Traditional schools “with their lectures, homework, and report cards” aren’t for everyone. Here are five alternative approaches to education.
1. Montessori. Dr. Maria Montessori, the first woman in Italy to earn her physician’s degree, developed the educational model that bears her name while teaching a class of 50 poor students on the outskirts of Rome in 1907.
2. Steiner/Waldorf. In addition to creating the field of anthroposophy, which is based on the belief that humans have the inherent wisdom to uncover the mysteries of the spiritual world, Austrian philosopher and scientist Rudolf Steiner developed an educational model that focused on the development of the “whole child” ““ body, soul, and spirit.
3. Harkness. The Harkness method isn’t based on a specific curriculum or a particular ideology, but rather one important piece of furniture. Developed by oil magnate and philanthropist Edward Harkness, a large, oval table is the centerpiece of any classroom that employs the Harkness method of teaching.
4. Reggio Emilia. Reggio Emilia is an educational approach used primarily for teaching children aged 3 to 6. The method is named after the city in northern Italy where teacher Loris Malaguzzi founded a new approach to early childhood education after World War II.
5. Sudbury. Sudbury schools take their name from the Sudbury Valley School, which was founded in 1968 in Framingham, Massachusetts. Sudbury schools operate under the basic tenets of individuality and democracy and take both principles to extremes that are unrivaled in the education arena.