Question #17: My Ideal School?
(This post is part of a series for July 2013 entitled “Question Month.” Read the intro to the series here.)
My Facebook post earlier today:
“Question No. 17: What exactly am I looking for in a school for my kids and why is it so hard to find?”
What exactly am I looking for? I have had a rolling, roiling pile of mental lists for quite some time and it is a relief to finally jot down whatever I can remember.
LOCATION: proximate. Ideally walking/biking distance, with inviting classrooms containing comfortable child-sized furniture, free child access to wide variety of materials, a good outdoor play area containing both playground equipment and as many natural elements as possible, and student-maintained vegetable gardens. As non-toxic an environment as possible.
COST: little or none.
CURRICULUM: alternative. Arts and foreign language are essential. Ideally Montessori or similar philosophy or at least a lot of hands-on learning. Very little time spent all at desks doing the same thing at the same time unless subject is naturally appealing to most/all children (for example: science experiments, open-ended art projects). Lots of outdoor time and unstructured and/or student-led learning opportunities.
ADMINISTRATION: community-oriented. Non-punitive disciplinary system. Up on latest research regarding all aspects of education. Ideally both highly intelligent and moderately idealistic.
TEACHERS: well-trained, creative, devoted to kids, in line with administration’s philosophy but both willing and able to put own stamp on classroom experience. Diverse in all possible ways (race, age, sexual orientation, background, etc). Ideally all kinds of brilliant, kind, and humorous. Paid appropriately and valued highly by administration and parents alike.
STUDENT BODY: diverse in race, ethnicity, economic status, primary language, and learning style. This is not optional. Ideally interaction between ages is facilitated (multi-age classrooms, mentoring of younger students by older students, and/or whole-school activities).
That’s what I’m looking for.
Why is it so hard to find?
See above list.
(Hands-on learning with Thor.)