Dr. John Dewey, the profound American educational reformer grew up in Burlington, Vermont. He graduated from the University of Vermont and received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. His career spanned the period in American education that saw the shift from traditional modes of education into more progressive ways of learning. He spent his academic career lecturing at the University of Chicago and was appointed as the Dean of School of Education at the University of Chicago. His concept of pragmatism became a unique phenomenon of American culture including his famous words "Education as Life, School as Society". In 1919, he gave lectures in Beijing, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Shanghai and other cities, disseminating his educational theory into China.

VIA's philosophy of education builds on the fundamental principles of a progressive education and delivers a 21st century curriculum instantiated by an:

√ Emphasis on using information in unpredictable situations
√ Emphasis on discerning problems that should be solved
√ Emphasis on balanced relationship between math, science and arts
√ Emphasis on using math and science as tools for innovation and creativity
√ Emphasis on knowledge, know how problem solving and intellectual growth
√ Emphasis on innovation
√ Emphasis on effective and perfect solutions
√ Emphasis on abilities of understanding and insight
√ Pursuit of rigorous American education in a Chinese cultural context
√ Emphasis on world history and literature
√ Emphasis on college preparatory work in courses across the curriculum
√ Relying on reason, thesis and evidence