Your littles are ready to take the big step from preschool to kindergarten, but you might not be. How do you find the right school? And, will the teacher be the best they can be? Now in San Francisco you can know for sure at the brand-new Grateful Day School, where the tables are turned and kids (and parents) grade the teachers. Read on to learn more about this revolutionary new style of education.
How it works:
The school provides all students with a tablet and an app that allows them to log into the simple online system any time they want to provide opinions or feedback. The feedback portal is a simple star and emoji based system, so early readers can recognize the symbols and know how to express their likes (or dislikes) of a teacher’s method.
At the end of each “lesson” kids are given a few minutes to monitor and grade their teacher’s progress. As an added bonus, parents can put the same app on their phones and check in throughout the day to see in real-time how their kids are grading that day’s lesson.
“At the kindergarten level, children already know what they want. They know right from wrong,” says director Jessica Lem. “We take that belief one step further by letting the kids know when we, their educators, have done something wrong or right for that matter. We relish feedback, especially when it comes from the people that matter the most: the students!”
When it opened for the 2016 school year, the Grateful Day School already made headlines when it adopted the policy of singing Grateful Dead tunes in place of the Pledge of Allegiance (participation in this ritual is always optional).
Future plans for the school include webcams for parents to check on the kiddos in real time, a no-shoe inside the school policy, and the ability for kids to request sit-downs with the Principal when they feel a teacher is not meeting their emotional or educational standards.
For lunches, the school reacted to parent feedback and has already expanded their menu to include dishes harvested directly from the organic, year-round hydroponic garden, which is already a favorite of Alice Waters.
With such positive reviews from the Bay Area community, the school just secured funds to expand beyond kindergarten. Their main obstacle is finding just the right property as their home base.
To read more about this school and its unique perspective click here.
What’s your initial reaction to this new school? Would you apply? How would your kids react to grading their teachers?
— Amber Guetebier
photo: criminalintent via flickr