De Ruimte is a school in the Netherlands that has gardens and farm animals for the children to work with as well as two industrial-sized kitchens, art studios, classrooms, dance studios and music rooms.
This school hosts students from ages two to twenty-two, something most schools cannot boast of.
De Ruimpte’s website boasts that, “Ideas can arise on the spot, or someone has just prepared and planned activity. Students hook up with an idea or do something for themselves.”
Most European countries have declared homeschooling an illegal form of education. How have the citizens of these countries skirted around these laws? Democratic schools, and De Ruimte is one of them.
The official definition of a democratic school, or free school, is “education in which young people have the freedom to organize their daily activities, and in which there is equality and democratic decision-making among young people and adults.”
These democratic schools operate on a system of just that, democracy. Students attend “school” every day from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., but have no enforced classes they must attend.
A normal school day
A normal day looks like showing up to school, playing with friends, possibly participating in a philosophical debate, helping cook lunch for the school and maybe taking one of the classes offered.
If students decide there is a class they would like offered, they bring it up at the school-wide meetings and find a teacher to come in.
“Students give themselves what they want to learn. By regularly sharing in recurring activities, creating a weekly program where students can join. Everyone does what inspires from their own enthusiasm.”
There are advisors on staff for all of the pupils to discuss their interests and academic paths with as well as just have as a friend.
Located in Amersfoort, a town in the central Netherlands, De Ruimte is between Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany. The students are often taken on field trips to different countries to learn about their cultures as well. Jasmijn Zandinga said she spent a full week in Luxembourg learning at a camp the school partnered with.
In these schools, students are taught time management as they take charge of their learning.
To learn more about De Ruimte, check out the school’s website.