Students learn by doing at The Children’s School in La Jolla; Open House on Nov. 7

A teacher shares reading strategies at The Children's School in La Jolla.
(Courtesy Photo)


Learning by doing is something most educational experts know is effective, but few schools fully incorporate the teaching style into their classrooms. Not so at The Children’s School in La Jolla. Founded in 1972, the school emphasizes a “learn by doing” method to foster curiosity and encourage intellectual growth. It’s one of several facets of The Children’s School’s progressive teaching methods.

Head of School John Fowler defined it this way: “The progressive model recognizes the importance of engaging students in their learning. We encourage collaborative work with our students to teach them to embrace the ideas of others and learn to problem-solve as a team.”

To tour the school and meet the staff, The Children’s School will host an Open House, 5-6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019 on its campus at 2225 Torrey Pines Lane in La Jolla.

Under Fowler’s direction, The Children’s School maintains small class sizes and provides frequent opportunities for students to engage in conversations about learning to build confidence. “We understand that how we treat others has a huge impact on a person’s happiness and success,” Fowler explained, “and for this reason, we focus on social, as well as intellectual growth.”

Touted as “San Diego’s only progressive, independent school choice for toddlers to eighth-graders,” the school also offers a wide range of afterschool enrichment classes and extracurricular programs. Options include yoga, piano, video production, chess, cooking, drawing, technology, sports, science, dance and more.

Fowler has been head of the school for six years and defines his role as: “to support the teachers and to make sure all of the kids are well known and get a great education.”

However, he acknowledged the Internet continues to challenge to the school’s progressive model, and really, all education models.

“The biggest challenge is the constant blitz of information kids receive,” he said. “The push seems to be to ‘think fast,’ rather than to ‘think carefully.’

“The unrelenting stream of information is stressful and has been linked to the increase in childhood anxiety.”

How does The Children’s School help students overcome this modern dilemma?

“Our antidote to the information blitz is to emphasize careful thought and critical thinking,” he said. “We teach our students to evaluate the sources of information they receive. We stress developing a depth of understanding.”

Fowler said he considers himself lucky to head up such a vibrant learning community: “I have the great fortune to spend my day surrounded by people who are happy. Laughter is the background sound to my whole day. I can’t imagine being in a better place.”

The Children’s School is at 2225 Torrey Pines Lane in La Jolla. To learn more or schedule a tour, call (858) 454-0184 or visit

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George learns about anatomy by dissecting a worm at The Children's School in La Jolla.
(Courtesy Photo)
Older students are mentors to younger students in the Learning Buddies program at The Children's School in La Jolla.
(Courtesy Photo)