1. Young people need to be heard, to be listened to, and to be asked, “How can the adults in this community best help you develop a “voice” in the classroom setting and help you communicate effectively when navigating friendship-social issues?” We best serve our students by being facilitators who teach our students to seek social cues, and to act thoughfully on them. Each day at Black Pine Circle School, students engage in the creative arts: music, visual representations, drama, and dance. All of these creative expressions lead to self-discovery, greater self-confidence, cultural understandings and new strength as communicators.

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  2. The process of education is about learning how to form good questions. Too many independent schools today are overemphasizing what it means to be “a strong student” in comparison to “a strong learner.” Specifically in a K-8 environment, our goal is to ignite the fires of lifelong learning, rather than creating an assembly line that leads to the next top-ranked high school. Do not misunderstand: It is important to send students on to the best high schools, however, this is a by-product of providing them with enthusiasm, industry, and a love of learning; not the goal of scholarship, itself.

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  3. At Black Pine Circle, we believe that we are charged with helping young people understand their role in the small community that is their classroom at Black Pine Circle School, their larger communities (clubs neighborhoods, etc) and the world community. Our curriculum and school mission reflect this commitment to community.

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  4. We know that our most essential duty as educators is to protect, nurture and inspire the curiosity that is inherent in young children. Our aim is to create intellectually vibrant people who will never lose their passion for learning, their delight in research and their involvement in cultural pursuits. And so we employ a Socratic teaching philosophy based on inquiry, questioning, exploration and discovery. This student-centered approach minimizes competitiveness and makes learning personally relevant, motivating students to acquire knowledge and skills for their own sake.

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  5. No grassy fields? We don’t miss them. Black Pine Circle School students play all manner of sports - soccer, football, wall ball, two square, four square, basketball, ping pong - on the upper and lower school yards, utilize our 26 foot climbing wall during physical education, and walk a block to a pocket park for ultimate frisbee and other lawn games.

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Black Pine Circle School

Black Pine Circle School

At Black Pine Circle School, a K-8 private school in Berkeley, California, we create lifelong learners through
an inquiry-based, Socratic education that places equal emphasis on academics and the arts.

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