Mission & Philosophy

Childhood is brief and precious, a time of limitless potential and essential development. It is also a time to be savored for its own wonders, as it will not come again. A Curtis education honors these truths within a caring and inclusive community. We foster an active partnership with our families based on a shared commitment to our mission, our values, and the special joys of childhood.
Our goal is to develop, in every child, a sound mind in a sound body governed by a compassionate heart. We balance traditional and innovative pedagogical approaches in providing a well-rounded, challenging education. We develop children’s academic, intellectual, creative, athletic, and social potential through dynamic teaching and by actively engaging them in their own learning and moral growth. As a result, our students become young people of character who are also critical thinkers, effective communicators, respectful collaborators, and resilient problem solvers. Curtis graduates leave us as whole, self-disciplined, ethical beings, who are well prepared to pursue, confidently, the next stage in the journey of their lives.

Philosophy Statement

Who we are, at heart, is reflected in the way we teach. These core values, expressed as a series of opposites—not in contradiction, but in balance—are the guiding principles that define a Curtis education.

List of 8 items.

  • Balancing Tradition & Innovation

    We are a traditional school. We do not believe in fads—in the latest trends for their own sake. Nor do we abandon the value of teaching the basics: reading, writing, mathematics, and science. And yet, we are an innovative school. We recognize that our mission is "to prepare children for their futures and not for our pasts." Our teaching methods are founded on current research, and we strive to integrate proven new technologies and strategies in the classroom. We see the process of learning as being inextricably tied to its results and, therefore, believe in children being led to discoveries rather than simply being fed information. We value the process of exploration and inquiry, analysis and creativity, collaboration and communication.
  • Balancing Preparation & Play

    We assume a serious responsibility to prepare children for their futures. As such, we have high expectations and a challenging curriculum. We do not, however, view childhood merely as a stepping-stone to adulthood. It is a joy in itself, full of wonder, curiosity, and play. At Curtis, play and preparation go hand in hand—neither is sacrificed for the other.
  • Balancing the “I” with the “We”

    We strive to create confident individuals and leaders, each with a strong sense of what makes him or her unique, capable, and special. At the same time, we emphasize cooperative learning and the ability to be an effective member of a group: to listen, support, critique, improve, and incorporate the ideas of others. “What I can accomplish on my own” is balanced with “what I can achieve in cooperation with others.” To think critically and empathetically, morally, and ethically is at the heart of an education at Curtis.
  • Balancing Competition & Participation

    We believe in the value of healthy competition. Our students compete every day—as thinkers, mathematicians, scientists, debaters, musicians, singers, actors, visual artists, and as athletes. At the same time, we value participation just as much, if not more. Our students are all artists. They participate in vibrant programs that emphasize cooperation across artistic disciplines. Our students are all athletes, too. Our athletics program emphasizes participation, sportsmanship, teamwork, and skills development.
  • Balancing Unique Perspective with Consistent Standards

    Curtis values every teacher—each with his or her own passions, history, and skills. We encourage teachers to be learners, too, exploring and collaborating even as their students do. At the same time, we ensure a high degree of consistency and a common commitment to school-wide learning goals—across classrooms, within disciplines, and monitored from grade to grade—so that every one of our students receives a strong foundation for future success.
  • Balancing Security & Resilience

    We are a nurturing school—a joyful environment in which children are safe and secure. At the same time, we believe in the value of bumps in the road, of small failures. We do not strive to protect our children from all disappointment, frustration, conflict, and setbacks; rather, we strive to help children grow from these experiences. We do not smooth over all of life’s rough edges, nor will the world into which they will grow.
  • Balancing Safe Spaces with Room to Grow

    Our campus is compact enough to feel safe and yet, we are large enough to challenge and explore. As a result, our students grow confident, knowing that they are looked after, but that they can also look after themselves. So, too, in this verdant place, students come to appreciate their connection to and their stewardship of the larger environment.
  • Balancing School & Neighborhood

    As a school, we look inward, driven by the imperative to make our community welcoming and inclusive. At the same time, we look outward; we remain connected—morally, culturally, and socially—to the larger community that is Los Angeles and beyond.

    Starting from this core, we lay the groundwork for young people who someday will be many things: citizens and colleagues, family members and friends, professionals and enthusiasts, but today are still just children, which is a pretty good thing to be.