In recent years, we have witnessed a veritable boom in Sudbury-type democratic schools. While traditional schools are based on a well-defined set of curricula, this model of education offers something quite different. This article tells you more about it.
Democratic School: What is it?
Reserved for children aged 3 to 18 and over, a democratic school is one in which learners bear full responsibility for their own education. In these schools, there are no formal programs, let alone imposed timetables to be followed. In other words, learners are free to decide for themselves their learning programs as well as the time they wish to devote to them.
The particularity of a democratic school is also the absence of age groups. Every learner, whether child or adult, can learn from the other. It is also free to express their opinions. It must be said that the operation of this living space is inspired by the democratic model of the Sudbury Valley School founded by Daniel and Hanna GREENBERG in 1968. Not only do children have the opportunity to define what they want to learn, how and when , but they learn to know each other better.
Thus, they can discover their centers of interest, while deepening their passions. However, this freedom implies compliance with a certain number of rules and responsibilities defined by the students themselves in concert with the staff. Each learner is called upon to be responsible for himself, but also for the community to guarantee safety.
What are the advantages of a democratic school?
Democratic schools offer several advantages for learners.
A special emphasis on benevolence
Kindness is a value advocated in many traditional schools, but it is more emphasized in democratic schools. Here, each learner is treated with kindness, regardless of age. The supervisors trained for the most part on learning based on the non-violent communication maintain non-violent relationships with students.
The personality of each learner is respected
Another important asset of democratic schools is that they guarantee respect for the personality of each learner. Everyone is accepted without discrimination of their way of life or their look. In this type of school, it is not a question of conforming to a program or adapting to it. Where students labeled as anti-conformists are bullied, harassed and mocked in mainstream schools, here no one is singled out.
Each learner goes at their own pace
One of the principles of this framework is that special emphasis is also placed on the learning pace of each child. In these schools, there is no notion of delay. We will not say that a child is late if he learns to write at 8 years old and not at 6 years old. Similarly, one will not qualify another to be ahead of others. Everyone will learn to go at your own pace under the benevolent gaze of the facilitators.
A unique class for all ages
The other advantage offered by democratic schools is that each learner can benefit from the incredible richness of multiage. Indeed, in these innovative schools, learners are generally in a classroom unique, sometimes with variations. Thus, the little ones are much more stimulated by the presence of the big ones. This notably decreases the spirit of competition in the profile of cooperation, which strengthens the cohesion of the group. The children are thus prepared for the world of business, but even more so for life.
No hierarchy between courses
Another particularity of these schools is that there is no hierarchy between courses and trades. We have long tried to establish a hierarchy between scientific and literary courses, between the general course and the professional course. However, there is no such thing as a job fool. Just as we need scientists and engineers, we also need hairdressers and bakers.
In democratic schools, learners are free to choose the way on which they will be able to flourish better and not the one that the parents decide for them.
Democratic School Reviews
Ultimately, a democratic school is a true center of life where learners are the creators of their own learning. Each child is respected in his or her dignity and in his sovereignty, which reduces discrimination against young people. Better, the multi-age advocated in these schools is an excellent solution to fight against generational conflicts. It is therefore a real alternative for the training of young people.