Guiding Principles



We believe play is one of the most important languages of children and that they need play in order to learn. Children process new information and their worlds through the hard work of play. We offer multiple indoor and outdoor play opportunities throughout the day.

Learning is Not Linear  

While Silver Oaks Cooperative has a curriculum and suggested pacing, we understand that children do not always adapt to our guidelines. We believe that any curriculum and content learning should adapt to the individual children in a class. Silver Oaks Cooperative achieves this through a high adult to child ratio, and strategic collaborative teacher planning. Content learning should be in-depth and offer students choice. We view collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creative innovation as a foundation for all content learning.

The Great Outdoors

We believe the outdoors provide one of the most important sources of inspiration in children’s lives. Where possible, we take learning outside. We “play” outside, rain, snow, or shine. On extreme weather days, we offer children the choice to go outside, and many will happily and willingly accept. We require appropriate clothing and extra clothes sent daily in each child’s backpack on wet or snowy days.

Social-Emotional Learning

We prioritize the social and emotional needs of the children. We believe that children are people, equal to adults and deserving of our highest respect. We also believe that children are learning how to navigate the world and all of its complexities, and it is our job to coach them. Our classrooms are free of extrinsic motivational tools as we strive to develop an intrinsic love of learning and joy in the classroom. We practice Peaceful Teaching as outlined on Aha Parenting:

The Hundred Languages of Children

We believe the arts should be taught explicitly and also integrated into core content learning.

It Takes a Village

We are a community of educators, children, and families. Parents and guardians should play a critical role in their children’s education.