Progressive Education Seeks to Inspire, Embrace, and Empower—by Nick Cisik

Realizing that this may be the understatement of the century, I’ll go ahead and state it anyway, that in the United States we are currently witnessing a tectonic shift in our national landscape. One of the sectors most noticeably effected, however, is our public education system, the foundations of which are now coming under heavy fire. In response to what some have come to view as a deeply flawed system, we are now seeing a rise in the number of schools offering alternatives to traditional modes of early education. No region of the country seems more aligned with this education reform than Northern California. In this part of the Sunshine State there is a movement taking place, with an increase of progressive schools being founded by forward-thinking parents and educators seeking to explore these alternative paths to learning and, subsequently, the reaching of full student potential.

One such school employing this new wave approach is the Terra Marin School (K-8) and its affiliate, the Terra Mandarin Preschool (& Transitional Kindergarten), both located in Mill Valley, California. Based on the principles pioneered by Loris Malaguzzi of the Reggio Emilia School in northern Italy, the Terra Schools focus on nurturing the talents and ideas of the individual student. By letting the child gravitate towards his or her interests organically, the belief is that they will retain a stronger sense of self identity, not to mention a vital skillset, allowing them to participate successfully and joyfully in their respective fields of occupation. Both schools’ curriculums include the learning of a second language—either Spanish or Mandarin—as well as outdoor education, project-based learning, and extracurricular activity allowing the students to express themselves through music, drama, and the visual arts. All courses of study are led by passionate and experienced teachers whose main purpose is to help each student develop a rich understanding of him or herself and the surrounding environment.

If you are interested in learning more about the Terra Schools, consider yourself lucky, because the Mill Valley Terra Schools are celebrating their grand opening this Sunday, October 14th from 10:00 AM-1:00 PM. Follow this link for event info. All are welcome to attend.

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