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Imagine A School

Imagine a School that Connects to Everything
Imagine a School that is Sustainable

40 ways a school could be beneficial to children, society, and nature.

After reading the 40 ways that a school could be beneficial, you can read about the kind of school that potentially can be like this imagined school. Furthermore, you can read about the kind of culture that supports the type of school that provides a useful and beneficial education.

1. The school is connected with its local community and the local outdoors.  It unites families, enriches friendships, and supports the environment. 

2. The school has a minimal bureaucracy that is controlled by local powers, the local society of loved ones (parents, family, and or friends). 

3. The school’s top goals are to nurture each child and to help society and nature.  The school adapts education to suit each child, the local society, and the local outdoors and natural resources.  The school helps each child learn useful and beneficial wisdoms and skills to be a benefit to society and nature.  In the school, students learn to live self-reliantly, to make their own necessities, to help their local community, to help their local natural resources thrive, and to live sustainably.  Children learn academics in a way that supports society and nature.

4. The local society of loved ones (parents, family, and or friends) run the school.  Only the child’s loved ones can properly nurture and appropriately educate a child.  Bureaucracies, professionals, and strangers are incapable of adequately educating a child because bureaucracies, professionals, and strangers are incapable of benefiting society and nature.  Only people who are deeply connected (in non-professional ways) to society and nature can be a benefit to society and nature.  Thus, it is only parents, family, and friends (during their non-professional actions) that can help children to make true connections to society and nature.

5. Generally, the school is exciting and inspiring because it is connected with family, friends, people of all ages, the functions of society, the local community, and the great outdoors.  Furthermore, lessons are useful, relevant, and meaningful. 

6. The school teaches academic subjects in a way that connects children with everything.  The academic subjects are taught in unison with each other (language, art, math, social studies, and physical science working together).  Furthermore, the academic subjects are taught in a way that is relevant to each children, the local society, and local outdoors.  The school helps children see how wisdom, skills, actions, and processes directly link to the tangible local society and nature; information is not fragmented and irrelevant.

7. The ways that the school usually conducts academic lessons makes learning an easy, quick, and delightful task for many students.  The school provides the optimal educational circumstances, in which children naturally, eagerly, quickly, and easily learn. (See points 11 and 16.)

8. Generally, the school allows and promotes an education of practical and beneficial wisdoms.  The school is structured to include many opportunities that allow children to be creative active producers, instead of too often having students memorize standardized information and to be passive consumers of trivia.  Thus, students learn how to live and to get materials and make necessities (food, clothes, shelter, tools, art, etc.) in ways that sustain and enrich society and nature.  The school encourages students to focus on creativity that benefits society and nature.  The school does not distract children with useless bureaucratic routines (such as busywork, artificial successes and failures, boredom, isolation, anti-social behaviors, and trivia memorization) that forces children to neglect social and environmental problems. The school allows children to get a useful and beneficial education.  A useful and beneficial education helps students learn how to live an enriched, healthy, wise, artistic, free, self-reliant, sustainable life and how to be a benefit to society and nature.

9. At the school, importance is placed on the uniqueness of each child, society, and nature; and not standardized information or an excessive bureaucracy.  Importance is placed on local independent powers, real concerns, local and real places, local times and natural cycles of day and night and seasons, and what is happening for real, to each student and the local community, at the present time.  The school encourages each student to develop his or her unique individual talents and interests to benefit the local community; thus, students thrive.  The school focuses much less on concerns of distant centralized powers, artificial concerns, distant or artificial places, distant times or artificial schedules; thus, students usually do not suffer depression.

10. The school is focused on wisdoms and skills that are useful and beneficial to students and society and nature, not trifles and artificial achievements.  The school is run by people, not a bureaucracy.  Only people can care about each child, society, nature, and education.  It is not possible for a bureaucracy to care about each child, society, nature, and education.  Bureaucracies (such as public school) are kept busy obsessing about trifles and artificial achievements (such as report card grades, standardized test scores, graduating students, getting students into college, and jobs); thus meanwhile, children, society, nature, and education deteriorate. 

11. The school allows students to explore society and nature, to be engaged in community functions and outdoors events all day long, and to connect with society and nature.   The school does not isolate students in a building or classroom or closet and prevent students from making connections. Learning happens while living, playing, directly experiencing, and being actively involved with family, friends, local society, the local outdoors, and locally gathering and growing natural materials to make necessities such as food, clothes, shelter, tools, and art. It’s important for students to play with local natural elements.  Spending lots of time with local nature and playing with local nature helps students learn about nature and how people can use local nature for necessities.  While playing with, living with, and using local natural elements and resources, students gain a value for nature, students learn how nature develops and replenishes itself, and students learn how to protect and sustain nature.  Children automatically and effortlessly learn a vast knowledge about society and nature while being immersed in and directly engaged in society and nature.  Knowledge of society and nature helps people sustain the environment and natural resources so that people can use the environment and natural resources for social elements such as health, economy (food, clothes, shelter, tools, art, etc.), education, freedom, art, values, family, friendship, fun, inspiration, and etcetera.

12. Because the school let students engage with the community and outdoors and connect with the goodness of society and nature, many students are inspired and actively doing beneficial things.   Hence, many students don’t want to participate in the vices of smoking, drinking alcohol, cussing, abusing drugs, and resorting to violence and crime; and many students successfully avoid them.

13. Because the school lets students connect with society and nature, students want to help society and nature.  Thus, school inspires students to solve problems in society and the environment. 

14. Because the school lets students connect with society and nature, many students know a lot of wisdom about the local outdoors.  7, 8, and 9-year-old children, who need to play and connect with nature, are allowed adequate play time and a connection with nature.  Although students learn to read at school, the school will not prevent children from the most important things, such as connecting with society and nature.  Reading is not the most important thing to do; it is more important to connect with society and nature.  Making connections is the first priority; reading is a lesser goal.  Reading may be a useful skill in helping society and nature; however, reading-for-the-sake-of-reading is not important. 

15. The school acknowledges that there’s a wide range in years for reading readiness.  Children are ready to read at anytime between the ages of 3 and 15.

16. At the school, reading and academics are useful. The school encourages students to use reading, other academics, and other wisdoms and skills to help society and nature.  Being a benefit to society and nature is the most important goal in education, not reading and other academics.  Children need social and environmental reasons and inspirations in order to eagerly, quickly, easily, and effortlessly learn.  As children have goals to help society and nature, many children will eagerly, easily, quickly, and effortlessly learn to read, to gain other academic abilities, and to be proficient with other wisdoms and skills.  To make reading and other academic subjects the first priorities in education, is confusing priorities; to put it figuratively, it’s putting the cart in front of the horse. The pointlessness of reading-for-the-sake-of-reading or doing-academics-for-the-sake-of-doing-academics makes education uninspiring, meaningless, boring, arduous, and painful for many students, and even makes learning impossible for some students. 

17. Each child continues to learn at his or her own pace and learns according to his or her interests in society and nature.  Having a direct tangible connection to nature and society, each child sees the vital concerns of society and nature and naturally learns in relation to the concerns of nature and society.  No distant centralized excessive bureaucracy needs to show the child what society and nature needs.  Each child knows what he or she can do and cannot yet do and what his or her own interests are; and by directly observing the child, each child’s loved ones know what he or she can do and cannot yet do and what his or her interests are.  At the school, successes are their own rewards and failures are their own penalties.  No artificial achievement tests are made; there is no required annual standardized testing to test student skills or to test if schools are teaching according to society’s and nature’s needs.  Standardized testing is harmful because it narrows and dumbs down education.  (See The Underground History of American Education, by John Taylor Gatto.) Furthermore, standardized testing is a distraction from important things in life, such as society and nature.

18. At the school, real indicators of achievement are if children are overall happy and healthy and if children and grown-ups are benefitting society and nature.  If children and grown-ups are benefitting society and nature, society and nature are thriving and in good morale; for instance, if depression, obesity, poverty, crime, and greed are rare or diminishing, if health, inspiration, freedom, and sharing are common or increasing, and if habitats, natural resources, air quality, water quality, and soil fertility are improving or sustainably in great condition.  High test scores and graduating students provide artificial indicators of achievement that students are getting a good education at school. 

19.  The school encourages teamwork and encourages students to be friends and to allow other people to live in liberty and independence.  The school sometimes has one adult working with a small group of students (usually one to four students) to give each of them individualized attention.  However, the school does not exclusively use one adult per a group of students.  Frequently, during the school day, there are multiple adults per group of students.  Students get to see adults being friends, working together, and letting each other live freely and independently, not bossing each other around.  Students copy the adult behaviors (such as friendship, teamwork, and liberty-promoting) that they see.  A school routine, which almost exclusively has one adult (per class) dictate over a group of students, encourages students to be bullies and dictators.

20. The school promotes creative thinking, critical thinking, and unique thinking.  The school wants students to know that there is more than one solution to most problems. The school often has students create unique products: drawings, writing, buildings, makings, etc.  Worksheets of multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank are used sparingly. Excessive usage of worksheets teach student to stop thinking, to stop being creative, and to believe that there is only one correct solution for each problem

21. The school influences students to act in normal and real social ways.  The school focuses on students learning to be normal healthy social beings, who have deep friendships and genuine conversations.  At the school, students are commonly allowed to wiggle and move, sit or stand in circles and irregular shapes, and socialize with friends.  Students are permitted to have beneficial discussions and deep connections with each other without the frequent interruptions of frequently changing tasks and classes.  Students usually get to know each other very well.  Even students and teachers usually know each other very well too.  A school, which frequently changes tasks and classes and regularly forces students to stiffly and silently sit in desk rows, influences students to act in artificial social / anti-social ways: students stay estranged from each other and have shallow conversations.

22. The school teaches sharing.  The school cheers for students when they share.  Sharing is its own reward in that it feels good to be useful (such as by helping people) and sharing is often reciprocated.  The school teaches students to share local resources with the local community and with wildlife.  The school teaches that sharing, humility, friendship, and being a benefit to society and nature are the most important things; academics, college, and jobs are lesser concerns.  A school teaches greed if the school primarily and repetitively promotes report card grades, standardized testing, sport trophies, getting into colleges, and having great careers.  The concern of grades, test scores, sport awards, college admission, and careers pressure students to be hyper-competitive, to try to outdo each other, and to be greedy.

23. The school allows students to freely mix and mingle with people of all ages.  While living and playing with people of all ages, students learn how to work together with a diversity of people.  Learning is hindered at schools that isolate students within groups and classes of their exact peers.

24. The structure and schedule of the school is healthy; it supports healthy daily routines.  For instance, the schedule allows children to get a healthy amount of sleep.  The schedule usually includes students gathering, growing, and making nutritious food.  Often, the school allows students the freedom to wiggle as needed.  A school is unhealthy for children if, for instance, the school interrupts sleep, prevents children from getting and making nutritious food, and usually forbids children to wiggle as needed.

25. Students learn a lot of useful and beneficial things at the school. For instance, students learn useful and beneficial wisdoms and skills to be a benefit to society and nature.  In the school, students learn to live self-reliantly, to make their own necessities, to help their local community, to help their local natural resources thrive, and to live sustainably.  Students learn academics in a way that connects to and supports society and nature.  Also, students learn to share, they learn about connections, they learn about their own selves, they learn to think, they learn to be helpful in unique ways, and they learn to cherish other people. To the contrary, at a horrible school, students mainly learn many adverse things.  For instance, at a horrible school, students learn to be greedy; students learn what it is like to experience boredom; students learn that everything is disconnected; student learn to ignore society and nature; students learn to highly value useless and harmful trifles and trivia; students learn to lose their inner voice; students learn to stop learning; students learn to stop thinking and to mindlessly do whatever “superiors” tell them to do and to mindlessly copy whatever is popular for peers to do; students learn to bully; students learn to be snobby and to despise others; and students learn how to skip class and how to access drugs.

26. At the school, teachers get out an equal amount (or more) of what they put in. 

27. The school encourages teachers to treat their students well.  Thus, teachers look like good people and they often are good people.

28. Many students feel that school is a useful.  Many high school graduates feel prepared to live in the real world.  Having graduated from the school, many graduates and college students feel that life has purpose and they are full of inspiration, knowledge, and skills to solve problems and or live self-reliantly.

29. Students willingly and eagerly attend the school.  School lets children learn what they fervently want to know: how to be creative, useful, and a benefit to society and nature.

30. The school is a welcoming and friendly place for the students.   In general, students feel secure that other students and or teachers will not publicly humiliate them.  Students feel welcome to practice things and to try new things (without being ridiculed).

31. The school is nurtures children and helps them to growth healthily and to learn to self-reliantly take healthy care of themselves.

32. In general, the school nurtures children and has them learn how to nurture, raise, and teach their own children

33. The school is beneficial to society, local community, societies throughout the globe, children, family, friendships, health, economics, education, freedom, art, values, local nature, global environment, natural resources, biodiversity, water quality, air quality, and soil fertility. The school supports children on their quests to learn how to live to sustain and enrich society and nature.

34. The school reflects its maker: the local society of loved ones (parents, family, and friends).  If the local society values sharing, humility, creativity, self-reliance, sustainability, freedom, and being a benefit to society and nature, its students will most likely learn how to be sharing, humble, creative, self-reliant, sustainable, free, and be a benefit to society and nature.

35. Sharing, humility, connections, creativity, self-reliance, sustainability, freedom, using and supporting local resources, and the desire to be a benefit to society and nature are the impetus at the school.  Corporations, jobs, careers, money, commercialism, shopping, report card grades, and test scores do not influence (or have only a minor influence) at the school.  

36. The school operates for free; tax payers do not financially pay for school.  A superior education cannot be bought; the best things in life are free.

37. Small is best.  Lots of research shows that small schools are generally better for students. Smaller schools provide for a better sense of community and friendships. At smaller schools, students and teachers are more familiar with each other and students are more familiar with the other students. Education usually flourishes the most within smaller groups of people, who are loved ones. (See In School We Trust, by Deborah Meier, and The Underground History of American Education, by John Taylor Gatto.) 

38. The school promotes and teaches freedom, not tyranny and slavery.  The school of sharing, humility, connections, creativity, self-reliance, sustainability, using and supporting local resources, and being a benefit to society and nature promotes freedom.  A school of hyper-competition, greed, conceit, jobs, careers, professionalism, excessive bureaucracies, unsustainability, use of distant resources, passive consumption, dependence on money and corporations, shopping, fragmented information, trivia, trifles (such as report card grades and test scores) and under-valuing society and nature promotes tyranny, slavery, and poverty.  (See Civilization vs. Uncivilziation.)

39. The school is the best that a school can be because it is run by people of the local society, loved ones (parents, family, and friends).  It is not run by a centralized and excessive bureaucracy.  A person or a small group of people can change and adapt school to make it better suited for specific children and the current needs for society and nature.  A person or a small group of people is flexible and can change a school to adapt it to each child and to the local community and local outdoors.  Whereas, it is impossible for an excessive bureaucracy to change a school for the better. 

40. The school is the connection with everything, the immersion in everything, and the engagement with everything, all social and natural elements.  As the school helps children connect with everything, everything will improve to a great condition or sustain a great condition.  Everything connects to everything.  As education is optimal, individuals, society, family, friendships, all social elements (health, economy, freedom, art, values, etc.), culture, and all natural resources and elements (habitats, plants, animals, water, ground, air, etc.) will have the best chance of being optimal.  The school of connections to society and nature is beneficial not only to education, but also to children, families, friendships, society, and nature. 


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Southwest Michigan's Sustainable Pursuits
In Southwest Michigan, various examples of how people are trying to improve social, environmental, and school conditions to be a benefit to children, society, and the environment.

Additional Sustainable Pursuits
Various examples of how people of Michigan, USA, and beyond are currently taking action to enrich and sustain nature, society, education, and children.

Nature Connections
Explores many natural resources and habitats that people and society use and enjoy. A sustainable education includes learning how nature connects with society.

100% Totally Sustainable
What it takes to have the optimal conditions in society and nature for people to have a sustainable and superior education.

© 2008-2010 Pocket Pumpkin Press, last updated April 2010
Three Oaks, Michigan, USA