Ode to Ode

I love Ode magazine.

It’s simply the best magazine I’ve ever read. Ever. I devour each issue from cover to cover. It’s a constant source of new ideas, thought-provoking articles and inspiration.

The October 2008 issue has two particularly interesting articles, one about alternative education for children, the other about the merits of failure (which I’ll save for another day).

The first, entitled Adventures in Learning, describes a small private school in the Netherlands that approaches education from a TOTALLY different perspective.

It tells the story of how Hannah Beckers and her husband Michael de Vos “bought a ramshackle school… and began an experiment in adventurous education.” They founded their own school in 2000 and called it Aventurijn.

Students at Aventurijn decide for themselves what they want to learn. There are no curriculae, no classrooms, and no teachers (although the children are guided by “facilitators”).

All 22 students—between the ages of 4 and 17—start their days with a game, a story or stretching exercises. The plans for the day are discussed and then each starts his or her own schedule. Over the past six months, one 15-year-old student’s programme included physics, Web design and English.

In the November issue, there’s a short piece about a "green" school in Bali which mixes traditional subjects with pratical courses such as rice field ecology. More than 100 expatriate and local children learn together in the same classrooms.

I wish school had been like this when I was a kid – I think I would have learned a lot more.

Anyway, the articles (which you can read in full by clicking here and here ), reminded me of one of my favourite songs by a Canadian group called the Rankin Family. The song is Rise Again; to me it speaks to the hope and promise that we see in the faces of the next generation.

Here it is, for your listening pleasure:

{mp3}Rankin Family – Rise Again{/mp3}

If you can’t see the player click here, and go to the bottom of the article.