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Progressive Education in New York City Private Schools

Progressive education is a theory of teaching based on the principle of humans as social beings who learn best when in real-life activities with others. According to Wikipedia,  “Most progressive educators believe that children learn as if they were scientists, following a process similar to John Dewey’s model of learning:

  1. Become aware of the problem.
  2. Define the problem.
  3. Propose hypotheses to solve it.
  4. Evaluate the consequences of the hypotheses from one’s past experience.
  5. Test the likeliest solution.

In New York City, there are several schools that utilize the progressive education theory in their educational models, using groups and togetherness as an educational tool. One of these is the Corlears School, “Corlears School was created through the determined efforts of a group of parents and educators working together in the spirit of innovation and collaboration.”

Progressive education is a pedagogical movement that began in the late 19th century and has continued in one form or another to the present day. Now, it’s known as an alternative to test-oriented instruction that was legislated by the No Child Left Behind educational funding act.

Though many schools utilize progressive education in a way that integrates it into their own curriculum, all have certain criteria in common.  For example, progressive education is a hands-on experience; children learn by doing rather than listening. Groups are very important and working together helps develop social skills at a very early age. Progressive education also focuses problem solving and critical thinking, as well as integrating community service and service learning projects are placed into the daily curriculum. Instead of text books, progressive education uses tools and materials as a variation to learning resources.

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