Project Learn can trace its roots to the basement of a home on Glen Echo Road in Mt. 通风的地方, 1969年春天, several families who were disillusioned with the school choices available to their children started a school with mixed age classes. These parents felt strongly about how and what their children should learn and the role of parents in that process.
It wasn’t long before the energy and commitment of those involved brought their small school to the attention of the School District of Philadelphia, which at that time had begun a period of reorganization and innovation under the leadership of Superintendent of Schools Mark Shedd. 这所羽翼未丰的学校被采纳为公立学校.
而这所新学校, called Paxton Parkway Elementary and situated in a public school building, 正在对程序进行微调吗, a division arose within the school district between those who supported this new school as a public school alternative, and those who felt all public school students should stay in their neighborhood schools. 不足为奇的是, the school district pressured the school to close its doors after only four months in operation.
"对父母来说, 老师, 还有在这所新学校注册的孩子们, 关闭是一个问题,——唐娜·阿伦德, 三位创始家长/老师之一, 回忆. “We had finally found a program that met the individual needs of students and did not squeeze children into a mold designed in Harrisburg.”
The vision of the 老师 and the hopes of the parents were too close to being realized to let go of it. 结果是, a number of dedicated families resolved to keep the school going and, 1970年1月, 更名为it项目学习.
那是在早年, 困难的，不稳定的, that the school’s basic tenets and core values were formed by our tireless, 有远见的, 创始家长兼教师Donna Allender, 南希·贝利和弗朗辛·福克斯. Guided by the practices of educational reformer John Dewey, and committed to the humanistic principles of considering the needs of individual students before the requirements of the curriculum, these three women and the school's deeply committed families were driven by a vision to build a progressive, 以社区为基础的教育模式.
With inspired mentoring in weekly meetings by Jerry Allender, a parent and a professor of education at Temple University, 父母和孩子们的意见也很周到, the three developed the following core values and basic tenets:
每个人-孩子, 老师, parent – has a voice in the educational and governance process of the school
有一段时间, Project Learn moved between rented spaces with the hope that eventually it would be accepted back into the public school system, 但, in 1972, the State Department of Education gave the school this choice: obtain a license as a private school or close. “This was not an easy thing for the members of the Project Learn community,” Allender said. “We were all public school people and were seeking to bring change and innovation within the public school system – not create another private school.“终于, 为了避免与市政府和州政府摊牌, 社区辞职了, 吝啬地, 成为独立的私立学校. “We chose to become legal because we ultimately cared more about the education of our children than about our politics,阿连德解释道.
现在学校要靠学费收入了, 然而, there was a worry that the education would not remain accessible. To keep tuition low, organizers cemented the cooperative model into the bylaws. Parents and staff developed committees to review curriculum, 提供课堂支持, 维修楼宇, 审查预算, 招生, 筹集资金, contri但e program enrichment and provide community outreach. This model would not only reduce costs 但 also demonstrate community values to the children.
In the spring of 1972, Project Learn purchased a three-story building at 日耳曼敦大道6525号. with the help of ten committed families who co-signed the mortgage, 用自己的房子做抵押贷款. 这种能量由价值驱动, 社区中心, 另类学校具有传染性, and within a decade the school’s need for space had exceeded the capacity of the building, and a three-story classroom addition was completed in 1987.
To provide adequately for the continuing growth of the school, the community in 1994 purchased the three-story building next door and made plans to renovate it as well as construct a three-story classroom and office unit in the space between the two buildings. The current structure was designed by architect Peter Fox, who is a Project Learn graduate. This truly grassroots effort made clear the school’s commitment to the historic districts of Mt. Airy and Germantown Avenue and was completed in 1995 with extensive financial support from the school community and local banks.
今天，“学习计划”仍然忠于它的根基. The school is administered by a volunteer committee of parents and 老师 in monthly Town Meetings. Parents exercise considerable influence over the everyday operation of the school through committee work. The classroom 老师 are all paid professionals with a maximum ratio of 15 students to a 老师.
Project Learn continues to be a school community – a true commonwealth where consensus, 平等, and regard for the individual is implemented both in the educational program and in the parent-老师 governance of the school.
All quotes taken from The Humanistic Teacher: First the Child, Then 课程 by Jerome S. Allender and Donna Sclarow Allender, Paradigm Publishers, 2008.