14. More than just a School

So far, we have explored a new type of core curriculum, the possibilities in education that today’s technology allows if leveraged properly, and new methods in developing curriculums that better prepare students for the 21st century. In this last section, I want to expand into concepts that do not directly relate to the curriculum.
In this section, I want to explore the concepts of community, space, and access.
This last section might be the most important section in the whole book because education is more than just a school. A student’s education is happening the whole time, whether they are home, traveling between their home and school, or just when they are out and about. Every second of every day is exposure for learning.
And school is only a part of an entire day. Normal school hours are from 9am to 3pm. Including after school activities, it might open till 6pm. That’s 9 hours out of 24 hours, or 37.5% of the entire day. What about the rest of the day?
There are plenty of studies that show how important the home environment and the community environment is to a child’s education. Starting from the time they are born, the amount of words that they hear, the stress levels that they have due to family or neighborhood circumstances, the love they experience from their parents, etc., all affect their development. Not only that, kids are very good and mimicking the actions of the people around them, so they will absorb these actions until they become habit. A community where everyone enjoys interacting in the park and being outdoors versus a community where everyone tends to be siloed at home playing on their computers and phones will provide a dramatically different educational environment.
To help students become successful, we must remember that education does not only happen in school. Education is happening at all times and it will be happening everywhere. A family that cannot provide a strong environment at home for the student can and will negatively impact a student. If the space at home is always loud or distracting with everyone on their phones, playing games, or watching tv all day, that will negatively impact a student. The street that the family lives on can negatively impact a student if there is violence and crime. That’s why the school needs to build up the community around it as well to give students the best education possible.
This is even more applicable the younger the student is. The education of a child snowballs and everything that is taught at a young age will impact the ability of a child as they grow up. Of course, we should not go overboard on memorization and cramming of knowledge. At the end of the day, schools need to look out for the well-being of the students and this includes the basics such as their health, food, and sleep.
Therefore, in this section, we explore how schools can provide an environment that is more than just a school in the traditional sense and how that can help create an environment for learning that can be significantly more holistic and effective.