Skip to main content

Progressive Education

The progressive educational model has been in existence for well over 120 years, and it continues to guide our work every day at The Little School. It eschews the traditional approach of desks in rows with students listening while teachers recite about a topic of study. Instead, the progressive education model engages students as active participants in their education, drawing on their natural curiosity and developmental readiness to instill an enthusiasm for learning. More than just the 3 R's (reading, writing and arithmetic), progressive education tends to the growth of the whole student, addressing each individual's social, emotional, cognitive and physical development as well as their academic progress. The result is students who seek knowledge, have the social and emotional skills to engage in their community and actively participate in the world around them.

Principles of a Progressive School

(from the Progressive Education Network website)
  • Education must prepare students for active participation in a democratic society.
  • Education must focus on students’ social, emotional, academic, cognitive and physical development.
  • Education must nurture and support students’ natural curiosity and innate desire to learn. Education must foster internal motivation in students.
  • Education must be responsive to the developmental needs of students.
  • Education must foster respectful relationships between teachers and students.
  • Education must encourage the active participation of students in their learning, which arises from previous experience.
  • Progressive educators must play an active role in guiding the educational vision of our society.

"In progressive education, students do not have to change how they learn. Teachers adapt to students, instead of students adapting to the teaching method in place. Students can learn based on their interests and strengths...Progressive education best fits me personally, and that is why I love The Little School so much." – Daniel P., Outgrower 2016