Perennialism: Overview & Practical Teaching Examples

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Progressivism: Overview & Practical Teaching Examples

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 Perennialism
  • 0:52 Evergreen Ideas
  • 2:40 The Great Conversation
  • 5:07 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up


Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

What should schools focus their curricula on? In this lesson, we'll examine perennialism, the philosophy of education that proposes that schools should focus on the classics and evergreen ideas, and we'll examine how teachers can design curricula based on this concept.


Sita is very excited. She's a teacher, and her principal has just asked her to plan her school's curriculum for next school year. It's a great honor; it shows that her principal has faith that Sita knows what should be taught!

But what, exactly, should Sita choose for the curriculum? Some people believe that the school should be teaching the classics, like Shakespeare and Darwin. Others think it's important to look at newer, less classic figures and learn from them.

Perennialism in education is the idea that school curricula should focus on what is everlasting. You can remember the word 'perennialism' by remembering that perennial means lasting for many years. Thus, perennialism is focused on things that have lasted for many years.

Let's look closer at perennialism and how Sita might use it in her curriculum planning.

Evergreen Ideas

One of the cornerstones of perennialism is the concept of evergreen ideas, or philosophies that last through many generations. Think of the old adage, 'All's fair in love and war.' Whether you believe that it's true or not, it's been around a long time, and many people have explored it in different ways.

To create a perennialist curriculum, Sita will want to focus on evergreen ideas and avoid fads and other new ideas. In other words, she'll want to stick with what's tried and true. The way that an evergreen lasts all year round (and for many, many years), evergreen ideas last a long time and are applicable to many people through many generations.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create An Account