Mission & Values


The Mayapple School engages children in rich, meaningful, and creative learning experiences that encourage cognitive and social growth. Using an integrated, playful curriculum with a focus on outdoor discovery, our students build an awareness of their selves, each other, and the world around them. The Mayapple School nurtures joyful, connected, and resilient children who are masters of their own learning and have a zest for life.

Values in Practice 

Our methodologies are inspired by innovative educational leaders. When you peek inside our daily routines and curriculum, here’s what you’ll see:


The Whole Child Nourished Through Play and Community

  • A child’s life is valued and important in its own right. Children are given time to play, to exercise their capacities, to contribute, to create. Through play and community, we look to find and experience the joy, love, purpose, and challenge that is the magic of childhood. This is childhood’s real work.
  • Students experience outside perspectives, learning respect for others and problem-solving through cooperation.


Creative Education

  • Creativity is a priority, not an extra. Teachers understand that the world needs original minds that excel at critical thinking, and that students blossom with creative opportunities.
  • Our definition of creative doesn’t end with arts and crafts. Instead, it starts with curiosity. We see creativity as an important process of discovery, exploration, original thought, and the independent execution of a child’s unique ideas. Creativity goes across the curriculum.


Place-based and Outdoor Education

  • As children experience and learn about wild places, they form a whole-self connection to nature. The wilderness becomes a place where the mind, body, and spirit can become refreshed, a source of well-being that children can tap into, now and forever. The wilderness is a natural haven for the growing child, and for the adult she becomes. As the forest cares for her, so she too will care for the forest.
  • The great outdoors is not just a playground– it’s another classroom, where we spend a significant portion of our time, and where important learning takes place.
  • Our Appalachian surroundings are recognized for their ability to teach us about culture, community, natural sciences, and the environment.


Rich and Deep Curriculum

  • The child’s innate sense of wonder and curiosity is trusted and developed. Teachers know that learning and passion come from within.
  • At Mayapple, we foster the disposition to learn and a child’s internal incentive for action through hands-on exploration of the world around us. 
  • Students are not forever being groomed for “tomorrow,” a point in future where they will finally be allowed to be happy, learn real skills, and make a meaningful contribution to society. Students are challenged on an ongoing basis, with continual learning, and not end-result achievement, as the goal. Each day at school is as important as the day of graduation.

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