Mission and Philosophy


The Philadelphia School educates children for a future that is impossible to know but not impossible to shape.

Learn here. Go anywhere.


The Philadelphia School’s progressive approach to learning and teaching has deep thinking, innovation, and agency as its guiding values. We encourage children to explore and push the boundaries of possibility to fulfill their intellectual, social, and civic potential. We approach learning through inquiry, projects, and community. Core values and new research inform the school’s program and pedagogical practices. Our interdisciplinary, theme-based approach prepares students to build a stronger and more inclusive school, community, and society for today and tomorrow. 

As an urban, preschool–8th grade school, we address specifically how young students develop intellectually, creatively, emotionally, socially, and physically. Through our commitment to diversity, we seek to nurture each student’s moral compass, sense of personal integrity, and respect for individuality. Learning in the city, country, and classroom affirms our founders’ goal of educating children to become responsible and active stewards of the urban and natural environments. 

Core Values

We value a relational approach to learning and teaching.  We believe that children grow best physically, socially, ethically, and intellectually within networks of trusted peers, families, and teachers.  We nurture, support, and sustain authentic, reciprocal relationships among individuals, groups, and communities.  We create learning experiences that help children understand themselves and their place in the world. We make explicit the interconnectedness of ideas, disciplines, and areas of study. We emphasize compassion, empathy, and respect as essential in shaping the civic leaders of tomorrow.

We value a developmental perspective. We track and support the path and progress of each individual through appropriate developmental stages. Current research influences our practice as we design curriculum, differentiate instruction, and nurture the potential of each learner.

We value an innovative stance. We live in a conceptual age with fast-paced change and growing complexities. Teaching and learning must therefore be a dynamic and responsive process. Our programs reflect the best of long-held practices and current educational research. We are open to new and diverse perspectives and incorporate emerging technologies as tools for expressing ideas, exploring issues, and communicating understandings. 

We value a constructivist approach to learning and teaching. We believe that children naturally make meaning of their lives by actively constructing their own understanding and knowledge of the world. Our curriculum and teaching methods are designed to provide context and experiences that will expand, develop, and challenge a student’s thinking, understanding, and knowledge. Children are encouraged to ask questions, to explore and assess what they know, and to reflect on how new learning connects to their own lives.