What is the perfect education?

From a Head of School in England with 36 years in education.

Opher's World

a. The Setting

Education should take place in a setting that is friendly, warm, secure, safe and beautiful. The building and rooms should be cheerful, artistically interesting and full of stimulation. The grounds should be a haven of nature.

b. Education should be fun

c. The Teachers should be warm and caring and devoted to their students.

d. The curriculum should be broad and all encompassing. It should also be fluid.

e. There should be no facts – just opportunities to explore and discover and concepts to understand.

f. There should be all manner of equipment to enable that exploration.

g. Teachers should be facilitators to assist and guide.

h. Lessons should be discussions, investigations, experiments.

I. Creativity should be at the core of everything that happens.

j. The curriculum and syllabi should be flexible to enable children to explore

k. Testing should be diagnostic.

l. Basic skills and knowledge…

View original post 214 more words

About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty-five years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I was a live guest on the Kelly Clarkson Show. I am highlighted in the seventh edition of Jim Trelease's million-copy bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital, and the Massachusetts State House in Boston.
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45 Responses to What is the perfect education?

  1. beetleypete says:

    Good reblog, full of great ideas and beliefs. Unfortunately, funding is affecting education, in the real world. Over here, it is becoming a matter of where you live deciding how good your school is, at least after the age of 11. Even the best teachers can only produce good results if they have the resources to work with, and are not restricted by inflexible rules and regulations.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • Jennie says:

      It’s the same over here, Pete. Better neighborhoods mean higher taxes and better schools. The push to testing is a sore spot and doesn’t really work. Classes are overcrowded, recess is too short, and teachers are restricted to curriculum guidelines and standards that are often dull and full of paperwork. Burnout. Still, if we don’t push for what is right for children, change will never happen. I teach in a private preschool, so I have the flexibility to do my own curriculum, but I have mountains of paperwork to do at home to prove I am meeting state standards. When I get behind on my fellow bloggers, now you know why. 🙂 Best to you, Pete.

      • How I dream of the flexibility to do “do my own curriculum”. . .one driven by student need and interest, parents’ wishes, and teacher expertise. And in a properly functioning school system, parents, students and teachers would be empowered. Not federal government, agenda-beholden legislators or overweening teacher’s unions. Parents, students and teachers should be empowered to “do their own curriculum”. School choice, vouchers and tax credits can’t come fast enough. . .for that is what will empower these three rightful stakeholders.

      • Jennie says:

        Yes! Hear, hear!

  2. Mischenko says:

    This is a wonderful post, Jennie. In my opinion, children should also not be expected to perform so much which is what seems to be happening more now then ever with all the testing involved. We homeschool, and while we do still do some tests, I’m thinking I’d even like to do less. ♥️

  3. Darlene says:

    Yes, education should be fun!! There is no reason it can’t be.

  4. Dan Antion says:

    Thanks for sharing a very good article, Jennie. I agree with most of this, especially that “Education should be fun” and “Rewards should be based on effort and never attainment.” I differ a bit about facts. Some things are fundamental truths, and we should not exit the educational system thinking that we can have an opinion about math or science that has been proven. I had a coworker once tell me that she didn’t agree with the way I was reading the mathematical expression she gave me. She had used parenthesis “to add clarity” and didn’t agree with their altering the order of operations (in the computer program I had written based on her explanation).

    • Jennie says:

      I agree with you on that point, Dan. I think the author’s point is more about the classroom that is predominantly fact based, rather than facts being in the context of broader learning. My preschoolers love facts! It’s all about the method of teaching. I can see where this hits a bit of a nerve with a math guy! 🙂

  5. There is so much I agree with but the ‘no facts’. I confess to gaining a lot of comfort from facts.

    • Jennie says:

      Dan felt the same way, and I have to agree with you both. I think the writer was making a point about the classroom that is all fact based with little room for the bigger picture of learning. My preschoolers love facts! Thanks, Jacqui.

  6. dolphinwrite says:

    Very well said. I’ve always said and believe there’s much we can do to enhance learning. I do think a big key is finding teachers who think for themselves, responsibly, and are creative in their efforts to impart some lessons while encouraging the youth to think for themselves, responsibly. A curriculum needed should be state by state with parents and state citizenry sharing what they think they’re kids need to learn.

  7. Dolpinwrite, I agree it should be parents determining what is taught to their children. I believe this happens at the local level, though, as the state is still to large an area to account for the unique needs of individual communities.

  8. dolphinwrite says:

    I wish to share a thought, something I have endeavored to go into at length, which I share in different aspects on my site. It occurred early on in my career, before test taking became the norm and each teacher’s uniqueness became yesterday’s norm, but the future was to remove what is best in those with a love for teaching. I remember setting the class up with a plethora of exercises: business cards for letter writing, games creation center, commercial arts, essays in different forms, strategic games, and on, and on, and on. Some kids got it in their heads that they wanted to put on a play or such, which I encouraged when they completed their regular assignments (See, I didn’t see the need to punish hard-working kids with more work because they finished early.), and they ended up performing in front of other classrooms, by their own initiative. However, with time, some teachers became afraid of such creativity, bowing to a system of tests and standards only regimen, and with time, I was too occupied with such, though I put creativity where I could, that they worked together to prevent such creativity. Why? Because the kids would learn, pass tests, and enjoy the ride, and I would find each day joyful, wondering what might occur that day, be it an inspiration or a student bringing something new to the school. I do believe in curriculum math, writing, proper history (not rewritten), and science, and some of this must be statewide (not nationwide) and localized voting, as it’s their children and I am only one to speak, but teachers who look forward to coming to school with children looking forward to learning something new from their teacher, also doing the boring/hard work, is how I view a decent school. And I don’t care what Mrs. McRuffey (made-up name) is doing in her class, because every teacher should be bringing in something new. In some schools, in many schools, what is happening in one class is supposed to be happening in the others. Where’s the creativity and individuality in that? No, a solid curriculum with teachers who can truly teach and inspire. But I also believe in the hard-nosed, solid instructor, who isn’t all fun, but knows how to teach, engage, and encourage responsibility. Not a one size fits all. Fun and responsibility.

  9. Alas…. however can we manage to get our schools back to this? I fear too many loving teachers are leaving and the new ones don’t have the inspiration they need.

    • Jennie says:

      I worry about the same thing. Yet, there are many good, loving teachers out there. They just need to inspire the young(er) ones. If we keep the fire going, then children will be the beneficiaries.

    • dolphinwrite says:

      Sadly, I believe this was the purpose. In the universities and into schools, the one’s who get through and remain do so because they will agree with whatever policy and curriculum is employed. The intelligent, thoughtful, creating new lessons teacher is a thing of the past. The grandmotherly, grandfatherly, teacher who is strict, holds the kids accountable, and will not give passing grades for poor effort is a thing of the past. A teacher friend of mine shared that he was implored to just give a failing student Ds so he could go on. That’s where we are. And teachers who are strict when necessary need to pull back and use only positive reinforcement.

      • Jennie says:

        Thank you for your thoughts and comments. The ‘give the passing grade’ is terrible, and so is the strict teacher. Both do not see the child. Both react to what they’re supposed to do, and do not see the child. The good news is that there are teachers who seize the moment, bring teaching to life, and care about children. Keep the faith!

  10. webgirler says:

    I started a montessori school for my son and it was the best for both of us.

  11. Sohanpreet Kaur says:


  12. dolphinwrite says:

    I will have to add this: I do think there are good teachers who are strict. It’s all a matter of what that looks like. I’ve had strict teachers who I respected, for I knew they cared but would not allow disruptions in the classroom, perhaps a few. Strict does not necessarily mean mean or uncaring. A truly strict teacher, who loves kids, manages for the sake of learning and holding the kids responsible, but they also have creative and some “fun” assignements. Without decent rules and teachers who know how to manage, we have many of the classes we have today where the kids are running the show and having no real direction in life. As a kid, I had difficulty respecting the overly nice teachers. I innately knew responsible adults also were in charge.

  13. Loved your perspective. I would love if you check out my view- https://himanaya.com/2019/02/07/our-education-system/

  14. Imageraza says:

    If all of your points would be established, school and education would be much more fulfilling for young people.

    I´d also add self-determination and more individual freedom in choosing the desired subjects.
    The problem with schooling is that there is only one pattern for every student. No variety.
    Adjust or you won´t have a good time…

    Furthermore it is based on permanent judgement, pressure and competition.

    Education could be so passionate if we´d listen to every child´s individual desires
    and stop seeing education as an industrial process.

    And thanks for your thoughts! 🙂

  15. dolphinwrite says:

    Perfect education, if such a thing could exist, holds closer to real life.

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