The Missoula Community School (MCS) incorporates a progressive education philosophy into the design of excellent early childhood programs for children ages 2 through 6. Progressive education is a pedagogical movement that has persisted in various forms from its beginnings in the late nineteenth century, and is often seen as an alternative to legislated test-oriented instruction. Active classroom engagement, cooperative learning and play, and an emphasis on social relationships and emotional development are practices at MCS that stem from our progressive philosophy. Best practices in early childhood education are combined with this approach and our knowledge of child development to create a nurturing and stimulating learning environment. Our overall philosophy reflects core tenets of our mission: to inspire children to explore their worlds, to create as they develop joy in learning, and to care about themselves and others.