Philosophy of Education

The more slowly trees grow at first, the sounder they are at the core, and I think the same is true of human beings.
— Henry David Thoreau

We believe that the path toward an eco-conscious society is to nurture empathy and develop a deep, caring relationship with the land rather than from a position of fear and hopelessness. Our philosophy of education is inspired by Waldorf Education, a form of humanistic education developed by Rudolf Steiner in the early twentieth century that incorporates the arts and aesthetic experiences and espouses “Slow Education” principles. Taproot's philosophy is holistic, giving equal measure to the realms of thinking, feeling, and willing. We approach teaching and learning through the lens of childhood development with the idea that “slow education” seeks to promote learning in depth through discovery, rather than a results-driven curriculum based on generic goals and unreliable standards. By encouraging arts-based learning and connections through aesthetic experiences, Taproot cultivates beauty, imagination, and caring relations. We strive for children to learn through discovery and self reflection, bringing context and value to learning experiences while developing the capacity for learning to care for the environment. When children relate what they learn to their own experience, they are interested and alive, and what they learn becomes their own. 

We believe education should…

  • educate the whole student, aiming beyond their intellect to acknowledge and engage their physical, emotional, spiritual, and social being
  • be developmentally appropriate while at the same time acknowledging that a child constructs her knowledge from her experiences with the environment and within a broader social system
  • be ecological by exploring the interconnectedness of the world through a systems and resilience thinking lens and by helping to nurture relationships with each other and with the natural world
  • be grounded in place  
  • be integrated across disciplines and immersed in the arts
  • be imaginative and transformative, motivating students to become empowered change agents
  • be experiential, allowing students to become immersed in aesthetic experiences while allowing time for critical analysis and reflection
  • nurture empathetic individuals 
  • develop culturally aware individuals who acknowledge many different worldviews and values
  • nurture creative individuals who are self-motivated, self-directed, and life-long learners