Constructivism

Constructivism is at the heart of Greene Hill School’s approach to teaching. It is the theory that all people construct their own knowledge, developing meaning and understanding through experience and reflection. Based on the research of developmental psychologists and educational theorists like Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, and Eleanor Duckworth, constructivist theory provides a strong framework through which teachers at Greene Hill understand how children learn and what their role is in supporting student learning. We see learning as an active, life-long process, through which people continuously build upon what they already know to refine ideas and create a more complex worldview. The constructivist classroom provides ample opportunities for posing questions, formulating and testing ideas through hands-on experience, and examining theories through rich discussion. Here are just a few examples of constructivist theory in action at Greene Hill School:

  • At the onset of an immigration study, children interview relatives, family friends, and community members about their experiences coming to America. Through discussion and readings, they identify common themes in the immigration experience, and wonder together about the stories that stand outside those themes.
  • Students designing and testing catapults to gather data to help determine the algebraic equation of an arc.