Nowadays schools are looking for ways and methods that would help students to learn and develop their competences through active participation, to foster civic responsibility and enhance the academic curriculum of the students. More and more schools ‘communities are looking for and trying to build their own school model and to make the education adjustable to their believes, needs and future ambitions. When we describe popular, progressive education, collaborative learning or problem-solving education, as well other alternative approaches to education we know that learners learn best when they take on responsibility for their own learning and need to be heard, to have a say when they talk about their educational needs.
Kaunas Kazys Grinius Progymnasium’s community already for 4 years has been implementing democratic education strategies into their community. The school has chosen to build a learning community, which is based on democratic principles.
Issues that were mentioned above are solved using strategies of democratic education. There are 9 teams, which members are students, parents and teachers. Each team has the field which it is improving. Those fields are based on 9 operational aspects of a Good school: personal growth, life at school: expressive participation, education (learning): dialogic and investigating, education (training) which supports learning, employees: variety of personalities, community: learning organization, enabling leadership and management, educational (learning) environment: dynamic and open, local community and the founder: committed.
Our community got actively involved into activities of a global project “Human differences”. Questions and problems aroused in this global project are very important to us too. Students has been looking for answers to questions: Why are people starting wars and building walls? Why women are not treated the same as men? What can we do to overcome the challenges and how bring differences to our lives and our communities? How can we build bridges instead of invisible and literal walls between us? and tried to solve problems in the school.
At the end of a school year and project activities we had a camp day outside the city Kaunas. All community teams (students, parents, and teachers) were given a set of items from an old farm and were asked to build a live sculpture and explain how their team is united while people in it are different. Below you will find short videos from the final day of a school day and project activities.