At the core of our philosophy is respect for the individual child. We believe that children are intelligent, passionate learners who are naturally motivated to explore the world around them. Our job as educators is to develop curriculum that responds to our children's innate thirst for knowledge with enthusiasm, creativity and encouragement. In doing so, we hope young people will leave our school with the same passion, curiosity and wonder they possessed before beginning school. Students will learn to learn, rather than simply acquiring a body of facts. It is well documented that children learn best in an environment that takes into account individual learning styles. We believe a developmentally-based thematic curriculum, with arts, movement and outdoor opportunities, best serves our children's diverse learning needs. To implement such an ambitious vision, parent participation is essential. We see parents as the facilitators of their children's learning and partners in their education. As such, parents participate at every level of our school, from making policy to sweeping the floors. Our task is to build not just a school, but also a community in which a diversity of strengths, cultures, and family backgrounds is valued. Since we view education as a lifelong process, we assume that the adults who become involved with Tierra Pacifica will learn as much as the students. We envision our school as a center of learning for families, children, and teachers; one in which the real world comes into the classroom and the classroom goes out to the real world. Finally, it is essential that young people coming of age in the 21st century take an active role in reversing the trends that threaten our survival. Through conflict resolution training, anti-bias education and ongoing community service, we hope to prepare our young people to become compassionate, effective leaders in tomorrow's world.