Our Mission Statement

The Knowing Garden Elementary School offers a collaborative and interactive approach to education. Our teacher and parent community empowers individuals to love learning, cultivate relationships, embrace nature and engage with the world as innovators and catalysts.

How Learning Comes to Life at The Knowing Garden:

– Our classroom is open and emergent. Our students are encouraged to express themselves. We are not improving on the existing model, we are part of the movement that is redefining elementary school.

– Our teacher builds lesson plans on the interests of the students.  Every student keeps a portfolio of work to showcase their individual growth. Presentation of concepts and hypotheses in multiple forms of representation — print, art, construction, drama, music, puppetry, and shadow play — are viewed as essential to children’s understanding of experience.

– We use the National Core Standards only as a touchstone for inspiring projects. We do not test nor assess based on those standards.

– Every student spends time analyzing, integrating, and applying concepts to real-life learning opportunities. Compared to traditional schools, our day includes conflict resolution, community meetings, more writing and project-based experiences, zero fill-in-the-blanks worksheets and currently, no homework.

– Collaborative group work, both large and small, is considered valuable and necessary to advance cognitive

development.  Children are encouraged to dialogue, critique, compare, negotiate, hypothesize, and problem solve through group work. There is high emphasis on the collaboration among home, school and community to support the learning of the child.

– Every student participates in Math, Science, Engineering, Language Arts, Storytelling, Music, Art, Environmental studies and Physical activity all facilitated by a credentialed teacher.  Our students learn through the experiences of touching, moving, listening, seeing and hearing.  Projects may last a few days to several months or the entire school year. Our teachers are co-teachers working alongside children.  Our teachers are coaches, resources and guides lending expertise to children but they recognize that they are learners too. Our teachers learn with, listen to and know their students.

– Role of the Parent: Active participation is an essential component to the education experience at TKG.  Our families are actively involved in meetings, celebrations and events.  Our parents are involved in decisions about the school and educational approach.  Parents are aware of what is happening in the classroom through weekly updates, seminars, resources and meetings.  Communication is open between parents and teachers.


We facilitate growth with:

• Real World Experiences and Opportunities in an Emergent Format: Teacher as coordinator of child-inspired lessons
• Documentation of Experiential Learning (action, adventure, free choice, cooperative and service learning)
• A Whole Child Approach that supports a child’s emotional, social, physical and cognitive development
• Outdoor and Nature based Play
• Cognitive, Social, Physical and Environmental Provocations
• Environment free of behavior modification techniques involving praise, punishment, fear, shame or manipulation
• Parent Involvement
• Intentional Spaces that are comfortable and feature gentle hues


We will evaluate our effectiveness in the way:

• students learn to solve problems
• students practice thinking creatively and discover their own interests and passions
• students learn about themselves, others and their environments
• students develop strong, clear and confident voices
• the community grows and fosters a sense unity and belonging
• how we involve our greater community in our activities


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