What do you want your child to learn at school?
- Do you want it to learn to do what it’s told, even if it is against its free will?
- Do you want it to learn all kinds of useless facts which it can forget immediately after an exam or graduation?
If so, you should choose a school where they put a lot of children in one classroom. Where they are monitored by one ‘guard’ only. Where they let them sit and make them shut up, only doing the things they are told to do. Where they tell you that it is safe because they have metal detectors placed at the entrance - now what does that really tell you?!
Choose a place where the teachers don’t take the children outdoors to experience nature, but instead teach them from a book what nature is like… A place where they give you a 15 minutes break to play outside on a playground made of concrete and stone.
Choose a school like this and you will know exactly what kind of child yours will become and what it will have learned: it is very safe…
Or would you rather want your child to grow up to be a responsible human being?
- A unique personality who fully lives the life it chooses to?
- A person who has a larger understanding of the subjects he or she is interested in, because this knowledge was gained on many different sensory levels and therefore will never be forgotten?
- A human being who enjoys life because he is interested and curious to learn more, always seeking answers to the next question and who is creative in finding solutions to the challenges he’s presented with?
If this sounds like the person you would like your child to become, then you will probably enjoy this article…
Because this is what we wanted for our children; a school where life is the teacher and the world is the classroom. Life is one big adventure and so is learning…
So we founded our Aventurijn a few years ago. Aventurijn is a school without a curriculum. As children live their life they are naturally met by questions and challenges: “I want to bake cookies so I have to (learn to) read the recipe.” Or: “I found a caterpillar. Let’s find out what kind of butterfly it will become!”
Of course there is also a possibility to ask for specific classes. The ‘common’ topics like mathematics, biology, history etc. But we also offer Hebrew, Esperanto, photography, tai chi, piano lessons and more. If we don’t have a teacher for the requested class we will look for one. If nothing else we will master the skill ourselves together with the kids.
The role of the adults is important; they set a living example, they guide the children and guard the atmosphere. We observe the children and answer both their verbal and non-verbal questions. Sometimes we propose to work on a specific topic, but the child is always the one who decides what it is going to do.
This is a right each adult has in the free nations. Why not give children the same right? This way they learn to be responsible for their own life. This way they also learn what their talents and gifts are and how they learn best: cognitively, physically, musically etc. This is also the way we facilitate classes: with some children we offer regular (cognitive) lessons, but others learn better by doing games, or singing songs and so we offer the materials in a format that fits their personal needs best.
This approach turns education into a creative process: you never know beforehand what’s going to happen. Learning has become one big adventure!
Not only classes need to be adventurous, the school environment needs to be challenging too.
Sometimes people express a concern that our challenging environment could be potentially dangerous. You see, there’s no fence around the premisses next to the road. We have a rather large pond and a small fire place. And the tools they can use to for building and constructing are adult tools which include electrical equipment…
The reason that we have offer all this on the premisses is because they are part of real life; if children learn how to deal with ‘dangerous’ situations they feel responsible for themselves and for eachother. They get to understand the danger of fire, while at the same time they learn to love the beauty of it.
And because we give them permission to explore these, they don’t have to do it in secret - which is much more dangerous! The fact that we trust them, makes them take responsibility for how they act. If we don’t trust them and make the school more ’safe’, they would trust us to care for their safety. So a really safe school has to be a little bit unsafe. Because safety is based on fear and fear is no base for real life.
That education really works this way was demonstrated by two 12 year old boys when they had their first regular mathematic lessons. “We already know everything in this book, but never had mathematics before!” “Yes, but we learned decimal fractions while doing experiments at the stream in the wood, and do you remember that game of bridge building? That time we also learned a lot about mathematics!”
(This article has been published in Adbusters)Options: • email post • responses rss • trackback