Educational Philosophies


St. Paul School of Northern Lights has three guiding, progressive educational philosophies: Schools in Reggio-Emilia, Italy, the Finnish education system, and the Place-Based approach. Interwoven, they will build the foundation for the school community and act as the driving force to support all students in their pursuit to learn.

The success of their unique, public preschools has made Reggio-Emilia a highly desired and visited professional development site for educators all over the world. With values overlapping Reggio-inspired learning, Finland transformed their K-12 education system by focusing on equitable outcomes for all students by “doing whatever it takes for each student,” requiring less homework, providing ample outdoor and play time, using integrated curriculum, and making time for reflection. To support these two philosophies in an American setting, we will also implement Place-based education, which grounds learning in students’ surroundings in their particular context and conditions.


Northern Lights Board member, Lani Shapiro, is a long-time Reggio student. Here she explains the history of schools in Reggio-Emilia, Italy.