While the majority of us spent our education slaving away on handwriting assignments or pulling together a diorama to end all dioramas, there are schools around the globe that think a little differently when it comes to learning. Whether it’s the space they work in or the lessons they teach, there are plenty of places that think of the classroom as more than just a place to dive into a textbook.
While it might be too late to go back to high school, but it’s never too late to learn a thing or two from these innovative educators.
The Green School, Bali
Offering education right up to high school age, The Green School offers a sustainable slant to its education programs, but there’s also a broad range of alternative learning that happens here – there are special programmes designed for ‘entrepreneurial learning’, as well as ‘green studies’ and ‘creative arts’. Also, we can’t imagine being bummed to go to school when your classroom is housed in a gorgeous sustainable bamboo structure that’s basically a treehouse.
University of Gastronomic Sciences, Italy
Considering there’s a snap of chef du jour Massimo Bottura handing out meals at the uni cafeteria, we’d say it’s worth studying here just for the on-campus fare. The thing that really sets this place apart, though, is that it’s an initiative of the Slow Food movement, founded by Italian Carlo Petrini in 1989, and it encourages learning through first-hand experience of produce with food-centric study trips around the globe as part of the curriculum. Learning while eating? Now we know where we should’ve gone to university.
Makoko Floating School, Nigeria
Founded in 2012 by Nigerian architect Kunle Adeyemi, and with the help of the United Nations and the Heinrich Böll Foundation, this three-storey floating school bobs around the waterfront slum of Makoko, thanks to 250 plastic barrels. The school also collects energy via solar panels and has water catchments, and even a 1,000-square-foot play area for the children in attendance – 100 of which are expected to fit inside the structure once it graduates from the pilot stage.
Samaschool is different in a few ways: it doesn’t train students to work in permanent roles, rather, it focuses on teaching adults from low-income areas how to make the most of the gig economy. Based on the understanding that 40 per cent of American workers will be independent contractors by 2020, Samaschool helps students focus on improving skills related to entry-level positions offered in the increasing gig economy, both with in-person and online training based around key principles like micro-entrepreneurship, finance training and client management.
The Steve Jobs School, Amsterdam
Apart from using the late, great Apple co-founder as a muse for a curriculum, there are a number of differences between your average school and a Steve Jobs School: there are no classes, but ‘core groups’ where children of up to four years difference in age learn together, there’s no continuous teacher, but, instead, specialist teachers like in high school for primary-age children, and a considerable chunk of every day is dedicated to independent work and projects, and the social development of each child, where morning sessions are dedicated to discussion of recent events and various things on their minds.