Our Mission & History

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A mother. Two young boys. (Make that three, with a friend.) An earnest desire to promote children’s moral and spiritual progress alongside their academic growth. And a commitment to Christian Science . . .

From these seeds sprang the idea and institution that is Principia today.

Back in 1897, when Christian Science practitioner Mary Kimball Morgan began educating her two young sons at home, she wasn’t setting out to establish a school. But soon, word spread among the thriving community of Christian Scientists in St. Louis, and by the next year 15 students were enrolled in “Mrs. Morgan’s school.” The group moved from the Morgans' carriage house into a two-room storefront. A second teacher was hired. Even more students started attending. And that's how—without fanfare, but with a firm foundation in the teachings of Christian Science—Principia officially came into being in 1898.

The first high school class graduated in 1906, and a junior college (one of the first in the nation) was added in 1912. In 1934, Principia’s new four-year liberal arts college, established across the Mississippi River in Elsah, Illinois, graduated its first class. By 1960, all levels of the School had moved to the current campus in St. Louis. And today, both institutions together enroll over 900 young Christian Scientists from states coast to coast and from many countries around the world.

Our mission statement: “The Principia shall seek to serve the Cause of Christian Science through appropriate channels open to it as an educational institution.” Our students will be future lawmakers, educators, scientists, church officers, parents, citizens—and we consider it Principia’s duty to help them “think things through from the basis of Principle,” as Mrs. Morgan phrased it. As a community, we apply this approach in every school endeavor—academics, arts, athletics, and social interactions.

In keeping with its mission, Principia emphasizes these core values:

  • Teaching and learning
  • Thinking and acting from the basis of Principle, Love
  • Unfoldment of character
  • Individual and collective excellence
  • Citizenship and service
  • Innovation and continuous improvement

Principia’s vision for the future focuses on educational excellence, spiritually based character education, and expansive global learning. With the thoughtful and nimble use of technology, we intend to serve increasing numbers of Christian Scientists worldwide with handwrought, experience-based educational offerings.