This is in response to a letter published July 15 regarding the opening of the Discovery Democratic School in Poland. There seems to be concern regarding the ability of a democratic school to prepare children for their futures.
The misconception is children attending democratic schools will not develop the skills or discipline necessary to be successful. The reality however, is that democratic schools routinely send generations off to colleges and satisfying careers, and proudly graduate students with self-discipline and self-motivation.
When children are interested in a subject, they learn faster, understand better and retain information longer. Furthermore, what interests one child has may not interest another. Despite this, the current educational trends focus on standardized curricula and testing, in which each child must learn the same things, in the same way, at the same age – limiting teachers’ creativity with curriculum and meeting the needs and interests of individual children.
At Discovery, students will learn the basics. However, teachers and students will have the freedom to be creative with curriculum and pursue subject matter interesting to them. In addition, the ability to reason, investigate and problem-solve will be stressed over the memorization of facts.
We want our students to discover their interests, develop skills necessary to explore these, and then pursue them with passion. What they learn will be transferable from one interest to another and be useful throughout their lives.
Best of all, our students will know what makes them whole and happy.
Melissa Toussaint, Auburn and Nicola Howard, New Gloucester, council co-chairs
Board of Directors, Discovery Democratic School Board, Poland