Best Alternative Education Landscape

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Best Alternative Education Landscape

April 1, 2016

Written by: Diana Smith

If you’re just downright disappointed with the public school system or the curriculum isn’t something you’d want your child exposed to, there’s a solution for you. Get rid of the traditional drudgery of homework, lectures and written reports and dare to give alternatives a try.image 1 (1)

The Steiner-Waldorf method

Austrian scientist and philosopher Rudolf Steiner created a method that focuses on kids’ bodily, soul and spiritual aspects. With influences like Piaget and Goethe, Steiner considered that there are 3 periods of kids’ advancement. The main idea relies on prescribing and prohibiting what is to be taught in particular period.

Steiner’s first Waldorf school curriculum aimed at preparation of pupils for real life, with accent on creativity and spiritual and social values. The approach in short:

  • 0-7 years: development of non-cognitive skills via nonacademic environment interaction
  • Learning writing before reading only after age of 7
  • 7-14 years: emphasis on imagination and creativity (foreign language, dance, performing arts)
  • after 14 years: more serious and socially responsible subjects

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Harkness method

Interestingly, this approach centers on a furniture item – oval table piece. A successful businessman and humanitarian, Edward Harkness believed that a number of topics should be extensively discussed at these classroom tables between students and teachers. Opinions can be presented, proved or dropped, revised and back again. No student should have the dominant role and obstruct the flow. All this makes the topics uniquely tackled every year.

Next, the Harkness manner is perfect for smaller settings, not more than 15 students per class. This enables individuality of pupils’ opinions and personalities to shine. This method left the responsibility in the hands of each student while giving them encouragement to grow and speak.

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The method of Reggio Emilia

This region-named teaching idea has somewhat smaller audience, the kids from 3-6 years of age. The author of this method, Loris Malaguzzi has seen children as able, inquisitive and confident persons that need a bit of nudge to guide their own learning process. This certainly cannot go without mutual respect among students and teachers.

Also, parents should be more involved in their kid’s early educational period. The design of classroom should instill a sense of homeliness and make the curriculum completely student-proof. The presence of arty supplies and working on children’s creativity is a standard element. In the end, student receives a full record of former achievements.

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The Sudbury method

This kind of learning arena lets students decide completely about the topics and techniques, and evaluation is their job (optional, too). The “institution” of weekly school meetings serve for pupils to vote on a myriad of things, from budget and school rules to staff hiring. Everyone has a vote, staff members as well.

The philosophy of Sudbury delegates a certain extent of responsibility to students who are observed as capable individuals. Unfortunate decisions are just another learning opportunity. Contrary to many private and public schools, motivation is not an issue here as it is deemed inherent to pupils. Lastly, age division doesn’t exist with this method.

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Montessori’s method

The idea developed by a physician PhD Maria Montessori rejects the suggestion that kids are blank slates from birth. Instead of that, she claimed that children are given the brains ideal for knowledge absorption and single-handed learning actions. The envisioned framework is supposed to encourage the students to make their own free choices about their school time and educational opportunities. This pioneering method is now often present in early stages of education and preschools.

Montessori opposed the traditional constrictive method and sought to enable periods of much needed long concentration while the teacher stands aside and observes. Using realia is a major thing here as well. This method is proven to lead to better academic and social skills in children.

We have tried our best to describe what these out-of-the-ordinary teaching methods are all about. Take your time to select the perfect fit.

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