Our Core Values

Our values are what bind us together and shape our world. The core values of the Highlander School guide our decision making process with regard to our curriculum, professional development, community interaction, and fiscal spending.

We Believe:



Relationships are a framework for our lives together, our thinking and planning. We believe that knowledge is constructed in relationship with others, our community, our environment, and materials; every encounter is an opportunity for an exchange of ideas and new perspectives.

The Rights of the Child

The child has a right to be seen as a competent and capable human being. We believe that children are born ready and eager to build loving relationships and to explore the world around them. We believe children have the right to be producers of their own knowledge instead of being immersed with predetermined and prefabricated educational standards. Children have the right to play that is chosen and directed from their free will. Children have the right of support from thoughtful and reflective adults who scaffold and support their play experiences, and continuously seek the perspective of the child. Children have the right to have their curious, eager minds, and ideas taken seriously. We will treat children as today’s citizens, not future ones. We commit ourselves to creating a culture that fosters their self-esteem and dignity with love and respect.

The Rights of the Families

We believe that families have the right to be viewed as capable and devoted guardians of children. We believe that family partnerships are essential is in creating a community of learners and constructing our school culture. Families have the right to be respected, offered clear communications, to have personal privacy and to be an integral part of the learning process. We will always seek and respect the parent’s points of view and perspectives. 

The Rights of Teachers

Teachers have the right to be regarded as skilled, competent researchers and professionals who are eager for growth. We believe teachers have the right to receive fair wages for their work, to expect administrative transparency and to be integral participants in the school’s program. Teachers have a right to the time, space, resources and support to accomplish their work with young children.

Democracy and a Sense of Belonging

We believe that education has an essential role in a democratic society. Therefore, we believe that every member of the community should feel empowered and have real opportunities to participate in decision making processes. 

Equality and Social Justice

We believe that every human and thus every child is endowed with certain inalienable rights that include the right to attain his or her fullest potential through creative expression, thought , inquiry, collaboration and dissension. It is our unwavering belief that education is a vehicle for citizens to realize those capabilities and create a more democratic, pluralistic and just society. We believe high quality early childhood education and care is the gateway for equality and social justice; and that experiences in progressive programs for young children are greater indicators of later “success” or fulfillment. We believe that every child, family, and teacher has the right to equal opportunities to learn regardless of their learning style, gender, age, ability, race, ethnicity or family background. We are committed to creating a quality program that is accessible to a diverse group of children and families.

The Natural World and Conservation

We believe that one vital role of education is to connect young children to the natural world and to offer them the skills to serve as custodians for this earth. In a fast-paced world, our goal is to move slowly with great intention and help children connect to the rhythm of the natural world. We delight and celebrate in the change of seasons.  You might find us studying the cycles of life and bringing the elements of the outdoors, inside. We use natural and found materials, guiding children to care for their world through conservation, recycling and reusing.

 Our program will emphasize reducing unnecessary consumption, using recycled and found materials, utilizing products that do not harm the earth and making these practices part of our learning approaches with young children, their families and our community. This value also extends to our value of operating a school that is fiscally responsible and operates within our means through creativity and without sacrificing our core values. 

Multiple Perspectives

We value multiple perspectives as this supports and challenges our own thinking and helps us to create new and deeper understandings. We avoid conformity but instead seek new and divergent voices. In that context, we celebrate intellectual freedom and creative conflict.


We believe in making visible the thinking behind our planning and the hands-on work itself with young children and each other. We welcome discussions and questions about our planning, work and documentation. Our desire is to create a program that is open to the community for collaboration with educators, in early learning programs, colleges and universities.


We value sheer happiness and delight! As a community, we cherish the richness of learning as it unfolds. We pay close attention to this process as we believe that we should be ruled not by the clock but by the natural rhythms of our bodies. We value our routines and see them as opportunities for meaningful learning. You’ll find us deeply engaged in play, projects, and conversations for extended periods of time; we feel that this allows for complexity, as well as, the joy of being.