So what’s so special about this school?
They plan to transform the learning process and bring the education system to the 21st century. As opposed to simply talking at kids and telling them what to learn, the children are permitted to customise their own path and create meaningful relationships with subject material.
The school aims to give kids hands-on, play-based experiences that engage students and give them a deeper comprehension of the subject matter. They’ve re-worked learning spaces, grade levels, conventional subject areas and so forth, to create an extremely engaging, exciting and 21st century school.
Four Major principles guide the school:
- Learning through drama
- Learning through making
- Learning through discovery and enquiry
- Learning through interest-driven program
How does this work in a student level?
Students are in charge of their own learning. They’ve an ‘Adventure Map’ that is basically their program but one that they could socialize with, personalise and reflect upon. The Map is composed of curriculum units, which explore a specific subject area at a cross-curricula and project based way . By way of instance, the roller coaster unit teaches students about friction, speed and space, kinetic and potential energy, measurement and electronic film-making through different exercises including creating a roller coaster, developing an electronic roller coaster and creating a brief film. The modules comprise of elements that are amazing for different kinds of students (see ‘Games Based Learning Supports Multiple Learning Styles’). Once students have finished a module, they ‘unlock’ new regions of the curriculum.
On finishing their Adventure Maps, students may see connections between modules and reflect upon their learning (their decisions, their progress, criteria they’ve covered etc.). Additionally, it functions as a self-assessment instrument for the student since they may see gaps in their own knowledge. This can also be viewed and analysed by teachers and parents.
The program maps to U.S. criteria but also focused on competencies which the PlayMaker school deems important such as systems thinking, problem solving, social-emotional learning, critical thinking, cooperation and other life and livelihood skills . The school is open source so the community of educators and schools can learn from the school (its successes and mistakes). I imagine that we’re going to begin to see a growing number of schools like this in the not too distant future and hopefully some of them are going to crop up in the U.K..