Nowadays, we often hear the phrase “Alternative Education” in the media. Some parents, who are educational advocates, have started to apply the new educational theory to their children and the ideas have begun to penetrate the social media. With the increase in the demand for early childhood education, we expect an increase in the popularity of “Alternative Education” as well. In this article, we will define “Alternative Education” and discuss its benefits and what parents should pay attention to during its implementation.
A simple definition of “Alternative Education” is “an educational style that respects a child’s autonomy”. Since this style of education is famous for focusing on what each child wants to study, it is often thought of being quite different than a traditional educational style. The use of “Alternative Education” is recommended for parents who want to raise their child more freely, parents who have children with strong personalities and for parents whose children do not want to attend school.
The two main types of “Alternative Education” are “Steiner Education” and “Montessori Education”. In the “Steiner Education” method, teachers do not introduce letters or numbers until children enter elementary school and instead teach based on each child’s feelings without using teaching materials. In the “Montessori Education” method, teachers use specific “Montessori-based” teaching materials and teach letters and numbers through the use of the 5 senses. Therefore, the characteristics of “Alternative Education” differs depending on the educational method used.
When thinking about implementing “Alternative Education” with your child, it is important to consider whether your child’s needs fit the “Steiner Education” method or the “Montessori Education” method.
The greatest benefit of “Alternative Education” is that it encourages the development of children’s human nature better than educational styles that stick to a specific curriculum. It’s flexible nature allows teachers to change the curriculum based on each child’s personality and interests so each child plays an important role in his/her education and what he/she learns each day. “Experiences” are a very important part of this learning style so children can explore painting, cooking, drama and crafts as a part of their learning which makes studying more fun and interesting.
Each school’s theory and thoughts regarding “Alternative Education” is slightly different. So it is important for parents to let their child take a trial class and for them to speak closely with the teachers and school management before deciding on a school for their child.
Although “Alternative Education” is slowly becoming more popular, the majority of schools only go up until elementary school or junior high school. As a result, when children enter high school they will most likely have to attend a traditional school and will need the flexibility to overcome the gap between their previous study habits and the study habits required at their new school.
“Alternative Education” will continue to change in the future but understanding the educational style will help parents make the best educational choice for their children. Before exploring this educational style it is important for parents to understand the benefits and precautions in depth.