Paideia is a Greek word meaning the upbringing of a child. There are many different pronunciations, but the one we use is pi-day-a.
- Paideia has long been used as a term for education projects. One particular use developed into a major program centered around basic principles and regular use of seminars for all students.
- Between 1979 and 1985 a group of educators met with Mortimer Adler, then Chairman of the Board of Educators for Encyclopedia Britannica, to discuss education reform. They referred to themselves as the Paideia Group. Some of their concerns were: (a) the high use of lecture by teachers (85% of teacher time) as reported by John Goodlad in A Place Called School; (b) excessive stress on coverage of material; (c) lack of equal opportunity to education in the schools; and (d) poor conditions for learning within the school environment as created by such elements as large class size numbers.
- The Paideia Group published three books: Paideia Proposal (1982), Paideia Problems and Possibilities (1983); and The Paideia Program (1984). These books sparked public interest across the country. By 1994 the Paideia Proposal had been translated into 6 different languages. In response to many requests for training, Dr. Adler formed the Paideia Associates in 1985.
- The Paideia Associates designed and conducted the early training and implementation programs. The Paideia Associates formulated the Paideia Principles summarizing major points in the Paideia concept of education. In 1991 members of the original Paideia Group and Associates formed the Paideia Group Inc. (PGI) to monitor and guide the development and spread of the Paideia concept of education.
- PGI is a national not-for-profit organization with national and international members. Mortimer Adler is the Honorary Chairman. Its purpose is to monitor and guide Paideia development, foster networking and sharing of information. In 1992, PGI instituted the stages of development and the essential elements for a Paideia school. In 1993, the board issued the certification process for trainers. PGI conducts regional workshops, an annual national conference and on site Paideia training programs.