Monday, September 27, 2010

because they are ready for it.

People in the US wonder how Finland schools can beat US schools so badly.
While we are busy pushing kids to read in Kindergarten, in Finland, they start at age 8 and yet, by the time they take the PISA exam at 8th grade, they are the top readers in the world even though they have been at it for 38% less time. Other differences are that they spend less time in school than Americans, and students will have the same teacher for more than one year.

At Clear Spring School, our teachers have their students 3 years and it is a system we swear by. The students, teachers and parents know each other very well. This article from BBC offers insight into the schools of Finland. "Why Do Finland Schools Get the Best Results?" One of the very simple things that educators in the US should know but don't... you can't push a rope. By waiting until kids are ready for school, you make the best use of their time there.

A friend of mine, Sal Wilson is building a timber-framed straw bale house next door to the Clear Spring School. I stopped this afternoon to take photos. The wood is yellow pine salvaged when the power company cut a right of way, and the trunnels are cherry. The workmanship is exquisite.

In the meantime, an article in yesterday's Arkansas Democrat Gazette tells that Arkansas is heading for last place among state universities (not in football, however). Only 19.7 percent of students in 4 year Arkansas state universities earn a degree in 4 years according to a report which claims that the schools are "severely underperforming." The tragedy of it all is that people don't have a clue that by engaging the hands, you can create educational enthusiasm which makes children become self-motivated life-long learners, the child as craftsman.


  1. Anonymous9:50 PM

    Doug, I want to mention that Sal was an elementary student of Clear Spring School, back in the 1980's. Math was never his favorite subject. However, the intricacies of the geometry needed to complete this type of building project is astounding and his understanding complete. ...because he is ready. The CSS 7th-9th grade is going onsite to learn more about calculating slope...from him. ~jessica

  2. I knew Sal had been a student at CSS. It is obvious that he has the confidence of a lifelong learner. It is amazing to realize that the whole of Sal's house was laid up first in joints cut in timbers laid flat on the job site. Each joint was cut in exactly the right spot on each timber, then the whole of it was raised in just a few days. There is power in geometry that most people never get to experience first hand.