Thursday, January 21, 2010

Progressive Education and Project-Based Learning

As interested visitors come to look at our school and I walk around with them, looking into classrooms, explaining the way we work at Summers-Knoll, I often find that the conversation turns to the progressive philosophy of the school. It's always inspiring to see people take on the ideas and start to light up as they consider the opportunities that a truly engaged, connected approach to learning could offer their child. Sometimes they are concerned, also. This is an unfamiliar way of doing things to many people. They want to know - rightly - how they can be sure that their child will learn fundamental skills, or be tracked effectively in the learning process.

There's an article I'd like you to read here called Powerful Learning. Click on 'articles' and scroll down to the last one on the page. It describes some of the strategies and benefits that research has identified in the kind of learning we embrace here, much more eloquently than I could. It explains the importance of project-based learning and assessment. It was a welcome reminder to me of why we do things the way we do them, and I hope it will resonate with you too.

While you're there, the site that is hosting the article, the Watershed School site, belongs to an amazing school in Colorado which is the natural high-school big brother of Summers-Knoll. Its philosophy of progressive, community-based learning is deeply in tune with our philosophy here, and the web site does an excellent job of explaining why. If you have time and interest, it's well worth checking it out.

Happy reading!

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