Middle School students creating a map demonstrating project based learning

Photo by Luke, Class of 2021

Progressive Education is a proven educational pedagogy that was developed in the late 19th century and championed in the US by educational reformers such as John Dewey. Its goal is to create an intrinsically- motivated community of students with a life-long love of learning, who possess greater depth of knowledge as a result of learning through experience and active participation, rather than through passive listening and memorization.

Our curriculum and school culture at Baker is founded on the following progressive education principles:

Experience-Based Learning: Students are engaged actively in learning through experience, rather than through passively receiving information. Learning in a progressive setting is constructed and discovered, rather than simply delivered. Students create meaning and deepen knowledge by building, designing, discussing, creating and coding, often in collaboration with others.

A Child as a Complex, Multi-Dimensional Human Being: In progressive education, a child’s multi-dimensional development – physically, cognitively, and social-emotionally – is valued, rather than a one-dimensional focus on cognitive development. Progressive schools understand the research that links social-emotional development, movement and fitness, play and time spent outdoors with cognitive growth and engagement.

Depth of Educational Inquiry: The depth of engagement with concepts and ideas is highly valued. Progressive schools are invested in helping children learn how to be deep, expansive thinkers who know how to analyze, connect, and evaluate their learning.

Connected Learning: Learning is integrated across academic subjects. Teachers design curriculum which connects in an interdisciplinary manner. This approach encourages students to apply concepts they learn and to think more expansively. In a progressive school, connections between math, the arts, languages, and science are common.

The Expanded Classroom: Learning happens everywhere, rather than just in the classroom. The classroom is the world, the community and the neighborhood. Authentic, meaningful local and global experiences are an ongoing part of study, rather than as ‘field trip’ experiences. Learn about our co-curricular programs.

The Individual in Community: Progressive schools recognize the importance of a diversity of perspectives, rather than a singular or dominant perspective. Classroom studies focus on inquiry and learning from multiple perspectives, and encourage active discussion and debate. The understanding that results connects the individual to the community in a more meaningful way.