All spots for the 2016-17 school year have been filled. However, we do have a Wait List for all grade levels. If you are interested in adding your name to the Wait List, please apply today. Thank you.


“We like the idea of happiness being emphasized as a measure of success… the IDEA School’s philosophy fits with the educational experience we envision for our daughter.”
– Cecelia and Daniel, parents of 1st grader

We are an independent K-8 school focused on student inquiry and social-emotional development. We develop critical thinkers, problem solvers, and productive, engaged citizens.

We are inspired by the work of SF Brightworks, the #StartEmpathy/Changemaker Schools initiative, the Reggio Emilia philosophy, and the work of innovative educators and students everywhere. We believe all children are intrinsically motivated learners and constructors of knowledge, and enjoy being productive. This is the foundation for everything we do.

We are enrolling K-6 for 2016-17 and will add a grade a year until we reach K-8.  Our students learn in mixed-age groups with multiple collaborators (teachers), with plenty of opportunities for smaller group and individual work through our projects, research and explorations.  For a look inside the IDEA School check out our Blog.


Check out this little video about IDEA School’s inaugural year, when we were K-3, created by students at The Art Institute!


  • Children of all ages are intrinsically motivated learners, capable of extraordinary insight, passion and joy in their learning.
  • We have the opportunity to truly nurture our children’s intrinsic motivation to learn.  It is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss.
  • Collaboration is central to learning, and children who feel a strong sense of community do better – in school and in life.
  • Authentic assessment allows us to truly measure what children know and can do, and partner with them to help them push their learning further.


We are proud to be a member of the Ashoka Changemaker Schools Network, 200+ innovative schools around the world (70 in the United States) who make empathy and changemaking — “empathy in action” — a core pillar of what we do.  Onward to more shared learning and collaboration as we reinvent what school can be!

Our students are engaged in learning inspired by: their ideas and questions, experiences in the community, teacher-generated provocations, and expert visits/field studies.  Our work focuses on real-world challenges with a real audience, and we use projects as a jumping off point for deeper exploration of academic concepts and the development of 21st Century Skills.

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We built the IDEA School on the basic premise that when children are engaged, amazing things happen. We want kids to still be as engaged by school when they’re in 8th Grade as they were when they were in Kindergarten, because school is still relevant to them and they see that their ideas have an audience, their work matters, and the sky’s the limit in terms of what they learn and how they apply it.

For a look at our curriculum and pedagogy, click here.

To apply, click here.


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“I love seeing my son confidently present his learning to the community, and I love seeing him mentor the younger kids, too!”

— Michelle, parent of 4th grader


Thank you for your interest in the IDEA School. We’re glad you’re here!

Arizona Tuition Tax Credit

Arizona Tuition Tax Credit

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