Educational Philosophy

  • Learn how Pretend City builds better brains through play.

    Featuring Bill Habermehl,
    Former Orange County Superintendent of Schools

  • Pretend City Builds Better Brains

    Based on extensive research in the field of early childhood education, brain development, and 100+ combined years of our experience with children, Pretend City’s educational philosophy is as follows:

    Simply put: Children learn best when they’re actively having fun at it!

    Our philosophy is based on principals put forth by the developmental pioneer, Piaget and repeatedly validated through vast educational research about how children learn most effectively. He found that when children discover and construct their own knowledge through hands-on rich learning experiences is how children learn best. In addition, along with another noted developmental psychologist Vygotsky, we believe that children have a better understanding of their learning while in a social setting with other learners. These two learning theories when combined produce what we know to be the most effective model for educating young children. It is called Social Constructivism and is the educational framework supporting all learning that will happen in Pretend City.


  • This multi-dimensional educational philosophy, when put into practice through the children’s museum’s exhibits and programs, will produce exciting success-building outcomes in the lives of children:

    • An understanding of how the world works and a sense of belonging within it
    • A positive self-concept and attitude toward learning
    • The development of curiosity, imagination, and visioning
    • A sense of mastery and accomplishment
    • An understanding of new concepts and how to apply them
    • An appreciation for social and cultural diversity
    • The intrinsic motivation to learn more – a love for learning
    • Understanding about the vast interdependency of things in the world
    • The skills to exercise and build critical thinking, reasoning, and problem-solving
    • Relationship-building through the pure enjoyment and validation of “playing” with family members and other significant adults
    • The skills to communicate and get along effectively
    • Ignite creativity through a supportive learning environment

    Pretend City’s educational philosophy is research-driven, experience-rich and will positively help young children to learn in a way that is lasting and fosters a life-long love of learning.