Discover some alternative educational approaches, including learning centers in support of homeschooling and the “self-sufficient” school.
The Quebec Network of Democratic Schools (REDA) held its 2017 symposium. The first day saw different learning centers.
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1. What is a democratic school?
The democratic school belongs to an educational movement where justice, respect, and trust in the other are particularly valued, where the pupil’s voice, which decides himself when and what he wants to study, Of the responsible adult.
The oldest active school is Summerhill. It probably takes a lot of experience remember this book that seduced the young educator and mother I was, Summerhill’s Free Children.
Schools in the democratic movement are not permitted in Quebec, where compulsory education requires that children aged 6 to 16 be educated per the education programs of the Ministered education. One of the objectives of the REDA is to influence the government to allow the creation of democratic schools. On the Network’s website, the following premise can be read: “We recognize that many young people are able to succeed in the schools of the current Quebec education system. On the other hand, we remain concerned about the number of young people who are unable to acclimate to the demands of these schools and who often feel misunderstood in this education system. In so doing, we wish to promote the creation of democratic schools to increase the diversity of educational options to meet the needs of a greater number of Québec students. “In the meantime, here are some other “alternative” educational approaches, presented at the last REDAQ colloquium.
2. Self-sufficient schools
They are at the heart of a school project that aims to unite technology and nature. The concept is well developed and can be discovered (or even encouraged!) On the participatory financing site La Ruche. In the meantime, the offers lectures and training to develop some “self-sufficient” components in your school.
Technology awakens young people, they are less naive than previous generations. They hear about environmental issues and want to make sense of their learning, she explains.
The main values of this “self-sufficient” movement are autonomy, the importance of the community and cooperation in relation to nature.
The search for food self-sufficiency, with four-season vegetable gardens possible by a creative arrangement of space: plants that grow along the walls and even on the ceiling as in some Japanese schools, or greenhouses adjacent to the walls of the ‘school. Energy autonomy would provide schools with welcome budgetary surpluses. The aim is a complete autonomy of the establishment, as at the school.
3. Home School and Learning Centers
Unschooling, or voluntary non-schooling, is illegal in Quebec because schooling is compulsory. On the other hand, school is allowed at home and several parents decide to teach their children themselves. They are not isolated in their approach. A whole community in town or in the regions participates in this different way of enrolling children.
For example, learning centers (these are not schools) seek to offer these parents a place for pooling resources and to children, the pleasure of meeting peers. Here are two.
4. Montreal’s Agile Educational Center
All new, it opened its doors on January 9, 2017. This bilingual learning center is aimed at a clientele of adolescents from 11 to 18 years.
The eleven teenagers currently attending this “non-school” can go from one to four times a week and participate in more extra-curricular activities than formal learning. Young people themselves determine their learning objectives and evaluate their progress per criteria they have established themselves. They may have access to a mentor if they so desire. They are encouraged to use the educational resources of the community, seek out of the center the individuals or groups who respond to their quest for knowledge or know-how. The center is organized democratically by committees and requires peaceful communications.
The young people themselves put online their electronic portfolio, mirroring their learning, which will be used to apply for a job or pursue higher education. The center works with members of the Agile Learning Centers network.
5. The Community Center
It is a community center run by volunteers for families in the Montreal area who teach their children at home. It is aimed at a clientele of children from 5 to 12 years old.
At the center, parents are responsible for their children. They must not only participate actively in the organization of activities but also in the maintenance of the premises. The activities offered at the center do not have specific educational objectives. On the other hand, the offers parents a set of resources, the primary and secondary school programs, not only from Quebec but also from several other Canadian provinces, as well as a list of distance education programs (unfortunately all English).
Various workshops are also offered on site from 4 pm during the week, as well as a day camp during the summer holidays.
6. Waldorf School or learning the Sweetness of life
The Rudolf Steiner schools are also called Waldorf schools. The first Rudolf Steiner school in Montreal (ERSM), founded in 1980, is a private school. It was the first francophone Waldorf school in Quebec. There are more than 1000 Waldorf schools in the world that follow the pedagogical thinking of Rudolf Steiner.
Children are welcomed in kindergarten from the age of three. Primary as well as lower secondary education are offered per the Steiner-Waldorf pedagogy. The school seeks to create a favorable context for each child’s life project. The same teacher follows his group throughout the school.
Offices, chairs, and toys are made of wood. The walls are painted in satin and their color changes per the grade level of the pupil. The students make their own books and notebooks. They use real feathers to write. The students make drawings of increasingly complex forms to learn to calligraphy. All education is centered on the practical aspect of life.
Pedagogy requires the active participation of students in their learning, which aims at the overall development of the person by integrating intellectual, artistic and manual activities and are organized around three main themes: nature, communication, and transformation of matter.
Waldorf schools want to develop a deep connection with nature and respect for the environment through concrete experiences, outings and hikes, sports and gardening.
One of the great peculiarities of Waldorf schools remains the work of matter. There are of course all these activities of modeling, drawing, and painting, but to these classic activities are added knitting, sewing, embroidery, and woodworking.
Digital is not used in Waldorf schools. The pedagogical concept of Waldorf schools seems to have emerged from a humanistic conception of education in the pre-industrial Year. Perhaps he is responding to some of the needs of schoolchildren in our post-industrial era!
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