Cultivating Intellect, Character & Creativity

Arbor School of Arts and Sciences is a small learning community founded on the premise that education is decisive and enduring to the degree that it supports the development of intellect, character, and creativity.  The Arbor School of Arts & Sciences takes as its goals to:

  • Encourage individual talents so that each child may become an imaginative, independent thinker with a strong sense of self-worth
  • Promote learning as an integrated, interdisciplinary process rather than as a series of isolated subjects
  • Provide an environment where responsibility and sensitivity to the group are balanced by respect for the autonomy and integrity of the individual
  • Create a climate of self-discipline, trust, and mutual regard
  • Help students acquire the tools of inquiry and expression through the study of important ideas, so that each may construct a personally meaningful understanding of the world


Our fundamental goal at Arbor School is to engage children's minds actively within the context of a supportive, stimulating environment. We teach academic skills and content as interrelated disciplines rather than as fragmented lessons.

Basic skills are learned in a meaningful context and become a means for understanding the world, not ends in themselves. Our goals for cultivating intellect encompass three areas: academic skills, knowledge, and habits of thought.


  • Literacy: mastery of receptive and expressive language
  • Mathematics: conceptual understanding and arithmetical competence
  • Science: adopt a scientific attitude by constantly testing and refining one's understanding


  • Scientific literacy
  • Cultural, historical, and global awareness
  • Literature
  • Music
  • Visual arts
  • Geography of the world

 Habits of Thought

  • Attend and observe keenly
  • Recognize relationships, make comparisons
  • Analyze, synthesize
  • Interpret, draw inferences
  • Use inductive and deductive logic
  • Think critically, evaluate


By creating an atmosphere that values and celebrates individual and cultural diversity, the Arbor School provides a seedbed for each student to develop a strong sense of self-worth and sensitivity to others. We support children's emerging capacities for positive social action: cooperation, empathy, and responsibility. Our goals for character development are based on the child's growing sense of self, understanding of individual others, and participation in the community.


  • Self-awareness and understanding
  • Self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Responsibility for one's actions and choices
  • Autonomy and self-reliance
  • Integrity


  • Capacity to initiate, develop, and maintain satisfying relationships
  • Interpersonal skills: communication, negotiation, and cooperation
  • Respect for others
  • Capacity to understand another's perspective


  • Capacity to function harmoniously and effectively with others
  • Responsibility and sensitivity as a group member
  • Concern for the common good of the group
  • Propensity to contribute to the welfare of the group
  • Sense of social responsibility


At Arbor School we value creativity and recognize its many forms, whether it is conveyed through artistic expression, practical ingenuity, or the synthesis of ideas.

We provide a climate of trust that fosters creative thought and expression. Students experience a rich variety of media and tools and solve problems ranging from the clearly defined to the open-ended.

To encourage creativity, we focus on the attitudes that foster creativity, the design process, and the creative expression that results.


  • Self-confidence and self-esteem that permit children to take risks
  • Sense of curiosity, playfulness, openness, and imagination
  • Fluency and flexibility of mind
  • Ability to generate ideas


  • Ability to frame a problem, identify criteria for solutions
  • Ability to envision a variety of strategies
  • Ability to choose a plan and judge its probable effectiveness


  • Ability to express oneself through a variety of media
  • Ability to sustain effort as necessary to complete projects and plans
  • Ability to evaluate results according to objective as well as subjective criteria