5 Alternative Schools Exploring New Learning Models

With its emphasis on rote memorization, obedience, and standardization, the traditional Western schooling model is often ill-equipped to address the unique individual needs and interests of students. Because of this, many alternative schools have emerged to put the humanity and creativity back into education. The ones included here, located around the world, utilize innovative methods to help kids grow into more enlightened and capable adults. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

5 Schools Focused on Alternative Learning

Name Location Description
The Deep Green Bush-School Clevedon, Auckland, New Zealand A participatory, nature-oriented, technology-free school that encourages children to explore, socialize, and learn in their own ways
THINK Global School New York City, New York Focused on world travel, individualized learning, and positive change, it offers an immersive traveling education in a dozen countries and cultures
Wicklow Sudbury School Wicklow, Ireland Free from scheduled lessons and curricula, students decide for themselves how to organize their own time, learning to live their own independent lives based on their individual goals and aspirations
Seacoast Charter School Dover, New Hampshire Uses an arts-centered approach to teaching, in which students are empowered to learn traditional school subjects in an enlightened manner
Global Village School Ojai, California An international distance learning school offering a creative, flexible blend of the homeschool and private schooling models

Student Life at THINK Global School

The Four Types Of Learners

  1. Visual: Prefer to look at information and visualize concepts
  2. Auditory: Prefer to listen to information
  3. Reading/Writing: Prefer to absorb information through text
  4. Kinesthetic: Prefer to learn through hands-on experiments

9 Thought-Provoking and Educational Books About Teaching and Learning

Title Author
1. The Anti-Education Era James Paul Gee
2. The Truth-Seeker’s Handbook Gleb Tsipursky
3. The Smartest Kids in the World Amanda Ripley
4. Teaching Outside the Box LouAnne Johnson
5. Worth Writing About Jake Wizner
6. An Odyssey Daniel Mendelsohn
7. Please Stop Laughing at Us Jodee Blanco
8. See Me After Class Roxanna Elden
9. Gone for Good Stuart Rojstaczer

Inside Wicklow Sudbury

In Depth

There is much to dislike about the forms of education that emerged from the Enlightenment and which still dominate formal schooling in Europe and the United States. In hierarchical institutions students are taught to be workers and consumers rather than develop their critical faculties. To combat the effects of such programs, many alternative schools have been developed to cultivate and nurture students as human beings. This list, presented in no particular order, looks at a few of them.

The #1 entry is The Deep Green Bush-School. Located in Clevedon, New Zealand, it is designed to raise a new generation of youth who are deeply connected with the Earth and who will have a deep understanding of the world around them. Dedicated to a culture of sustainability, the school's core values reflect a belief that children must enjoy complete freedom to play and explore in the natural world in order to develop a lifelong connection to it.

Sited on a 25-acre bush setting in the Hunua foothills, the school allows children to explore, socialize, and learn in their own way and at their own pace. Committed to participatory democracy, it encourages students to help run the school. Fiercely opposed to modern technology, DGBS bans computers, mobile phones, tablets, and the like, and asks parents to prohibit children from video games and social media, and to strictly limit internet and television time.

Sited on a 25-acre bush setting in the Hunua foothills, the school allows children to explore, socialize, and learn in their own way and at their own pace.

Coming in at #2, Think Global School describes itself as a new type of school in which travel, cultural immersion, and empathy serve as its core values. Founded by New Zealanders and world travelers Joann and Harry McPike, it brings together students from around the world for a traveling education experience that has now visited every continent except Antarctica.

Think emphasizes education through experience, service as citizenship, and sharing best practices with other educational institutions worldwide. The school aims to shape students who are informed, engaged, and inspired, and to leave a positive impact on both the world of education and the world at large. Each grade level includes an average of 15 students, with the school moving from one country to another approximately every three months.

At #3, Wicklow Sudbury School calls itself "Ireland's first democratic school of self-directed learning." The school's students are free to play and fully immerse themselves in whatever passions and interests engage them. There is no curriculum and no scheduled lessons. Enrollees decide for themselves how to organize their time, and in doing so, the administration believes, learn to pursue independent lifestyles based on their individual goals and aspirations.

The school's students are free to play and fully immerse themselves in whatever passions and interests engage them.

The heart of the institution lies in the democratic structure of the School Council Meetings. This body decides on all matters of relevance to the school, and consists of both students and staff, with each member enjoying an equal vote. Wicklow's values are rooted in the belief that children are innately curious and learn naturally without coercion. It adapts the Sudbury model that was first established in Massachusetts in 1968.

For #4, we've got The Seacoast Charter School, a publicly funded elementary and middle school that is focused on experiencing education through the arts. Located in Dover, New Hampshire, it was founded in 2004 with an inaugural class of eight. It has since educated more than 300 students, each learning as a unique individual in multi-age classrooms.

The school's mission sees arts and academics going hand in hand. Faculty and administrators believe that the arts bring us joy, and when we feel joy, we learn more deeply and effectively. Through a rich and varied set of creative programs, students learn to look closely, listen carefully, respond thoughtfully, and work collaboratively.

The school's mission sees arts and academics going hand in hand.

Wrapping things up at #5, Global Village School offers a progressive, accredited, and individualized K-12 courses of study. Based in California, it is a distance learning program. Students engage with online and text-based curricula, and many families engage Global Village's teacher services. This mixture of the homeschool and private schooling models emphasizes peace, justice, diversity, and sustainability.

Global Village's Whole Child, Healthy Planet K-8 curriculum guides and high school diploma courses integrate these values and themes. In addition to programs directly aimed at primary and secondary students, GVS partners with start-up schools and homeschooling groups. There are also offerings for adults, whether they are looking to earn a diploma or just want to take classes on peace and diversity.