The philosophy of Evergreen Community School is based primarily on social constructivist theory which asserts the following:
Knowledge is built by the learner internally rather than being imported from an external source.
The experiential world is complex and intricate, thus learning involves the consideration of multiple truths, representations and perspectives.
Constructivist learning environments emphasize authentic tasks in a meaningful context rather than abstract instruction out of context.
Social discourse and negotiation help students clarify and modify their ideas, thus enabling the student to build a personal knowledge base.
To facilitate our constructivist view we have designed an environment that encourages children to freely and creatively manipulate objects and ideas. Our days unfold as children bring into focus what is relevant to them, thus providing the motivation for meaningful and contextually grounded explorations. Their activities are problem centered and often require sustained social, physical and mental participation. The unraveling of cognitive knots is a joyful process in which multiple realities are explored, thereby acknowledging the complexity of the real world. Teachers stimulate and support children's learning by challenging their hypotheses, offering additional material resources, modeling reflection and asking children to elaborate their understandings.
"Education is not the preparation for life. Education is life."
Education is not a product or goal to be attained, rather it is an ongoing process of growing and learning. Through a coupling of experience and reflection we evolve and transform. While change can be unsettling, it can also invigorate and inspire—particularly when resulting from purposeful, open-minded reflection. Reflective practice is at the heart of both learning and teaching at Evergreen. As we explore new possibilities and approaches, guided by our own research and that of the larger education community, we are continually reconstructing and refining our program. Thus our learning process as educators mirrors (as well as shapes) that of our students. As John Dewey said, "Education is not the preparation for life. Education is life."