Our Way

Neighborhood School offers a unique experience of Personalized, Process Learning, Within a Community.


We strive to develop our students’ confidence and self-esteem, and take time to express our appreciation of children as unique and valuable people. This expression occurs in verbal and nonverbal recognition of each child’s positive qualities and actions. Children are given structured opportunities to make choices as well as to complete assigned tasks while receiving individual attention.

We recognize that children learn and develop socially, emotionally, cognitively and physically in a variety of ways. At Neighborhood School, teachers respect and respond to our students’ current development and learning strategies. Teachers listen to children, consider each child’s needs, and record growth through writing samples, reading logs, math and science work samples, art work and anecdotal notes. This information guides teachers in preparing what to teach and in knowing how best to meet an individual child’s needs.

…Process Learning…

IMG_2224Students at Neighborhood School learn to take risks and make decisions about their learning. They are given the responsibility and tools needed in order to generate their own responses to what they learn.

At Neighborhood School, learning takes place:

  • in thematic units that often spur research projects and provide a context for learning.
  • in individual and group discussions of learning strategies; children are encouraged and challenged to talk and think about their own reasoning process.
  • in play when children are encouraged to become engrossed in ideas, scenarios and experimentation.
  • through the arts, in weekly music and art classes, whole-school drama productions, concerts, and weekly assemblies.

From Level 1 to Level 4, students experience the whole idea of a subject, see themselves as active participants with the subject and understand why the parts are useful to learn. We strive to foster a joy of learning using the teacher as a model learner. The teacher demonstrates how to gather information, ask questions, and formulate theories.
Along with teaching information and skills, we emphasize learning how to think. When a student cannot think of a way out of a dilemma, we work to focus attention on how to move forward, rather than simply providing a solution.

…Within a Community.

_wsb_375x315_IMG_1318At Neighborhood School, children learn to discover and value each others’ differences as people and as learners. Time is spent in learning about social and emotional issues and in developing effective communication. Cultural diversity of children is represented and valued. Within a cooperative learning situation, positive interdependence develops among students. Students see that they can reach their own learning goals while they work to insure that others also reach their goals. Personal accountability and effective problem-solving are also stressed. Students discuss material with each other, help each other understand, and encourage each other to work hard.

Learning within a community is seen during classroom meetings, school assemblies, family gatherings, and as talents are shared in performances. We encourage social responsibility through activities among all ages with neighborhood organizations such as Boston Healthcare for the Homeless and the Franklin Park Coalition.
In 2011-12, NS Level 4 students advocated and raised funds for the Jamaica Plain Branch of the Boston Public Library.