DIVERSITY AND DEMOCRACY
Since the school’s founding, Blue Oak has been committed to providing a standout progressive education to children of diverse backgrounds and interests. At Blue Oak, we firmly believe that all students and educators benefit from being part of a diverse community where children and adults alike are opened to new perspectives and points of view.
As a member school, Blue Oak embraces NAIS’s shared “Principles of Good Practice.” These principles wisely exhort us to “value the representation and full engagement of individuals whose differences include – but are not limited to – age, ethnicity, family makeup, gender, learning style, physical ability, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status.”
As a progressive school, Blue Oak also embraces a century-long commitment to educating students to be active participants in our democracy. Blue Oak’s seven core principles of teaching and learning promote a commitment to the common good, and to the everyday practice of appreciating the value of diverse perspectives.
In the lower school, for example, each grade’s “social study” challenges children to discover for themselves the myriad ways that they are connected to each other and to our community: from self to school to neighborhood to region to state to nation. As progressive educators put it, this is a developmentally sound and meaningful way of linking the “here and now” to the “far and away.”
In the middle school, an inquiry-based “bottom up” approach to knowledge similarly promotes an inclusive stance in our students. As a result of their Blue Oak education, our students graduate as avid “problem finders” and “solution generators” who care deeply about issues of sustainability, justice, and truth. As philosopher John Dewey so rightly put it in Democracy and Education, “The best type of teaching bears in mind the desirability of effecting this interconnection. It puts the student in the habitual attitude of finding points of contact and mutual bearings.”