We believe it is possible to identify and draw upon an individual learner's particular intelligence and foster this through targeted teaching and learning styles. We espouse techniques for learning where students make meaning and learn through experience and artistic exploration, because research has proven these methods to be successful. By using educational methods that link up with individual learning styles, we expect success and academic excellence at our school.