1. Education

Progressive Schools

The progressive or education reform movement got its start back in the early 1900's. There was no formal movement, per se, but a group of like-minded writers, philosophers and teachers who believed in teaching the whole child. Approximately 50 schools carry the progressive banner which, among other things abhors standardized testing in just about any form.

What Is Progressive Education?
Progressive education believes in educating children through a process of discovery. It does not believe in simply teaching material which will be on a test.

The Academy at Charlmont, Charlmont, MA
Type of School: Coed, day school
Grades: 7-12
Comments: "Not all of what students learn at The Academy comes from books." That succinctly sums up The Academy's educational philosophy.

A.E. Phillips Laboratory School, Ruston LA
Religious affiliation: Nonsectarian
Grades: K-8
School Type: Coeducational, day school
Comments: A.E. Phillips Laboratory School is tightly integrated with Louisiana Tech's Education Department. Faculty and college students use the school as one of their major teaching tools.

The Atrium School, Watertown, MA
Religious affiliation: Nonsectarian
Grades: PK-6
School Type: Coeducational, day school
Comments: The Atrium School was founded in the progressive tradition. It takes advantage of its Boston location to explore and embrace its multicultural personality and diversity.

Aurora School, Oakland, CA
Religious affiliation: Nonsectarian
Grades: K-5
School Type: Coeducational, day school
Comments: Aurora School embraces the progressive approach to learning. Classes are multi-age. The school was founded in 1988.

Baker Demonstration School, Wilmette, IL
Religious affiliation: Nonsectarian
Grades: N-8
School Type: Coeducational, day school
Comments: Baker Demonstration School was founded in 1918 by the renowned progressive educator, Clara Bell Baker. It serves over 400 students.

Bank Street School for Children, New York, NY
Type of School: Coed, day school
Grades: N-8
Comments: A demonstration school of the Bank Street College, the School for Children embraces the philosophy and ideals of the progressive movement.

Barbara K. Lipman Early Childhood School, Memphis, TN
Religious affiliation: Nonsectarian
Grades: N-K
School Type: Coeducational, day school
Comments: The Lipman School bases its approach on constructivist research. It is the laboratory demonstration school for the University of Memphis' College of Education.

Beaver Country Day School, Chestnut Hill, MA
Type of School: Coed, day school
Grades: 6-12
Comments: A Boston treasure since 1920, the school continues to set the pace in all aspects of middle and high school education.

Breakwater School, Portland, ME
Religious affiliation: Nonsectarian
Grades: K-8
School Type: Coeducational, day school
Comments: Founded in 1956, Breakwater School is a school in the progressive tradition. It offers a challenging, child-centered learning experience for elementary and middle-school aged children.

Buxton School, Williamstown, MA
Type of School: Coed, day school
Grades: 9-12
Comments: Buxton offers a demanding, broad curriculum. Superb location in a fine New England college town.

The Calhoun School, New York, NY
Type of School: Coed, day school
Grades: PK-12
Comments: The Calhoun School has been a leader in progressive education since 1896. Educating the whole children and using multiple styles of teaching are two major thrusts of the school's approach.

Carolina Friends School, Durham, NC
Type of School: Coed, day school
Grades: PK-12
Comments: "Alive and vibrant" describes the learning environment of this gem of a school tucked in near Duke University.

Chatsworth Hills Academy, Chatsworth, CA
Type of School: Coed, day school
Grades: PK-8
Comments: Chatsworth was founded in 1977 by a group of parents who wanted a progressive school for their children. It has evolved into a nationally recognized institution with a solid college prep program though 8th grade.

The Children's Community School, Van Nuys, CA
Type of School: Coed, day school
Grades: K-6
Comments: CCS unequivocally adheres to the principles and teachings of John Dewey, the father of progressive education.

The Children's School of Oak Park, Berwyn, IL
Type of School: Coed, day school
Grades: K-5
Comments: The Children's School was established in 2004. Children achieve all state and local curriculum goals without the pressure associated with standardized tests.

The City and Country School, New York, NY
Type of School: Coed, day school
Grades: PK-8
Comments: The school was founded in 1914 at the height of the progressive movement by Caroline Pratt. Its graduates are 'original thinkers' who know how to solve problems.

Crossroads School, Santa Monica, CA
Type of School: Coed, day school
Grades: K-12
Comments: Crossroads replaced its AP-centered curriculum with a student-centered curriculum in 2007.

Crefeld School, Chestnut Hill, PA
Religious affiliation: Nonsectarian
Grades: 6-12
School Type: Coeducational, day school
Comments: Crefeld School is a progressive, alternative school for students who cannot succeed in traditional learning environments. The school works closely to tailor a learning program to suit each student.

Falk School, Pittsburgh, PA
Religious affiliation: Nonsectarian
Grades: K-8
School Type: Coeducational, day school
Comments: Leon Falk Jr. and Marjorie Falk Levy established the progressive school which bears their name in 1931. It is the laboratory school for education students at the University of Pittsburgh.

Fieldston School, Bronx, NY
Type of School: Coed, day school
Grades: PK-12
Comments: AP courses disappeared from Fieldston's curriculum in 2001. The work at this school is very challenging. Be prepared to really work hard and learn a lot.

Foundations School Community, Van Nuys, CA
Type of School: Coed, day school
Grades: PK-8
Comments: Foundations School Community is the only progressive school in the San Fernando Valley.

The Francis W. Parker School, Chicago, IL
Religious affiliation: Nonsectarian
Grades: JK-12
School Type: Coeducational, day school
Comments: Since 1901 The Francis W. Parker School has embraced the progressive approach to learning. It educates the whole child spiritually, academically, physically, and socially in a caring, intimate environment that embraces diversity.

Friends Community School, College Park, MD
Type of School: Coed, day school
Grades: K-8
Comments: Friends Community School offers a Quaker education solidly rooted in the principles of progressive education.

Greenwood Friends School, Millville, PA
Type of School: Coed, day school
Grades: PK-8
Comments: Greenwood Friends combines the gentle Quaker spiritual ideals with a team approach to classes.

The Little Red Schoolhouse & Elisabeth Irwin High School, Medford, MA
Type of School: Coed, day school
Grades: PK-12
Comments: Elisabeth Irwin, one of the leaders of the progressive movement, banished regimentation in her school in her overriding concern for the development of the whole child. The school carries out her vision to this day.

Lesley Ellis School, Arlington, MA
Religious affiliation: Nonsectarian
Grades: K-5
School Type: Coeducational, day school
Comments: Lesley Ellis School is a progressive school serving the Arlington area. It is a small school with about 150 students. The elementary division offers multi-age classes.

The Jefferson School, Georgetown, DE
Religious affiliation: Nonsectarian
Grades: PK-8
School Type: Coeducational, day school
Comments: The Jefferson School offers multi-age classes and all the student-centered features of the progressive educational philosophy. It is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

The Manhattan Country School, New York, NY
Type of School: Coed, day school
Grades: PK-8
Comments: "Manhattan Country School is recognized as a model of both progressive education and socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic diversity." I couldn't say it any better. The dream the school's founders had in 1966 has come to pass.

The Miquon School, Conshohocken, PA
Type of School: Coed, day school
Grades: PK-6
Comments: Miquon has been around since 1932 treasuring and celebrating childhood. One of the core Miquon tenets is that children learn by doing.

Oak Lane Day School, Blue Bell, PA
Type of School: Coed, day school
Grades: PK-6
Comments: Learning at Oak Lane Day School takes place in a joyful environment. And this has been happening since 1916.

Northwest Academy, Portland, OR
Religious affiliation: Nonsectarian
Grades: 6-12
School Type: Coeducational, day school
Comments: Northwest Academy teaches an enriched preparatory curriculum in a community which prizes diversity and self-discipline. The Academy embraces the progressive approach to learning.

Oakwood School, North Hollywood, CA
Type of School: Coed, day school
Grades: PK-12
Comments: An Oakwood education aspires to improving competencies in every aspect of a child's life. The school was founded in 1951.

The Park School of Baltimore, Brooklandville, MD
Type of School: Coed, day school
Grades: PK-12
Comments: The Upper School program features a senior project which many graduates consider the defining moment of their years at The Park School.

The Park School of Buffalo, Snyder, NY
Type of School: Coed, day school
Grades: PK-12
Comments: One of the jewels in western New York's educational crown, The Park School offers a superb education in the progressive tradition.

The Philadelphia School, Philadelphia, PA
Type of School: Coed, day school
Grades: PK-8
Comments: The school's Center City location gives it easy access to a wide range of historical and cultural amenities.

Presidio Hill School, San Francisco, CA
Type of School: Coed, day school
Grades: PK-8
Comments: The school's prime admissions entry points are kindergarten and 6th grade. It accepts students in other grades as space permits.

The Putney School, Putney, VT
Type of School: Coed, day school
Grades: 9-12
Comments: You will not find AP courses at Putney. But you will find a fine academic program whose graduates do just fine at college.

The Randolph School, Wappingers Falls, NY
Religious affiliation: Non-sectarian
Grades: PK-12
School Type: Coeducational, day school
Comments: A progressive school offering small classes, multi-age groupings and a child-oriented approach to learning.

Redwood Day School, Oakland, CA
Type of School: Coed, day school
Grades: K-12
Comments: Allowing children to learn through discovery in a student-centered environment is what Redwood is all about.

Saint Andrew's-Sewanee School, Sewanee, TN
Type of School: Coed, day/boarding school
Grades: 6-12
Comments: "SAS faculty members don’t teach to a test; they teach to their students." Teaching children how to learn, allowing them to learn and love learning is what SAS is all about.

Saint Francis School, Goshen, KY
Type of School: Coed, day school
Grades: PK-8
Comments: St. Francis is living proof that progressive education takes many forms. But at its heart is the overriding concern for developing the whole child.

Sandia Preparatory School, Albuquerque, NM
Type of School: Coed, day school Grades: 6-12 Comments: Teaching at Prep is tailored to the students, not to a test. Instead of AP exams in their senior year, prep seniors go on a Senior Experience.

San Roque School, Santa Barbara, CA
Type of School: Coed, day school
Grades: NK-12
Comments: Low stress and an informal learning atmosphere are hallmarks of San Roque's philosophy.

The School in Rose Valley, Media, PA
Type of School: Coed, day school
Grades: N-6
Comments: The school enjoys an 8 acre classroom and that pretty much sums up the school's learning environment and philosophy.

Sequoyah School, Pasadena, CA
Type of School: Coed, day school
Grades: N-8
Comments: Sequoyah embodies a deep concern for teaching children to care about things like the environment and their surroundings.

Spectrum School, Rockford, IL
Religious affiliation: Nonsectarian
Grades: K-8
School Type: Coeducational, day school
Comments: The Southside School embraces the progressive approach to learning. Classes are multi-age. Grades and red marks on your child's work are not part of this school's philosophy and way of doing things.

Southfield School, Shreveport, LA
Religious affiliation: Nonsectarian
Grades: PK-8
School Type: Coeducational, day school
Comments: Southfield School is a school in the progressive tradition. It prepares children to embrace the opportunities and responsibilities they will face as global citizens by providing a quality education. The school was founded in 1934.

Stevens Cooperative School, Hoboken, NJ
Religious affiliation: Nonsectarian
Grades: N-8
School Type: Coed, day school
Comments: A progressive school serving the Hoboken community since 1949. Graduates attend some of the finest private schools in the northeast and elsewhere.

University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, Chicago, IL
Type of School: Coed, day school
Grades: K-12
Comments: John Dewey founded the University of Chicago Lab Schools over 100 years ago. He believed that there was more to learning than teaching to a test. President Obama's daughters Malia and Sasha attended UCLS before they moved to Washington.

The Urban School of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Type of School: Coed, day school
Grades: 9-12
Comments: Teaching students to take responsibility for their education is part of The Urban School's mission.

Touchstone Community School, Grafton, MA
Religious affiliation: Nonsectarian
Grades: PK-8
School Type: Coeducational, day school
Comments: Touchstone Community School is a progressive school founded in 1984. Children are encouraged to be active learners.

Westland School, Los Angeles, CA
Type of School: Coed, day school
Grades: K-6
Comments: Founded in 1949 at the height of the McCarthy era by a group of political activists, Westland has tirelessly promoted a free-inquiry style of education since then.

Westlake Preparatory School and Academy, Davie, FL
Religious affiliation: Nonsectarian
Grades: K-12
School Type: Coeducational, day school
Comments: Westlake Preparatory School and Academy embraces the progressive approach to learning. The school offers individualized attention and programs for above-average and gifted children.

Westtown School, Westtown, PA
Type of School: Coed, day school
Grades: PK-12
Comments: Westtown dropped the last of its AP courses in 2007. The school has designed advanced courses for every subject. This has created an exciting learning environment for the school's students.

White Mountain School, Bethlehem, NH
Type of School: Coed, day/boarding school
Grades: 9-12
Comments: White Mountain students make the environment and sustainability part of their daily learning. It's part of the school's philosophy of encouraging young people to own their education.

Windrush School, El Cerrito, CA
Type of School: Coed, day school
Grades: K-8
Comments: "Windrush students are thoughtful, joyful and introspective." What more can I say? This is one of those lovely schools in the compassionate progressive tradition.

Wingra School, Madison, WI
Type of School: Coed, day school
Grades: K-8
Comments: A progressive school in the heart of one of the great universities in this country is indeed a felicitous combination.

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