The progressive education tradition at Hanahau‘oli School is deeply rooted in the John Dewey philosophy of education, the University of Chicago Laboratory School (1896-1904), and the ideas of Gudrun Thorne Thompson from the Francis Parker School (1901 - Present). Grounded in these origins, the school’s progressive education philosophy and mores include:

  • the idea that school should model an ideal democracy and function as a cooperative society on a small scale, in which students have the opportunity to be an active and productive member of the group, the community, and democratic life at-large

  • educators who design flexible school programing and curriculum to both meet the needs of society and create a better future society

  • teachers as co-inquirers and facilitators of learning who model the the skills, attitudes, and dispositions of the life-long learners they are aiming to cultivate in their students

  • students who are supported along paths of inquiry, generated in part by their own interests and curiosities

  • learning environments in which students use a wide variation of activities to learn in large part through discovery or “learning by doing”

  • a problem-posing curriculum that is situated in real-life learning opportunities for students to engage in authentic problem-solving, critical and creative thought, and reflection about themselves and the world around them

  • a strong connection between school, home, and community life

  • a balance between developing individuality, initiative, and a commitment to the common good

  • commitment to both tradition and innovation

  • joyous work that is characterized by play, deep thinking, and human connection

  • and unending inquiry to discover the conditions under which educative growth actually occurs.