Progressive Schools - Focusing on the Whole Child To Create Good People

Progressive education focuses on developing the whole child, with emphasis on active learning, deep understanding, community, collaboration, social justice, and intrinsic motivation.

The goal of progressive education is to help children learn to be not simply good learners, but to also learn to be good people. School is more than academics. Students need to learn independence, the value of thinking and learning, and of contributing to the communities where they live.

School like All Saints’ Episcopal Day School are hard to find. These 4-year progressive middle schools go above and beyond the traditional core academic competencies of English, math, and science. The focus is on the whole child. This helps the children become good students who know the value of learning, but also helps them become good people as well.

All Saints’ Progressive Education

At All Saints’ Episcopal Day School, our progressive middle school program emphasizes the following areas of excellence for all our students.

Active Learning. Students from pre-kindergarten through fourth grade learn in an environment which stimulates and nurtures active engagement. In addition to the rich curriculum, they have weekly classes at the library, weekly religion and life skills classes, and engage in age-appropriate service projects.

Middle school students learn to be leaders in the school in preparation for becoming leaders in their community. They meet twice daily with their academic advisor and a small cohort of classmates for guidance as they develop their agency and advocacy skills. Students learn to take accountability for their academic expectations and time management through our challenging, creative, and well-developed curriculum.
In seventh and eighth grades, students explore individual interests through electives and extracurricular activities. They actively participate in every stage of the learning process, constructing ideas as they experiment, question, discuss, explore, research, and create.

Deep Understanding. Instead of saddling students with rote learning of facts, progressive education promotes understanding of the issues. When students reach middle school, they move from self-contained classrooms to learning in subject-specific environments.

Student education is focused on solving problems, engaging in projects, and asking questions. Facts and skills are of course recognized as important, but teaching is more interdisciplinary and not focused on rote memorization. Students learn to understand issues and to achieve excellence in classes where they are challenged.

Students learn that when much has been given to them, much is expected. Good citizenship is emphasized as they prepare to leave All Saints’, sound of body, mind, and soul.

Community. Students learn with and from each other in a caring community that fosters moral formation as well as strong academic principles. When students leave All Saints’, they have the confidence, compassion, and creativity they need to live fruitful lives and to serve in their communities and in the world.

Collaboration. Progressive schools focus on working with other students to solve problems. The learning process involves collaboration, cooperation, responsibility, and independence.

Social Justice. Students learn that serving others is an important part of living on this planet. Every school year at All Saints’, students at each grade level work with a faculty member to choose a service project. Through these volunteer activities, students learn to care for others and share their experiences through classroom discussions.

There are many causes and organizations to which the students, their parents, and the faculty have given their time. This community involvement allows the students to see beyond themselves and to recognize the importance of improving the lives of others.

Intrinsic Motivation. A successful progressive education program instills in students the desire to continue learning. They will want to read, think, and question even when outside the confines of a classroom. Progressive educators believe that homework, grades, and tests may improve short-term skills, but are ineffective at promoting a long-term intrinsic motivation to learn for learning’s sake.
The All Saints' scholastic environment is one that was designed around the idea of inspiring children to pursue their natural curiosities. They learn how to take intelligent risks and explore the depths of their innate talents. This enables them to reach a high level of achievement while the independence of learning aids them in achieving a high degree of self-confidence.


At All Saints’ Episcopal Day School, we are proud of our reputation as an exceptional progressive private middle school in Phoenix. We honor children while working to instill an intrinsic motivation to become independent learners who recognize their role as members of the community. They learn how to participate in projects that improve the community and world in which they live by building an environment of spiritual, academic, and social excellence.
Students learn to collaborate with each other. They learn about social justice and develop a deep understanding of issues that matter. If you are seeking a progressive education for your child, we invite you to schedule a visit at All Saints’ to meet some of our team and learn more about our approach to progressive education.