5 Innovative School Models You Might Not Know by Lisa Nielsen

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When it comes to education, innovation is nothing new. Innovative models have been around but forgotten in the current climate of accountability and standardization. Before that there were models, like Montessori, that were more well known. These are models where students work on projects, learning is assessed with real-world measures, and the curriculum was customized to the student rather than standardized.
While innovative educators understand their value, such models are not able to thrive, or even survive, under the current public school structures. To follow are five innovative school models that influence my thinking about teaching and learning.  

  1. Reggio Emilia
This is an approach based around these core values:
  • The child as an active participant in learning
  • The significance of environment
  • The teacher, parent and child as collaborators in the process of learning
  • Making learning visible
Read more here.
Watch here.
2)  Agile Learning Centers
Agile Learning Centers restore the joy of learning with a surprisingly effective educational approach: intentional culture supporting self-directed learning reinforced by agile management tools.
Read more here and here.
3)   School Wide Enrichment Model
This model identifies student’s strengths and talents, nurtures skills, and creates authentic opportunities for students to utilize these skills not just as students, but as practicing professionals providing experiences and opportunities to work and learn with others in the fields in which they are interested. These opportunities create pathways for future study, employment and lifelong pursuits. The world inside the school walls mirrors that which students will experience out in the real world.
Read more here.

4)  Big Picture Learning
Students are at the center their own education. They spend considerable time in the community under the tutelage of mentors and they are not evaluated solely on the basis of standardized tests. Instead, students are assessed on exhibitions and demonstrations of achievement, on motivation, and on the habits of mind, hand, and heart  – reflecting the real world evaluations and assessments that all of us face in our everyday lives.
Read more here.

5)  Democratic Schools
Democratic Schools employ a theory of learning and school governance in which students and staff participate freely and equally in a school democracy. In a democratic school, there is typically shared decision-making among students and staff on matters concerning living, working, and learning together. At such schools students individually decide what to do with their time, and learn as a by-product of ordinary experience rather than through classes or a standard curriculum.Students are given complete responsibility for their own education and the school is run by a direct democracy in which students and staff have an equal vote.
Read more here.

So what do you think? Are any of  these models ones you would like to implement with children where you work? Have you seen any of them in practice? Which ones resonate with you and could influence your practice?

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