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Fundamentals of Great Schools!

March 25, 2010

If you want to know how the best schools in the country provide their students with the best learning environments, check out: The Best Schools: How Human Development Research Should Inform Educational Practice.  Thomas Armstrong gives examples and shows through studies the environments that students learn the best in early childhood, elementary and through middle school. These are some of the points he makes for what works in an elementary school:

Developmentally Inappropriate Practices

  • Textbooks, worksheets and workbooks
  • Fact-based learning programs

Developmentally Appropriate Practices

  • Authentic learning materials that are normally are a part of the real world (the Internet,  literature, art supplies, science tools, historical artifacts…)
  • Learning based on encounters with the real world resulting in ideas, insights,  revelations,  reflections, observations, and more…

I have been very lucky to have had the opportunity of working at a school that sees the uniqueness of each child and agrees with the findings of Mr. Armstrong.  New Morning School has always been ahead of other schools, doing what they have found works best for the student before it  an accepted practice. Whether it’s organizing a simulation so the students can experience rather than just read about history or having the students organize spirit week, it makes learning real and fun! It’s great to have others agree with the method to our teaching!

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