Broadoaks Instructional Approach

Broadoaks Children's School offers a challenging and supportive environment where children explore and question and create. Within the comfortable home-like facilities, children learn by doing, under the careful supervision of caring adults, who nurture emerging competencies, self-confidence, and problem solving. The focus is on basic skills, as well as higher-order thinking and creative self-expression. We emphasize strength of mind, body, and character. The learning environment extends into the outdoor play yards and the Whittier College campus.

Younger children dig in sand and dirt, cultivate gardens, paint, and take on a variety of roles in their dramatic play. Older students, too, are actively engaged in learning throughout the day. They ask questions, refine them, and search for answers, often discovering that each "answer" leads to more questions. As teachers observe children in their work and play, they look for opportunities to encourage language, social, motor, and intellectual development. The goal is to promote greater competence and intentional learning.

Philosophy and Teaching Methods

Children’s strengths and interests provide the foundation for active learning and continuous progress.

All Broadoaks teachers are committed to bringing the school’s philosophy to life every day in every classroom. We believe that all children can learn; all children want to learn; and all children want to document their learning.

Children learn best when they are actively engaged in meaningful learning (i.e., learning that is FULL of meaning).

Children learn best in an environment where they are expected to be responsible for their work and their behavior and where each person is responsible for transforming the classroom into a Community of Learners. This aspect of the philosophy is best reflected in the two school rules:

  • Everyone is here to learn.
  • Everyone is here to help everyone else learn.

Children learn best in an atmosphere of mutual respect and support, where each person’s unique perspectives and contributions are highly valued.

Children’s existing strengths and interest provide the beginning point for future learning. (This is a unique feature of Broadoaks’ program, since most instructional programs begin with what children do not know.)


Broadoaks uses the internationally known and well researched High/Scope approach, with its focus on active, hands-on learning and child choice within a structured and supportive environment, where children and teachers share responsibility for initiating and evaluating learning experiences. Broadoaks is viewed as a national leader in High/Scope implementation at the preschool, primary, and upper elementary levels.

Standards-Based Curricula

In the elementary grades, teachers use the California State Curriculum Frameworks and new state curriculum standards as guides for the instructional program. Language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, health, and physical education are taught in developmentally appropriate ways, with little whole-group, teacher-directed instruction at the primary level. Instead, children investigate topics of interest in great depth and practice emerging skills in language arts (reading, writing, listening, speaking), mathematics and other content areas within the context of their investigations. Teachers carefully monitor individual progress in each content area.

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