For many of us, when we were kids, our school was something special and exciting: we wanted to explore every corner of that building and to open every single possible door. The time had passed, we discovered everything we could, and so the school became our second home and did not seem something magical anymore. We were complaining about huge piles of homework assignments and did not want to read another chapter from the biology textbook. The dream school looked something like Hogwarts where new rooms appear just because you needed them.
Are all schools in the world the same? Is there anything that might surprise us or just seem strange and interesting? Certainly, such schools exist, and in this article we would like to talk about a few of these unusual education institutions.
Absolute Freedom – Is It Education or Not?
A dream school of hundreds and hundreds of students around the world exists and is located in Massachusets, USA. This institution is a famous Sudbury Valley School whose system is very unique and is said to be used in schools of other countries around the world, such as Japan, Brazil, Germany, Belgium, etc. What is so special about this school and why there is so much controversy about it? The fact is that this school provides students with an absolute freedom – children can do whatever they want as long as they do not violate the law.
To begin with, there are no classrooms in this school – maybe, because there are no classes and no curriculum at all. Children in this school do not get grades, and there are no grades like first grade, second grade, and third grade either. Why else is it so prominent? The school working hours are from 8.30 am till 5.30 pm; however, students can come to school any time they want – the only requirement is that they have to spend five or more hours in school. Students in Sudbury school can choose to learn whatever they are interested in: if they like to play piano, they play piano; if they are interested in technology, they study that. Teachers’ task is not to prevent children from doing what they want.
At the moment 150 students (4 – 19 years old) study in this school and more than 80% of the school alumni go to college or university. This is a strange system for those of us who have experienced studying in a traditional school. Sudbury school exists since 1968, and looks like for many people this system is working perfectly well.
For Those Who Like Secluded Areas
Another very interesting school is located in Reston, Northern Virginia, and is famous for being an underground school – literally underground. The school was built on a small hill in the mid 1970s. The top of the hill was removed, then the school was built, and afterward the structure was covered by soil. This sounds a little creepy, but such an idea had quite practical reasons. At this period the USA experienced an energy crisis, and the goal behind building the underground school was to reduce the amount of heat produced by lights and people and to move away from oil dependency. Since the school had such a location, its classrooms got enough heat. Even today the schools design helps save a lot of energy and, therefore, expenses. The program itself is rather traditional: the school’s goal is to help all students achieve the highest results and to provide a nice, welcoming, safe and warm environment for every child.
Congratulations! You won!
In a far away land, in the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, there is a nice institution which is called Mountain Mahogany Community School. The beauty of this school is that it is a public institution which means that you do not have to pay and tuition fees. The goal of this school is to help children become better people and to live in harmony with themselves, with other people, and with the surrounding world.
Children learn to be compassionate and respectful. The school’s goal is to provide children with security and joy and to encourage them to think in a critical and creative way. Children pay a lot of attention to intercultural issues and environmental problems. It is said that a healthy and strong community are crucial for a child, sand this is the kind of community that Mountain Mahogany school offers its students. Parent, teachers, and children themselves contribute to making this school a better place.
All this is amazing, but how did this school appear in the list? The reason why it is so unusual is that everybody can apply to study in the school, but only the lucky ones will get enrolled. If parents want their child to become a student in Mountain Mahogany school, they need to fill in a lottery application. Exactly. A lottery application. This form can be sent either online or by mail – both are acceptable. If you are lucky, you will find this out in spring. If not, you will have to find another school. The best option is to always have other options when it comes to a lottery application.
We are absolutely sure that there are much more interesting educational institutions around the world that are worth your attention. When you think that your school is boring, remember about these three institutions and think if you would really like to be a student of one of them.