The Perfect School

by admin on August 2, 2013

I recently viewed a film made in Finland about the Finnish educational system. Over the last seven years It has been ranked #1 by the UN’s rating scale for productive education. One of the things that the Finnish system demonstrates is that when children are actively involved in creating their own educational experience it creates an ideal school environment. I mention this because many of these same ideas are incorporated into Children’s Country House learning environment.

1. Choices
Children need to develop the ability to make choices. Making good choices is a skill. As a skill, it improves with practice. Children learn to know when choices are good or bad when they are allowed to make them in a safe environment.
This is how they learn to change their choices when they are not right. Allowing children to make choices provides them with the opportunity to develop areas of interest and to explore ideas and make even more choices in those areas of interest and enthusiasm. When children are allowed to make choices in a safe environment it develops a sense of freedom about trying new things.

2. Community
One of the things a small school can do very well is develop a sense of community. Children can learn what it is to belong to a group, and they develop skills about how to understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They develop the skills of getting along and how to be supportive of one another. Interestingly enough the same thing happens to both teachers and students. We offer frequent occasions for parents to join in our community activities because they are also an extremely important part of it.

3. Feelings
Children who are self-directed develop a sense of joy and self-confidence. They experience a state of fulfillment. They also learn to get in touch with their feelings and learn to express them in appropriate ways to their friends. They come to realize that everyone has a wide range of feelings and that is perfectly okay. This is the key to learning how to express their feelings in positive ways.

4. Low Teacher Student Ratio
This is the key to giving teachers the time they need to interact with each child. It makes it possible for them to answer children’s questions and to ask the questions that stimulate further thought by child asking the question.

5. Natural Environment
An environment rich with animals and plants and soil is the natural teacher of the interdependence between all forms of life. Of course, we enjoy the beauty of the natural world, but a garden shows us how working with nature benefits us. Growing vegetables and flowers gives our children a hands-on experience of how food is grown and where it comes from. Our animals (goats, ducks, rabbits, a pony) provide not only fun, but teach lessons about the need to care for them. In a natural environment there are so many opportunities for exploration and discovery, the basic processes of science.

6. Home-Like Environment
Children can feel relaxed in a home-like environment. These include the soft surfaces of wood and carpeting inside, and many varied textures to be found outside with grass, soil, and sand. Children need to be comfortable in both environments. That’s what a home-like house and yard provide.

On our most recent Ratings test (ECERS) we received a 5 out of 5.

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