R School strives to provide real-life learning opportunities that empower students to ask questions, seek answers, and communicate their knowledge with one another. We also envision a learning experience that puts children in daily contact with nature, their environment, and their community. We believe in partnering with others who share our vision for educating young people and inspiring a personal quest for knowledge within our children.
The Florida Standards are a minimally altered version of the Common Core Standards, and as such are subject to the same criticisms regarding developmentally appropriate practice. R School sees a need to re-envision educational standards, models, and practices in the early grades. Expectations of young children have changed dramatically over the past twenty years, but children’s neurological development has not. In short, ratcheting up the difficulty of standards cannot and does not speed up children’s biological maturation.
Developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) is a strongly supported early childhood education framework grounded in the scientific literature on child development and effective educational practices and incorporates both theory and research. The DAP framework calls for school environments that are able to adjust to the variability between children and provides an educational foundation through active learning experiences tailored to the rapidly changing abilities and needs of young children.
Unfortunately, this framework is often at odds with the tightly scheduled and pedantic approach taken by most public schools to implement the standards. The focus is on teacher-transmitted information instead of experiential and student-constructed learning shown to lead to both creative and critical thinking. Furthermore, research consistently indicates that there is no long-term benefit to using formal or scripted academic approaches with young children, and these actually may result in both short and long term negative consequences.
R School will provide developmentally appropriate standards and flexibility in instructional design practices that align with needs of the fundamental variance in children, not to inappropriate standards. We will not script teaching and learning practices.