Fundamental Beliefs

The Putney School was founded in 1935 by Carmelita Hinton, a progressive education pioneer. She distilled the school’s philosophy into these nine fundamental beliefs:

To work not for marks, badges, or honors; but to discover truth and to grow in human understanding and knowledge of the universe, to treasure the hard stretching of oneself, to render service. 

To learn to appreciate and participate in the creative arts, where we give expression to our struggle for communication of our inner lives and for beauty, and to grant these arts great prestige. 

To believe in manual labor, be glad to do one’s share of it and proud of the skills learned in the doing. 

To play just as wholeheartedly as one works, but watching out a bit for the competitive angle, remembering that play is for recreation and an increased joy in living. 

To want to lend a hand to the community at large, not to live in an “ivory tower.” 

To combat prejudice and injustice wherever it appears; to strive for a world outlook, putting oneself in others’ places, no matter how far away or how remote. 

To have old and young work together in a true comradeship relation, stressing the community and its need for the cooperation of all. 

To steward and protect the land, to seek ways to live on the earth that are healthy for all beings, and to shape our community as a model of sustainable living. 

To wish to live adventurously though not recklessly, willing to take risks, if need be, for moral growth, so that one definitely progresses along the long slow road toward achieving a civilization worthy of the name. 

– From Carmelita Hinton’s 1954 letter to alumni, amended June 2019

Mission Statement

The Putney School stands for a way of life. Putney is committed to developing each student’s full intellectual, artistic and physical potential. Putney students are encouraged to challenge themselves intellectually, to pursue rigorous learning for its own sake, to actively participate in and appreciate the arts, to contribute meaningfully to the work program that sustains the school community and the farm on which it is located, to engage in vigorous athletics, and to develop a social consciousness and world view that will provide the foundation for life-long moral and intellectual growth.

Mission Statement Adopted June 8, 1997