View Full Version : I want to start my own school


AngelNicki
01-03-13, 06:59 PM
Hi! I have worked with children with special needs for many years, usually as an aide in various programs. Last year I finished school and got my special ed teaching degree. However, I was unable to find a teaching job, and ended up working as an aide again. Part of the reason why I've had trouble getting hired in a school is because my teaching philosophy is a little different. I feel like kids learn best when they are having fun and when they feel at home. I focus on creating fun lesson plans that get everyone thinking, moving, and being interested, and I tend to make daily plans with the particular kids I work with in mind. I also like to focus more on learning to appreciate and enjoy reading (and learning to actually read in the process) instead of just drilling kids on phonics constantly.

Plus, I am not as strict with kids. For instance, one of the kids I work with as an aide is a second grader who reminds me a lot of the kids mentioned in this forum. He has severe ADHD, and is a real firecracker. He's always happy, and he loves everyone, but he has difficulty controlling his impulses. He gets yelled at constantly, often for things that I wouldn't personally feel the need to scold him for. Things like, walking into the classroom while balancing his folder in his head, hugging his friends (I've taught him to ask for hugs, but this is still not acceptable to most of the teachers), blurting out questions during story time, etc. The poor kid is just the opposite of what the school wants him to be, just by being himself!

I've been dreaming of opening an independent school for kids who learn differently and just aren't happy in traditional school settings. It would be a small school that would sort of mimic homeschooling or "unschooling." It would still have some basic rules and structure, but kids wouldn't be confined to desks or have to stand in single file lines. In fact, I would want the physical environment to resemble a home, where kids could sit on the couch or sprawl out on a bean bag during a read aloud, help themselves to drinks and healthy snacks when they were hungry or thirsty, and spend a lot of time outdoors each day.

I imagine starting with a group of about 5 kids in kindergarten through second grade, and the group could grow a little as time went on. I would love to someday make this a reality... I'd rather wait until I have more funds and more teaching experience, but if I don't get a teaching job by next school year, I might just start working on it sooner!

I'm always hearing about taking steps towards your dream by writing about it, seeking info, etc, so I thought I'd ask you for input. 1. Hypothetically speaking (since the school doesn't exist yet) if this school was in your area, would you be interested in having your child go there? 2. In a perfect world I'd have a grant to cover the cost of the building and supplies, salary for a second teacher or an assistant, my own living expenses, etc. But if the school did charge a monthly fee per student , how much would you expect or be willing to pay per month? 3. If you were considering this school for your child, what questions and concerns would you have for the person in charge?

I'd love to hear your answers, and any other thoughts you might have! Thanks so much! PS... I have ADHD too... I was one of those kids who never quite fit into school.

mommytriz
01-04-13, 12:39 AM
What a wonderful post to read. My daughter was miserable in school. With ADHD and undetermined LD it was a pretty tough place for her. We removed her and she is now recieving "unschooling" at the type of school you describe. There are no desks, chairs or even a building much of the time unless it's a picnic table or a log. It is an environmental based school and it is stressfree and she is thriving where she was an anxious basket case under the supervision of the teachers at her old school.

There are many, many people beginning to see that the current model of education is not working for a large number of kids. Alternative schools are becoming more popular and I hope you find a progressive school that will recognize you are what teachers need to become in order to find their place in the world.

The school my girl goes to is operating on a grant and is in conjunction with a University studying learning, emergent learning, ecological education etc. We are fortunate that this project is within our public school, but I must say it is priceless.

Unmanagable
01-04-13, 12:54 AM
Yes!!! Good stuff!!!

Here's a resource list from a community learning center in VA:
http://www.rawlearning.org/resources


From the "about us" area of their website:

our ideals
At Raw Learning we facilitate a personalized education for each student. The environment considers the whole child by making opportunities available for their mind, body and spirit to be nourished. Safety and freedom go hand in hand while the children explore their world.

Raw Learning is a place for children to come together using their own curiosity as a guide for what they will discover next. Facilitators act as adult mentors to facilitate deeper investigation into the specific interests of each child. Policies are made by people who are involved in the day to day operation of Raw Learning. Children and adults decide by consensus the rules that would help their learning. Everyone works together to find solutions to all problems that work for Raw Learning as a whole and for each individual child.

mrs. dobbs
01-04-13, 04:44 AM
I've been looking for such a school for my daughter, who is only 5 months now, but I'd move anywhere for her to be in the right learning environment. Ideally I'd want an outdoor school, so I've been looking for nature schools.

I've been thinking also that if I homeschool, I will have to move to another country since homeschooling is really hard to get permission for here. And, coincidentally I was just musing to my husband about a collective homeschool where everyone who is homeschooled comes to the same place and can be taught in different areas by their parent, but we all can socialize with one another.

I had a very short stint at a special program in Hawaii that brings kids from the elementary school next door to a learning farm where they also do assignments. It's an outdoor learning environment with hands-on learning and gardening. They also sang songs and had the priest who ran the farm come and play music in the classroom. The classroom was mixed with special needs students in it and I loved how the kids were encouraged to partner up and understand the special needs students, and they helped one another along.

Seaweed603
01-04-13, 04:33 PM
I am not a parent, I am a teenager, but that sounds perfect. heck if it were a high school I would go. this doesn't sound perfect for ADHD kids, that sounds like the ideal school for any little kid. If I was a parent I would send my child. The only problem I see is the parents. A lot of parents are to worried about having their kids be normal. They also are offended to easily. Like they are offended by kids hugging each other, but if you can get passed that, then I think you are in the clear, heck you might even end up making a multi-million dollar industry with schools all over the country! :)

AngelNicki
01-04-13, 09:38 PM
Thanks everyone for your encouragement! I'm excited to see that it sounds like people would be interested in a school like this. I think the biggest issue for me will be funding the project. But I am definitely going to start pursuing this dream... and if I don't get it started this year, it will be next year, or the year after that!

Seaweed - You are right, parents do seem to be the biggest problem. Many parents want their kids to get to "the top," and don't want to mess around with learning styles and things like that. But thank you for your vote of confidence... maybe I will end up with a multimillion dollar industry! :D

Mrs. Dobbs... I love the idea of a nature school, and the learning farm sounds awesome. I would love to incorporate animals, and stewardship of the earth, into the school. Where do you live, that homeschooling is so hard to get permission for? I've heard that in my state it is really easy, you just withdraw your child from school and that's that.

Unmanagable... I'm going to check out that link right away. Maybe I can email them and ask for advice!

Mommytriz... Your daughter's school sounds awesome! It sounds like the kind of school I would have loved.

Thanks again, everyone! Feel free to post more ideas and comments! :D:thankyou:

shahidsaif
01-05-13, 11:16 PM
Hi! I have worked with children with special needs for many years, usually as an aide in various programs. Last year I finished school and got my special ed teaching degree. However, I was unable to find a teaching job, and ended up working as an aide again. Part of the reason why I've had trouble getting hired in a school is because my teaching philosophy is a little different. I feel like kids learn best when they are having fun and when they feel at home. I focus on creating fun lesson plans that get everyone thinking, moving, and being interested, and I tend to make daily plans with the particular kids I work with in mind. I also like to focus more on learning to appreciate and enjoy reading (and learning to actually read in the process) instead of just drilling kids on phonics constantly.

Plus, I am not as strict with kids. For instance, one of the kids I work with as an aide is a second grader who reminds me a lot of the kids mentioned in this forum. He has severe ADHD, and is a real firecracker. He's always happy, and he loves everyone, but he has difficulty controlling his impulses. He gets yelled at constantly, often for things that I wouldn't personally feel the need to scold him for. Things like, walking into the classroom while balancing his folder in his head, hugging his friends (I've taught him to ask for hugs, but this is still not acceptable to most of the teachers), blurting out questions during story time, etc. The poor kid is just the opposite of what the school wants him to be, just by being himself!

I've been dreaming of opening an independent school for kids who learn differently and just aren't happy in traditional school settings. It would be a small school that would sort of mimic homeschooling or "unschooling." It would still have some basic rules and structure, but kids wouldn't be confined to desks or have to stand in single file lines. In fact, I would want the physical environment to resemble a home, where kids could sit on the couch or sprawl out on a bean bag during a read aloud, help themselves to drinks and healthy snacks when they were hungry or thirsty, and spend a lot of time outdoors each day.

I imagine starting with a group of about 5 kids in kindergarten through second grade, and the group could grow a little as time went on. I would love to someday make this a reality... I'd rather wait until I have more funds and more teaching experience, but if I don't get a teaching job by next school year, I might just start working on it sooner!

I'm always hearing about taking steps towards your dream by writing about it, seeking info, etc, so I thought I'd ask you for input. 1. Hypothetically speaking (since the school doesn't exist yet) if this school was in your area, would you be interested in having your child go there? 2. In a perfect world I'd have a grant to cover the cost of the building and supplies, salary for a second teacher or an assistant, my own living expenses, etc. But if the school did charge a monthly fee per student , how much would you expect or be willing to pay per month? 3. If you were considering this school for your child, what questions and concerns would you have for the person in charge?

I'd love to hear your answers, and any other thoughts you might have! Thanks so much! PS... I have ADHD too... I was one of those kids who never quite fit into school.




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Buzz23
01-06-13, 12:17 AM
Like Seawood, I am not a parent. I am a college student, but I would love to go to a school like this!

Slight tangent, but I think it's related. My mom is a math teacher at a private high school where a high proportion of the kids have ADHD. For a few years now, she has been pressing my cousin, who is majoring in industrial design, to design a desk that could easily convert from sit-down to stand-up, so that fidgety students could have the option of standing at their desks. So far, my cousin hasn't turned much attention to the idea yet, but I hope he does eventually, because it could revolutionize the function of desks in the more "traditional" school setting.

I hope that was actually relevant. Sorry if it wasn't, I'm a bit tired.

mrs. dobbs
01-06-13, 03:28 AM
My mom is a math teacher at a private high school where a high proportion of the kids have ADHD. For a few years now, she has been pressing my cousin, who is majoring in industrial design, to design a desk that could easily convert from sit-down to stand-up, so that fidgety students could have the option of standing at their desks.

This is why I like using a drafting table to work.

cillovely
01-08-13, 10:54 AM
Good luck! This is a great concept. I was listening to the radio yesterday and an ad came on with this young girl saying how she had ADHD and had trouble in school but the college she was attending in VT is specifically designed with a format for alternative learning. And now the girl is so proud to show her parents her grades instead of the reverse. It gave me hope that when the time comes (my son is 5) that this world may be better prepared for children like mine.
Right now I feel like it's a crap-shoot as to the teacher you get and how well you child will do in public school. Last year in preschool his teacher was fabulous and much more in tuned to his ADHD, this year I feel like he's just a bother to his kidegarden teacher. The preschool teacher, I have since found out in special needs meetings for our town, has a daughter with ADHD. So she gets it. I wish he could have her for a teacher for the next 12 years!

sighduck
01-09-13, 04:00 AM
a special ed. school or program shouldnt be anything BUT what you mentioned in my opinion...when im on my pracs (i'm studying for my teaching degree) I always try to put as much energy into my lessons and keep as little of a gap between my-self and my learners as possible.

Stevuke79
01-23-13, 12:53 AM
Where were you when I was in school? It sounds awesome.

Will you eventually start offering classes for 33 yr olds?....

JANAE
01-25-13, 04:32 PM
I have never heard of "unschooling" til now. I wish i could get my five yr old ODD/ADHD in a program like this. I would send my son to your school.