Educational Philosophy

Sussex Students at the Science Fair

Sussex has proudly served the Missoula community for over 45 years as an alternative to the public schools. Our education is progressive and focuses on developing: collaboration, creativity, conscientiousness, curiosity, critical thinking, and courage. Learning at Sussex is student focused and driven, curriculum is authentic and deep in nature, and expectations for students are high with each teacher pushing their students to take risks and produce their best work.

A Sussex Education is focused on these four pillars:

  • Whole child education – We teach to the academic, social and emotional needs of students believing in creating lifelong learners and good people who can manage their emotions and create meaningful relationships. 
  • Experiential education – Real-world, project-based learning is at the heart of our lessons and curriculum. Student learn through hands-on activities so that they may understand the purpose and applicable nature of their subjects. Experiential education happens in the community, the outdoors, and in the classroom. 
  • Meaningful relationships – Students have the opportunity to learn the most when they have strong and safe relationships with their teachers, peers, and a community of supportive adults around them.  With relationship development at the core our teaching philosophy, our faculty help students reach their potential in myriad ways.  
  • Engaged Community – Sussex is a parent cooperative and as such we spend time and attention on developing our internal community which helps create opportunities for our students. Likewise we believe that Sussex is an important part of our larger community, and we have an obligation and an ability to engage through service and participation in the Missoula community and beyond.


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“My time at Sussex (1st-8th grade) was both pivotal and foundational. The innovative and hands-on structure of the curriculum inspired an infinite love of learning and fostered my creativity, while also sparking my curiosity at every turn.”

– Jordie Bornstein ’82