Mission & Philosophy | Progressive Portland, Oregon School

Our mission is to nurture children’s natural love of learning and to cultivate Academic Excellence and Emotional Intelligence by building confidence, creativity, compassion and inquisitive minds.

We support our students by developing and being responsive to each child’s growth in optimal well-being. Learning at Summa is an interactive process that values imagination, creativity, and the joy of life. We draw forth the intrinsic motivation of each child so that learning is the best it can be—an enjoyment driven by curiosity.

Summa’s educational approach is grounded in the best theory and practices developed by leading educators, past and present. Our methods are child-centered, experiential, emergent, project, and inquiry-based. Emphasis is placed on the learner’s relationship with his or her world, on whole-child development, customized learning, and developmental appropriateness.

Families are supported at Summa, and families support Summa Academy. Strong family relationships promote resilience and success in students.

Summa’s Core Philosophy

A core philosophy permeates Summa Academy—Natural Learning Relationships. Natural Learning Relationships is a map of the child’s inherent wholeness.

Natural Learning Relationship Logo

Natural – the essential qualities or inherent capacities with which we are born
Learning – movement through life to gain knowledge, appreciation or mastery
Relationships – mutual respect in which inspiration and wisdom emerge

Natural Learning Relationships describes our essential qualities or inherent capacities (natural) that move us through life to gain knowledge, appreciation, or mastery (learning) nurtured by mutual respect in which inspiration and wisdom emerge (relationships).

Natural Learning Relationships draws upon extensive child development research and brain research, particularly in the field of interpersonal neuro-biology. Supported by Natural Learning Relationships students develop their ability to self-reflect. This builds confidence, creativity, compassion, and inquisitive minds.

Summa educators use Natural Learning Relationships to guide each student. Students know they are cared for. Educators know their students strengths, challenges, and learning styles. Academic Excellence and Emotional Intelligence follow. Summa educators provide the right information, at the right time, in the right way.

Our students’ school life and home life are not two separate activities. We strive to integrate a child’s home life, curriculum, and social interactions into a seamless flow of growth and knowledge.


This is Natural Learning Relationships