Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Time Travel





On Sunday we went to Arthurdale in West Virginia. It was an experimental socialist community spurred on by Eleanor Roosevelt during the depression as part of the New Deal. Out of work coal miners and other workers were given the opportunity to buy some land, a house, their furnishings, some livestock, and were taught a trade. They had a forge, furniture making workshops, weaving workshops and other small scale production. Children were taught a trade in addition to the traditional curriculum, and the traditional subjects were approached on a project “learn by doing” basis. Each grade would pick a project for the year, and all their lessons would revolve around that project…such as, the fourth grade wanted to learn about the western pioneers, so they built a cabin, outfitted it, made a covered wagon, planned their foods to take west, learned about the history of the western frontier, and planned a campaign west. Talk about progressive!

3 comments:

DC Designs said...

The project approach alive and well in the US??? No way. That's awesome. Have you ever heard of the Reggio Emilia approach? Its a little town in Italy who after WW II decided to make the education of young children their top priority. Educators from around the globe now visit to observe and study their project approach. Its really cool to hear about something similar in an intermediate class. Here's a good link if you're interested:
http://ceep.crc.uiuc.edu/eecearchive/digests/2000/new00.html

Marysusan Noll said...

Well...not alive and well...it pretty much died here in the 1940's. That is when Arthurdale went over to a standard curriculum model.

Sam said...

I want that to be my kitchen!!!