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A student listening during a presentation.


Approach & Philosophy

The Learning Environment

Teachers who develop independent learners while never forgetting they are kids. Students who are excited to learn and explore with confidence. Parents who see their children appropriately challenged and deeply connected.

A student working on a project growing seeds.
A teacher showing three students something on the computer.
A student sitting outside writing on a clipboard.

How children get to a result matters just as much, if not more, than the result itself.

We see this as the difference between accomplishment and achievement. Since the “how” is where so much growth happens, it’s in every corner of our approach and philosophy. At DCD, we:

Create confidence outside the comfort zone

  • We believe that taking risks and making mistakes in a supportive environment helps children become independent, lifelong learners.

Build skills and pique curiosity

  • Because children need both, our teachers toggle between direct skill instruction and exploration and discovery, based on our developmentally-based curriculum goals and student needs.

Prioritize understanding and purpose

  • While outcomes — the final product, scores, or grades — are important measures of progress, we believe that how a child experiences the learning process is what fuels accomplishment and growth.

Open minds while creating connections

  • We make learning social, deliberately structuring our curriculum around collaboration and connection. This exposes children to diverse ideas and opinions while helping them feel part of something bigger than themselves.

Foster relationships that drive belonging

  • Helping children build meaningful relationships with their peers and teachers gives them the comfort and firm footing they need to open their minds to learning.

Deliver the right challenge, not just rigor

  • We offer children developmentally appropriate challenge that keeps them engaged and lets them grow without threatening their sense of well-being.

Give equal priority to mind, body, and emotion

  • We structure our school day to balance academics, arts, and athletics because deep learning and engagement can happen just as much on the playing field or art studio as in a classroom.

Ready to Apply?

Learn more about our admissions process!