What is Paideia?
Paideia is not a strategy for teaching, but rather a philosophy of educating the whole child--mind, body, and spirit. Classrooms are student-centered where children encounter fewer teacher-directed lessons and more discovery learning. A wide range of higher order conceptual skills are used to complement, not replace, the traditional basics of reading, writing, and computation. Throughout the year, families and community members are invited to participate in Paideia seminars and experience student projects. In 2020, MHMS became a Nationally Accredited Paideia School for Creative Thinking. Mrs. Tracey Armour (
Our Goals for Students
MHMS has 3 goals for students within our Paideia community:
1) gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the ideas and values of others, including compassion, inclusion, and empathy;
2) become an informed, confident listener and speaker using civil discourse; and
3) connect rigorous literature to their lives.
In addition to our goals, we also acknowledge the 12 Paideia Principles that guide the learning process for students, teachers, and our world:
- that all children can learn;
- that, therefore, they all deserve the same quality of schooling, not just the same quantity;
- that the quality of schooling to which they are entitled is what the wisest parents would wish for their own children, the best education for the best being the best education for all;
- that schooling at its best is preparation for becoming generally educated in the course of a whole lifetime, and that schools should be judged on how well they provide such preparation;
- that the three callings for which schooling should prepare all Americans are, (a) to earn a decent livelihood, (b) to be a good citizen of the nation and the world, and (c) to make a good life for oneself;
- that the primary cause of genuine learning is the activity of the learner’s own mind, sometimes with the help of a teacher functioning as a secondary and cooperative cause;
- that the three types of teaching that should occur in our schools are didactic teaching of subject matter, coaching that produces the skills of learning, and Socratic questioning in seminar discussion;
- that the results of these three types of teaching should be (a) the acquisition of organized knowledge, (b) the formation of habits of skill in the use of language and mathematics, and (c) the growth of the mind’s understanding of basic ideas and issues;
- that each student’s achievement of these results should be evaluated in terms of that student’s competencies and not solely related to the achievements of other students;
- that the principal of the school should never be a mere administrator, but always a leading teacher who should be cooperatively engaged with the school’s teaching staff in planning, reforming, and reorganizing the school as an educational community;
- that the principal and faculty of a school should themselves be actively engaged in learning;
- that the desire to continue their own learning should be the prime motivation of those who dedicate their lives to the profession of teaching.
Paidiea education includes project learning, Paidiea seminar instruction, and intellectual work among students. The curriculum focuses on the study of literature, fine arts, music, foreign language, technology, science, math, and physical health.
MHMS faculty and staff are regularly trained in Paideia seminar, project-based learning, and text selection. The MHMS PTO is instrumental in committing resources for ongoing professional learning.