Londonderry's mission is to help each child reach his/her full potential in a loving,
safe, supportive and fun atmosphere. Londonderry children learn at their own pace
to think logically, critically and creatively, and to appreciate the unique qualities
and life experiences of each person. A partnership among parents, children and faculty
fosters each child's self-esteem, independence, responsibility and sense of belonging
to a larger, diverse community and world.
Londonderry School offers a preschool through elementary school program emphasizing
the development of the whole child. The areas of social, emotional, cognitive, creative
and physical development are all considered important aspects of Londonderry's integrated
and enriching school curriculum. Primary emphasis is given to the development of
the child's feelings of self-esteem as the necessary foundation for successful learning
and social interactions.
To enact the philosophy, Londonderry adheres to the following principles:
- That the development of a curiosity and excitement about learning is as important
as the acquisition of a set of skills or factual knowledge.
- That the intent of learning in a subject area is to impart the ability to generalize
the knowledge gained, ask key questions, think critically and solve problems.
- That children learn best when they are actively involved in the learning process.
Children must have ample opportunities to manipulate their environment and interact
with their teacher and peers.
- That children learn best when the content of the curriculum is meaningful to them.
Children must have opportunities to pursue their interests and relate learning to
personal experiences. Teachers are encouraged to design a flexible curriculum with
the children's interests and abilities in mind.
- That the school curriculum should integrate subject areas in a natural way and include
opportunities for involvement in activities such as art, music, physical education
and outdoor play, cooking, and computers on a regular basis.
- That the interaction of children of different age levels has a positive effect on
all children and promotes a family-like atmosphere. Flexible age groupings are a
purposeful part of the Londonderry School's desire to allow for the natural development
of skills and abilities in an unpressured atmosphere which fosters a positive self-image.
- That children learn best when they are allowed to progress through the curriculum
at an individualized rate and receive the extra attention needed to challenge or
nurture their abilities as needed.
- That respect for children as individuals and respect for teachers' abilities
to use their own individual skills, resources, and interests fosters a positive
and mutually rewarding teaching environment.
- That parental involvement is key to the success of Londonderry in meeting the needs
of students and in receiving direction for the school's future. All parents are
Trustees of the school.
Growing Bigger, Stronger & “Greener”
Beyond brick and mortar! Londonderry’s green school was completed during the Spring
of 2004 after ten years of fundraising, planning and construction. The site was
selected because it afforded a beautiful nature observatory within minutes of downtown
Harrisburg. In 2006, Londonderry’s building received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification
a nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation
of high performance green buildings. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to
sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental
health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials
selection and indoor environmental quality.
In addition to reflecting Londonderry School’s dedication to the natural world,
the school building also serves a model for environmentally-conscious construction
on a budget. Typical school construction in central Pennsylvania costs $130/square
foot. Londonderry’s building was built for approximately $100/square foot, demonstrating
that green design can be cost effective.
Londonderry’s school building was also designed to serve as a teaching tool. As
people walk around our building, they can learn about its environmentally-friendly
systems and processes, and why they were chosen. In addition to self-guided tours,
visitors may take advantage of a student-guided tour. Student tours have included
the Governor’s Green Council and Danish government and business officials, seeking
more knowledge about Londonderry’s low cost, environmentally-friendly approach to
building a new school!
Not your average schoolyard! Learning about the natural world and our impact on
it has always been part of the Londonderry curriculum. Londonderry’s 14-acre campus
makes that easy. On a daily basis, faculty and students engage in activities that
preserve natural habitat, protect the watershed, reduce waste and energy usage,
and teach others about caring for the environment.
Throughout the year, students, faculty and parents participate in work days to help
improve the school environment in a natural way. Volunteers have planted more than
100 native trees and shrubs to restore and enhance wildlife habitat on Londonderry’s
14 acres. Older students maintain native flower, shrub and tree plantings, and operate
a paper recycling program. They also care for a rain garden, built by the Boy Scouts,
and helped to construct the bird blind and feeding station. Students in all classes
grow organic vegetable gardens, care for a native and/or drought-resistant
flower gardens. Many also observe bird feeding stations and
houses from their classrooms. One preschool class even constructed a bat house to
“naturally” combat mosquitoes!
Londonderry’s campus has also been recognized as a National Wildlife Federation
Schoolyard Habitat and has Eco Healthy child care endorsement.
Since our move, Londonderry School enhanced its learning environment with the establishment
of Monet’s Artists Garden. Located behind the art and computer rooms, Monet’s Artists
Garden was inspired by the paintings and gardens of Claude Monet and other artists
who look to nature as a muse. Our young artists will use the garden for quiet work
Learning Beyond the Classroom
Even with a new, “green” building and bucolic setting, Londonderry students
and teachers still seek educational experiences outside of the classroom. Throughout
the year, preschool students can be found at local pumpkin patches, museums and
other educational venues. One class visited a local Asian restaurant while learning
about Chinese culture. Another visited a local nature refuge while studying birds.
Students have visited the Mount Hope Estate during a unit on Edgar Allan Poe. Twice
each year, older students take off on primitive camping trips as part of the school’s
science and nature curriculum.
The Londonderry School has accomplished much during the past 40 years. However,
it is always necessary to look forward as we continue to shape our school as the
world and families change, which is why the school initiated and completed a year-long
visioning process that engaged faculty, parents, alumni and community members in
charting the school’s path for the future. This exercise produced five categories
of concentration for maintaining our high standards for excellence and achievement:
- Share the school’s message and identity with the greater community.
- Maintain excellence in education.
- Consider leadership succession, and the mentoring and nurturing of teachers.
- Succeed in fundraising and development.
- Improve operations and management processes to support the goals of the school.