Ambleside School’s philosophy and methods are based upon the ideas of British author, philosopher and educator Charlotte Mason (1842-1923), who founded a teacher training college in Ambleside, England. She also inspired the creation of the Parents’ National Education Union, and shaped the work of education in hundreds of primary and secondary schools worldwide. Her ideas are set forth extensively in a compilation of six volumes of her writings.
Charlotte Mason fostered a method of education focused upon providing an optimal learning atmosphere; cultivating mature habits of relating to God, self, others, creation and ideas; and providing access to the best work of the most inspirational minds.
During the mid-20th century the culture moved away from this type of thinking to an expedient demand for more workers and schools modeled after factories, where children were viewed more like products to be produced with efficient standardized systems and behaviorist techniques. After experiencing the futility felt in this type of education, and discovering the alternative offered by Charlotte Mason, Susan Schaeffer Macaulay (Francis Schaeffer’s daughter) wrote a book in 1987 called For the Children’s Sake, which reintroduced Charlotte Mason’s methods and philosophy. Over the last 20 years a growing movement of educators and home school parents in the United States have embraced this common-sense approach to education.
As part of that movement, Ambleside schools began to be established and Ambleside Schools International (ASI) was founded to build and to serve a worldwide community of these schools and training centers. Ambleside School of Colorado is a member school of ASI and is committed to carrying on Charlotte Mason’s vision of providing a “living education” to children.