Written by Vicki Abeles, Director of Race to Nowhere, with Grace Rubenstein
If you saw the documentary Race to Nowhere, this book is a compelling reminder that the work is not yet done to change the conventional system of education in the United States to one that will support our children’s happiness, health, love of learning, and the ability to thrive as adults. If you did not have the opportunity to see Race to Nowhere, see if you can view it and look forward to Vicki’s second film, Beyond Measure.
Definitely, read this book as a prequel. We need to keep pushing forward for the sake of all children, not just our own, as cultures take a long time to change and the conventional model of education is just not working.
I feel a little like I’m preaching to the choir as most of you that are reading this review have your children in Montessori schools or are teaching in one and are giving children a different educational experience than the conventional one. However, I know that Montessori high schools are few and far between, and as much as we don’t want to admit it, some Montessori schools feel pressured to prepare their students for the conventional system. So again, we are faced with either conventional high school for our children when they finish Montessori school or a modified Montessori program that still tests, uses grades, and gives busy work to do at home. So, we still have work to do in our own schools not to mention in our communities, where the vast majority of children go to conventional schools.
Much of the beginning of Beyond Measure focuses on the damaging effects of conventional education on our children. Then the author goes on to offer inspiring examples of how changes are happening in homes and schools across the country, as well as practical solutions that you can implement in your homes, schools, and communities.
This a book that every parent, teacher, administrator, and politician needs to read and take action on. We cannot wait any longer. Vicki Abeles puts it well. “We must collectively decide…to meet children where they are…” And we must see the “…new vision for great schools as hubs of deep personal learning… and frame them as centers for fostering lifelong wellness.”
Go out and get a copy to read. Then once you’ve read it, go out and get as many copies as you can to distribute to friends, relatives, educators, and politicians, because there is strength in numbers!
With permission from the authors, I included a lesson inspired by Calvin & Hobbes
Written by Jo Schofield & Fiona Danks
Reviewed by Joyce St. Giermaine
Building a fort, treehouse, or hideaway is part of children’s imaginary world, where anything might be possible. Forts are universal play places; you can make them almost anywhere, out of almost anything. In Fantastic Forts, children learn how to make the most of outdoors (and indoors) to create one-of-a-kind forts. Published by Quarto Publishing Group, this book is filled with pictures to inspire the child in your life and the inner-child in all of us.
Tomorrow’s Child / April 2016 / P 32