Mission and Philosophy


The Philadelphia School is a coeducational, nonsectarian independent school educating children from preschool through eighth grade. Our mission, as a progressive school and vibrant learning community, is to educate the character and intellect of children.  We want our students to become engaged citizens who are critical thinkers, creative problem solvers, and lifelong learners.


The Philadelphia School’s progressive approach to learning addresses developmental issues:  how a child grows intellectually, creatively, emotionally, socially, morally, and physically. New research about child development, teaching, and learning is regularly incorporated into the school curriculum.  Our diverse community of learners fosters critical thinking, love of learning, and enthusiasm for meaningful work.  We seek to nurture each student’s sense of personal integrity, care for others, and respect for individuality. Through our commitment to learning in the city, country, and classroom, we affirm our founders’ goal of educating students to be thoughtful, responsible, and active stewards of the urban and natural environments. The Philadelphia School’s vigorous, theme-based academic program prepares students for a lifetime of learning and community involvement.

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.