Schools are usually boring to most kids. However, not all educational institutions are equally humdrum. There are some rather extraordinary schools out there that not only look like cool high-tech futuristic buildings but also offer a brand-new approach to teaching. For example, in Sweden there is a gender-neutral school where children are not divided by gender. In San Francisco, USA, children are taught ’dangerous’ things that parents usually tell their kids not to do.
Here are 15 of the most unusual schools in the world today. Some will make you wish your school had been more like them.
The Makoko Floating School, Lagos, Nigeria
This floating school is a unique on-water building situated in Africa’s coastal region. This all-ages school was originally built to resist rising water levels in the lagoon. Having both classrooms and play areas, this unusual watercraft has the capacity to safely support up to 100 children, even in extreme weather conditions.
The school in a cube, Copenhagen, Denmark
This school is one giant classroom attended by more than 1,100 high school students. The lessons are held in an expansive glass cube, called a gymnasium. The open space is divided into separate sections by ’drums’ with comfortable seating areas, which should encourage students’ flexibility and creative thinking.
A school with an individual approach to students, Australia
Apart from the unusual and bright exterior design, the teaching strategy adopted by this school is also far from traditional. All students here have their own individual learning plan which can easily be adjusted by teachers and parents. Children also have the right to make their proposals to improve the educational process and make it more comfortable. And one more distinctive feature of this school — all the classes here are held in small groups.
The school in the real world, Rhode Island, United States
From the very beginning, the students learn what they really like. In order to help teenagers find and pursue their professional passions, the students are paired with mentors who work in the fields the children want to enter someday. This means that the students are taught only what they will really need in their future careers. This teaching strategy is currently adopted by 55 schools nationwide.
The school that looks like an office, Ohio, USA
This school has no classrooms. Inside the main room there is one huge office with 300 cubicles (one for each student). Each student has their own computer that guides them through their individual learning plan. The students learn on their own, and if they have questions they can turn to instructors for help. The school is open to all students in grades 3-12.
The school where children are taught ’dangerous’ things, San Francisco, California
The teachers in this school have taken some of the most dangerous things parents tell their kids not to do and made an entire curriculum out of them. Children are allowed to get dirty, play with fire, disassemble household appliances, as well as draw pictures all in the same day. This strategy lets students be co-authors of their learning.
A gender-neutral school, Stockholm, Sweden
The educational program in this school is founded on the principle of total equality between students. The teachers here avoid using pronouns ’he’ and ’she.’ Instead, kids are either called by their first names or referred to as ’they.’ The system aims to fight stereotypes given to people who may feel they are different from others. This teaching approach also contributes to raising mentally healthy children.
The brightest elementary school, Stockholm, Sweden
nstead of traditional libraries, this original school features multi-use ’learning corridors’ that have discrete spaces for media presentations in the framework of the curriculum. There are also areas for quiet individual learning and small group projects. Besides that, all learning corridors have Wi-Fi access throughout. As the heart of the school, the learning corridor promotes collaboration between students and educators and creates opportunities for interdisciplinary and inter-grade learning. The corridors are equipped according to modern standards, bringing the learning process to a new and more advanced level.
The school of Silicon Valley, San Francisco, California
This school has nothing to do with the principles of a traditional approach to teaching. The learning strategy aims to get kids thinking flexibly and to improve children’s technology skills. Kids take attendance on an iPad, complete a ’playlist’ of activities, and learn 3D modeling software to design playhouses. The school educates kids aged 4 to 14.
Steve Jobs School, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Steve Jobs School is a vigorous opponent of the impersonal approach in which all students are simply treated in the same way. According to them, every student should have their own individual learning plan that takes into account their talents, skills, and interests. This plan is evaluated and readjusted every six weeks by the child, his or her parents, and the coach. The school is open for students in grades 4 to 12.
The school that promotes compassion and creativity, New York, USA
The founders of this educational institution believe that school needs to be more like a playground. According to them, this encourages students to devote more time to learning. Children in grades 2 to 8 discuss ways to improve recycling, create 3D models of New York City, and do a lot of other fun things that develop children’s curiosity.
The school where children learn on mountains and in caves, Stockholm, Sweden
It’s unlikely that children will experience boredom at this school because, thanks to experienced designers, it looks more like a magical world where kids can scale a mountain, duck into a cave, and chat by a tree. You won’t find any classrooms here — the whole building is one huge open space. The students use computers to perform their tasks, and the learning plan also incorporates music, dance, and art.
The school without subjects, Toronto, Canada
This is the school where students are treated on a par with the teachers. The educators here are the observers who can only advise the students but not force them. There are no homework assignments, assessments, or strict schedules. The students, regardless of their age, attend only the classes they like. The children are also free to decide how to spend their school day and what to do.
The ’greenest’ school in the world, France
It seems that every square meter of this school has been used as a lawn. The roof of the building and all the backyards are covered with grass. It is believed that sitting in dusty classrooms is harmful, and students should get more fresh air by spending as much time outdoors as possible. In warm weather, the classes are held directly on the lawns.
The school where there is no pressure and stress, Espoo, Finland
During classes, the students are given the freedom to sit wherever they want and chat with their friends. They can even jump on the chair or lie down on the sofa if they are tired. The atmosphere in the classroom is very positive and relaxed. The school has a library, gym, assembly hall, and a youth club.