Journal Entry

Introducing ATI’s Progress Studies for Young Scholars


PSYS is an online summer program about the history of technology open to all high schoolers.

Higher Ground Education is thrilled to announce a new online learning program for high school students: Progress Studies for Young Scholars (PSYS). The course will focus on an aspect of history usually skipped over in school: explaining the incredible advances that characterize the modern world.

PSYS launches in June as a summer program, with daily online learning activities for 6 weeks. We’ll be covering the history of technology and invention: the challenges of life and work and how we solved them, leading to the increase in living standards over the last few centuries. Topics will include the advances in materials; automation of manufacturing and agriculture; the progression of energy from steam to oil to electricity; how railroads, cars, and airplanes shrank the world; the conquest of infectious disease through sanitation, vaccines, and antibiotics; and the rise of computers and the Internet. The course will also prompt students to consider the future of progress, and what part they want to play in it.

The importance of this neglected history is a theme of Montessori’s work. In her writing on adolescence, she writes of the importance of “the feeling that human life is triumphant over the cosmos: Mankind should feel itself King of all that has been created, transformer of the earth, builder of a new nature, collaborator in the universal work of creation” (FCTA, Appendix C). The primary pedagogical vehicle of this sentiment, in her view, is a proper understanding of history, particularly a history focused on “the creations of man at the centre” (1946, Lecture 1). This understanding precedes a love and appreciation of what has come before and a sense of possibility about what is to come in the future.

The PSYS program will be guided self-study, with daily reading, podcasts or video, combined with discussion and Q&A. Students can go through the material entirely on their own for free, or pay to join a study group with peers and a guide and facilitator. Scholarships are available for high school students.

In conjunction, we’re launching a speaker series of talks and interviews with experts in the history of progress, and those at the frontier pushing it forward. Speakers will include Tyler Cowen and Patrick Collison, who coined the term “progress studies”, economic historians Joel Mokyr and Deirdre McCloskey, Michael Strong, the original founder of The Academy of Thought and Industryhear him talk to Jason Crawford at the Roots of Progress here—and many more.

Get the full list of speakers, learn more about the program, and apply at

This is a joint project between The Roots of Progress and Higher Ground Education. Higher Ground operates a network of Montessori schools across the country, serving students from birth through adolescence. 

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