Progressive Education

Baker is a progressive school. “Progressive” refers to a philosophy of education that originated in Chicago in the late 19th and early 20th centuries through the work of pioneering educators such as John Dewey, Francis Parker, and Clara Belle Baker—the founder of Baker Demonstration School.

A progressive school is one that does not stop at academics but attends to the whole child: the physical, social, emotional, and cultural development that will give them the stamina, skills and ethical framework for success in life. A true progressive education is one in which students learn by doing, rather than by being “talked at,” where they are challenged to think deeply, ask questions, and support their ideas rather than simply reciting “correct answers,” and where they don’t simply learn from a teacher—they learn with and from one another in a nurturing community.

Over the years, some of the language of progressive education such as “educating the whole child” or “community of learners” has been more broadly adopted by educators. But a true progressive education remains fundamentally different than that of most schools. At Baker, our approach is guided by the following principles:

We educate the whole child
We see, understand, and respond to each child as an individual
We cultivate each child’s inherent love of learning
We create engaging, hands-on learning experiences
We build higher-order thinking skills of analysis, synthesis and evaluation
We provide academically rigorous and thematically integrated curricula
We support creative thinking and academic progress through integration of the arts
We create an environment in which students are comfortable taking risks
We actively teach community-building skills and concepts that foster collaboration, inclusion, and service to others