Mission, Vision, and Core Values

We are a public school academy, chartered under Grand Rapids Public School District, serving students in grades Kindergarten through Fifth grade. The mission of the GRCDC is to continuously expand the potential of children, the experiences of educators and the involvement of parents within a diverse community of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The vision is to base all decisions on the principles of Reggio-Emilia incorporating current research on learning as well as developmentally appropriate practice.

What is an Education Based on Relationships?

“We consider relationships to be the fundamental, organizing strategy of our educational system.  We view relationships not simply as a warm, protective backdrop or blanket but as a coming together of elements interacting dynamically toward a common purpose.”  Our common purpose is learning for all, resulting in increased life opportunities for every student who enters our school. In our school, children are not at the center of the system.  Rather, at our center is a triad which represents the child, the family, and the teacher/adults in relationship with one another. Shared experiences, discussions, activities, provocations, interactions, and projects result in deep learning for all.  The choices that we make should always be towards the purpose of intensifying and strengthening the relationships of the three subjects: child, family, teacher. (based on For an Education Based on Relationships by Loris Malaguzzi, 1993)


Part of our mission is the image and vision we foster for our children, staff members, and community

Our Images:

  • Children are Rich in Potential, Strong, and Powerful
  • Staff Members are Supported, Connected, and Inspired
  • Community is Whole, in Relationship, and Diverse

Based on our vision, mission, philosophy and Images of Children, Adults, and Community, we hold certain core values. We believe in  potential, connection, inspiration, and equity.



Potential  ⥄ Connection ⥄  Inspiration ⥄ Equity

We believe in Potential...

Humans are born with the need and the right to communicate,  interact, and use their energy and curiosity to construct their learning.

Children have a voice that is sought, valued, and shapes the life of the school.

Children and adults can do hard things in order to grow, and can withstand ambiguity, cognitive struggle, and challenge in order to learn.  

Each person has limitless potential and we behave in ways that show that.  

The school’s charge is to provide a system of delivery resulting in all children learning at high levels, so that their life opportunities and access are expanded through their experience here.

We believe in Connection...

All of us bloom by engaging with one another, sharing roles and jobs, and approaching our school with collective responsibility.  

Each child has a network of relationships  at school that make it impossible for them to fail.

At the center of our system is the triad relationship between teacher/staff, children, and family- all of these are connected within the context of the environment and community.

Adults must build a safety net for children- our processes and procedures result in a systematic response  that meets each child’s social/emotional and academic needs

When we are in conflict, we must seek mutually agreeable solutions and collaborate to solve problems.

We believe in Inspiration...

Each of us possesses a unique combination of 100 languages- for expressing, communicating, absorbing and experimenting with the world around them.  

The 100 languages must be honored and recognized in our experiences with one another.

Curiosity, creativity, and flexibility are necessary ingredients in the human condition.  

Children thrive where adults thrive and vice versa.  

Joy, fun, and celebration are essential to our life together at school.

We believe in Equity...

Each community member is whole, just as they are.  

Learning, wellness, nutrition, and access to experiences and opportunities are rights that all people have.

We have a responsibility to constantly ask, “what am I missing?”  “whose voice is missing?” “are we all here?” “are we all heard?” in order to elevate the voices of members of oppressed or marginalized groups.

Each person in our community belongs; this is reflected in our interactions with one another, our physical space, our events and curricular choices.

We have responsibility to disrupt the status quo and  seek equity, reject oppression, and create social justice.