Philosophy

Walden Center & School was founded in 1958 as a place of community, artistic expression, and learning. An integral part of our philosophy is the regular and meaningful participation by all members of our community: children, parents, and teachers.

Philosophy of Teaching

We embrace a progressive, constructivist, and developmental model of teaching and learning. What this means is that Walden students actively participate in their own learning. They look, listen, and touch. They ask, answer, and discuss. They measure, move, and create. Walden students find creative and useful solutions to interesting and complex problems. It also means that each student is valued for, but not defined by, her/his unique learning style, and the pace at which she/he learns. We believe also that by including art, music, drama/movement in our core curricula, as an integral part of the academic program, we help students develop higher order (critical) thinking skills. Research has shown that people who study the arts have an edge in problem solving due to their experience in thinking multi-modally. You can find more detail about our philosophy of teaching here.

Philosophy of Community

Walden began as a small community of parents and children creating a unique learning environment. The founders of Walden saw it as a center for cultural, educational, and political change because of the organic relationship and interdependence of all members of the community: children, teachers, and parents. A diverse community continues to be a cornerstone of a Walden education. Children see their parents involved in their school and know that their education is important. They watch the adults at Walden interact and learn how to be members of a community. Walden's small size creates opportunities for teachers, parents, and children to get to know each other, have fun together, and support each other. Parents' and families' participation is also important because we depend on our parents’ work commitment hours, their committee work, and their volunteerism in support of our many community events. The enormous generosity of our families, their families, and our alumni helps us keep Walden’s unique vision alive. Walden was founded as and continues to be a Center of learning and creative expression. Monthly assemblies, performances, local fairs, festivals, and seasonal celebrations bring children, teachers, parents, alumni, their families, and the greater community together, and keep our connections strong.

Philosophy of Governance

Walden's founders were pacifist anarchists. As such, they believed strongly in decentralized organizational structures and the importance of creating an environment where every voice could be heard and listened to. Their goal was a governance structure that modeled positive and peaceful decision-making and conflict resolution for children and the entire community. That legacy lives on in Walden's collective structure and the role of consensus in policy and decision-making, as well as in Walden's educational philosophy. Teachers work collectively to oversee the day-to-day running of the school and use a consensus model to reach decisions. Not only does this allow for every voice to be heard, it ensures that multiple viewpoints can be considered. Walden's board of trustees is the Walden Foundation, made up of current Collective members, past and present parents, and one founder. Like the Collective, the Foundation follows a consensus decision-making model. The Foundation is responsible for the fiscal health of the school, safety, and Walden's philosophical underpinnings. The Collective and the Foundation work side by side in a nonhierarchical structure.