Democratic, Free School Plans September Opening
Residents are planning for a new school in the South Orange - Maplewood area
South Orange resident Angela Wolff has joined forces with other local parents to plan for a new venture. The South Mountain Coop is a new Democratic Free School forming in Essex County and accepting students for Fall 2013.
Democratic Free schools typically allow students not only an equal voice in the running of the school, but permit students wide latitude to direct their own studies. Children are grouped not by age, but by interest or activity thoughout the day.
Wolff has home-schooled her own children, and has broad experience considering types of education. Transition to a new, or less-familiar, style of education can be challening for parents, says Wolff, "but it's very reassuring to see your child happy and learning."
Wolff isn't working alone on this project; parents of children enrolled in the school can play a role. She notes that a given parent can demonstrate a skill or lead a discussion; classes can also emerge from student interest.
"If a few students want more science," says Wolff, "we can organize that and make it happen."
Wolff notes that one of the hallmarks of a democratic free school is seeing students of different ages and stages model learning and behavior for one another.
Wolff is working closely with similar schools throughout the region, and welcomes parent questions. The school location will also be discussed.
An informational meeting will be held on Monday, March 4 at 10 a.m. at the Maplewood Memorial Library, 51 Baker St. Maplewood.
Another will take place on Thursday, March 14, meeting from 7-8:45 p.m. at the South Orange library, that would be a bonus.