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By Gabriel Arrese Leza
This type of learning based on the initiative of the little ones is what alternative schools intend to develop. An educational model that in Spain already exceeds 800 projects.
The alternative spaces suppose a variable to the traditional model that confines the students according to a fixed, depersonalized structure marked by law. It has various options such as free schools, forest schools, Montessori schools or Reggio Emilia schools, among many others. Each project maintains unique components but all defend respect for the particular rhythm of each child.
“We have been based on respect and active learning. We do not teach; it is the boys and girls themselves who learn through their own experiences in space and through interaction with other people ”, say the founders of Planeta Ped, a new educational project based on active learning. In this way, confidence and autonomy are transmitted to them so that they are the ones who propose and carry out activities that really interest them. So they can learn according to their own rhythm. The teachers accompany them and only help when they ask.
This phenomenon took hold in Spain at the hands of Francisco Giner de los Ríos, who in 1876 founded the Institución Libre de Enseñanza in search of an alternative to the official teaching dominated by the Church. Giner de los Ríos himself assured that "All children are intelligent, until the teacher and parents take care of brutalizing them" and that "we are taught much less to think about living."
Most of these centers are usually private, non-profit, and focus on ages up to six years, when compulsory schooling begins. One of the most important stages in which the little ones can develop the skills that will define them in the future as a person. The Ludus platform, the first alternative education web directory in Spain, is proof of the rise and development of this alternative education. In its beginnings in 2013 it collected only thirty reviews, now it has information from more than 800 centers.
This alternative can be a small step to help reduce the dropout rate. Spain is the country in the European Union (EU) with the highest dropout rate, 20% in 2015 and double the average of 10% for the EU, according to the latest figures from the Labor Force Survey (EPA). Similarly, in Guatemala only 46% of school-age minors go to secondary school and only 24% complete high school.
The traditional paradigm of education has been able to change at the same time that society demands more heterogeneous people. Each person perceives, feels and learns in a unique way. With this premise, alternative schools seek that children love each activity they carry out and thus can develop, on their own initiative, responsibility and autonomy. But through this method not only the little ones learn, but also the teachers as creators of environments and the parents themselves who learn to respect their children's space.