Guiding Principles


At Children First, we work hard to create a community that merits the trust and confidence of children and their parents. We want school to be a safe place for children to express their feelings and be themselves; to play and work with confidence and creativity; to take risks and face challenges.


This is a place where children know they are seen, and where they can count on being heard. They can expect that when they ask for help, we will listen and respond from our hearts in whatever way we believe is genuinely helpful. It is a place where children can rely on company and hugs and kind words when they are hurt and need comfort, and find a comfortable, protected space to hang out when they need to be alone.

We use guidance strategies that enhance both self-respect and empathy, and teach the social skills which enable kids to successfully connect and cooperate with other people. We rely on planning and prevention, structuring the classroom, the daily schedule, and our interactions with children in ways that reduce stress and increase children’s chances for pleasure and success. Also, our expectations for children’s behavior are based on an understanding of child development and an appreciation for the particular passions, questions and vulnerabilities of each individual.

When children do make mistakes, teachers use gentle, respectful techniques to teach acceptable behavior. We empathize, reason, model, provide alternatives, teach win-win conflict resolution, help children make amends, and support children in expressing their feelings and taking care of their needs.