The philosophy of Evergreen Community
School is based primarily on social construc-
tivist theory which asserts the following:

Knowledge is built by the learner internally
rather than being imported from an external

The experiential world is complex and
intricate, thus learning involves the consider-
ation of multiple truths, representations and

Constructivist learning environments
emphasize authentic tasks in a meaningful
context rather than abstract instruction out
of context.

Social discourse and negotiation help stu-
dents 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 chil-
dren bring into focus what is rele-
vant to them, thus providing the
motivation for meaningful and con-
textually grounded explorations.
Their activities are problem cen-
tered and often require sustained
social, physical and mental partici-
pation. The unraveling of cognitive
knots is a joyful process in which
multiple realities are explored,
thereby acknowledging the com-
plexity of the real world. Teachers
stimulate and support children's
learning by challenging their hypoth-
eses, offering additional material
resources, modeling reflection and
asking children to elaborate their

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 trans-
form. 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, "Educa-
tion is not the preparation for life. Education is life."