Loving Learning: How Progressive Education Can Save America’s Schools


Tom Little and Katherine Ellison
Loving Learning: How Progressive Education Can Save America’s Schools
(Norton, 2015)

Noted educator Tom Little and Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Katherine Ellison reveal the home-grown solution to turning American students into life-long learners.

The longtime head of Park Day School, Tom Little embarked on a tour of 43 progressive schools across the country. In this book, his life’s work, he interweaves his teaching experience, the knowledge he gleaned from his trip, and the history of Progressive Education. As Little and Katherine Ellison reveal, these educators and schools invigorate learning and promote inquisitiveness by allowing the curriculum to grow organically out of children’s questions—whether they lead to studying the senses, working on a farm, or re-creating a desert ecosystem in the classroom.

We see curious students draw on information across disciplines to think in imaginative yet practical ways, like in a “Mini-Maker Faire” or designing and building a chair from scratch. Becoming good citizens was another of Little’s goals. He believed in the need for students to learn how to become advocates for themselves, from setting rules on the playground to engaging in issues of social justice in the wider community.

Using the philosophy of Progressive Education, schools can prepare students to shape a vibrant future in the arts and sciences for themselves and the nation.


Advance Praise for Loving Learning

“This is the book we’ve all been waiting for: a vision of what schools can do to guide children to become happy and engaged learners, productive and creative workers, and active, caring citizens.”
–Madeline Levine, PhD, New York Times best-selling author of Teach Your Children Well

“Both a compelling call to arms to reignite the tenets and practices of American progressive education and a good read.”
–Carolyn Saper, Booklist review

“This book will lift your spirits, remind you of what is possible, provide you with some of the knowledge you’ll need to advocate for child-centered learning — and help you feel connected to so many other educators on this same journey. You’ll close this book knowing what progressive education means, with vivid details of what it looks like in action on a daily basis…armed with concrete ideas for how to shift your classroom or school into a place where more children are loving learning every day.”
–Elena Aguilar, Transformational Leadership Coach, Edutopia review


Read the Kirkus Review of Loving Learning

Read the Publishers Weekly review of Loving Learning

Read the Booklist review of Loving Learning

Read the Edutopia review of Loving Learning