CSS is founded on a constructivist educational philosophy developed by renowned Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget. After years of observing children, Piaget found that they learn best when they explore and discover on their own, constructing their knowledge through hands-on experiences and problem solving.
Piaget believed that children learn best from concrete “real” experiences. True knowledge cannot be “told” to children; they must discover and construct it through their activities and mistakes. Children are continually active, and they must find out about and make sense of their world. As they do, they remake their mental structures, permitting them to deal with ever more complex information. This remaking of mental structures ensures that learning is stable and lasting. Without this foundation, learning does not last.“True knowledge cannot be ‘told’ to children; they must discover and construct it through their activities and mistakes.”
Constructivism at Creative Science School
CSS teachers encourage students to be independent thinkers, learners, and problem solvers. Students build social, reading, writing, math, and science skills through participating, observing, interacting, theorizing, experimenting, recording their findings, and drawing conclusions.
See the Difference
- What is the teacher? A guide, not a guard.
- What is learning? A journey, not a destination.
- What is discovery? Questioning the answers, not answering the questions.
- What is the process? Discovering ideas, not covering content.
- What is the goal? Open minds, not closed issues.
- What is the test? Being and becoming, not remembering and reviewing.
- What is the school? Whatever we choose to make it.
Curriculum is presented whole to part with emphasis on big concepts.
Pursuit of student questions is highly valued.
Curricular activities rely heavily on primary sources of data and manipulative materials.
Students are viewed as thinkers with emerging theories about the world.
Teachers generally behave in an interactive manner, mediating the environment for students.
Teachers seek the students’ points of view in order to understand students’ present conceptions for use in subsequent lessons.
Assessment of student learning is interwoven with teaching and occurs through teacher observations of students at work and through student exhibitions and portfolios.
Students work primarily in groups.
Curriculum is presented part to whole, with emphasis on basic skills.
Strict adherence to fixed curriculum is highly valued.
Curricular activities rely heavily on textbooks and workbooks.
Students are viewed as “blank slates” onto which information is etched by the teacher.
Teachers generally behave in a didactic manner, disseminating information to students.
Teachers seek the correct answer to validate student learning.
Assessment of student learning is viewed as separate from teaching and occurs almost entirely through testing.
Students work primarily alone.