“Swimming Against the Current” is what choosing Alternative Education can sometimes feel like…

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Swimming Against the Current-CoverWhen asked to try to make sense of 93 survey responses about alternative education choices (aka progressive and as it turned out, more specifically the Our Choice stream) I thought it would be an overwhelming task, a little like herding cats! But as I read through the answers to questions such as why the particular school was chosen and whether it met expectations, it was amazing how like-minded all the respondents seemed to be, regardless of age. In fact they seemed to be speaking in one voice, a voice that expressed a shared and unequivocal philosophy, set of values and the vision of what education could and should be.

Please believe me when I say I did not want to over simplify nor detract from the unique and personal answers I am trying to summarize here as that would, above all other concerns, be totally unacceptable to alternative ways of seeing and representing the education world. However, in the interests of flow and brevity, I have constructed a response one person speaking, liberally quoted from the actual responses received. I have made sure though that I have included all degrees of responses, from the exuberant to the not so.

In terms of structure, I have addressed the answers making the following assumption –
”OK, so you’re definitely interested in exploring alternative education, what if…”

An apology upfront, but to those who participated only. If I have quoted you but have not named you in particular, sorry! All quotes are in red. Not intentional, but then I’m no journalist either! Having said that, all contributors (who gave us permission to) are listed towards the last pages.

Where there is a reference to a particular choice trait, I have left it if it made sense to do so. For example, the Steiner stream has the teacher with the children from years 1 to 6. This may not apply to all streams.

All photos/pictures included are of a personal nature, and therefore Real!

Some schools have dual curriculum ie government-run schools that run both mainstream and alternative options, and others only the one. I’ve attempted to reflect a blended and balance viewpoint from both. I hope I’ve done them justice.

I trust that what follows is an engaging, informative and helpful guide to your “what if…” questions that you may consider if you head down the path of alternative education.

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