Progressive Education for the 21st Century

Since its founding in 1988, Aurora School has remained true to a progressive approach to education. John Dewey, a philosopher and educator often cited as the father of progressive education, believed that learning should be rooted in social, interactive exchanges where children are active participants.

Aurora’s Progressive Educational Philosophy

Today, progressive education thrives at Aurora School. Each day we nurture students along individual learning trajectories with daily opportunities to construct meaning, think critically, work collaboratively and self-reflect. Underlying each of these moments is the belief that children can and should develop into resilient, socially aware, lifelong learners who take risks. Progressive education is about creating active citizens, teaching children that they have a voice and can make change both within and beyond the school walls.

True progressive education emphasizes:

Academic Rigor

  • Learning by doing – experiential learning, hands-on projects
  • Strong emphasis on skillful problem solving and critical thinking
  • Social studies-based integrated curriculum focused on thematic units
  • Understanding and action as the goals of meaningful learning as opposed to rote knowledge
  • De-emphasis on textbooks in favor of varied learning resources
  • Assessment through observation and documentation, understanding individual progress, skills not tests

Student Centered Learning

  • Constructivist approach to learning
  • Developmentally appropriate curriculum
  • Differentiated learning
  • Choice


  • Group work and development of social skills creating empathic, effective communicators and collaborators
  • Education for social responsibility and democracy
  • Integration of community service and service learning projects into the daily curriculum
  • Emphasis on lifelong learning and social skills

Academic Rigor in a Progressive Setting

Aurora was founded as a progressive school in 1988. To this day, we remain committed to progressive education. By definition, progressive education is academically rigorous. Teachers guide students to do their personal best in all content areas while creating an atmosphere in which students are joyful learners who are engaged and enthusiastic about their learning.

Catch a glimpse of Progressive Education at Aurora in action!