Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"Marketplace Education" Idea

I was having a fast-paced, full-fledged action and suspense dream last night, driving a semi-truck across country and chased by aliens in a flying space ship. But when I arrived at a something called a "marketplace school," everything slowed to a halt. Suspense ended. I got out of my semi and went inside to see what it was about.

It was a wonderful little school in its first year of existence, and it got its name from the half a dozen little shops bordering the patio down to its front doors. I believe they were all owned by the parents of the children that went to school there, or if not, they were community members fully supporting the school. My favorite was the bakery, full of delicious sweets and breakfast pastries and selling its wares quickly to the parents and children coming to school that morning.

The patio itself was a brick-laid downhill path, with big, thick wrought iron gates opened every morning and closed off from the street every evening. There were no cars, I don't think the gates would have been wide enough to let a car through--everyone walked. There were tables and benches in a little lounging area where one could eat a pastry they had just bought or sit while they wait for a friend to meet them, but being morning, no one was sitting, everyone was seeing their children off.

The school, at the bottom of the downhill grade, was separated by another set of tall, wrought iron gates. A bicycle rack sat just inside the gates, and some older children were taking off helmets and putting bikes up as they came in. The school doors were made of tall panes of beautiful glass. Inside, I was met by a lot of open space, brown walls with a bold stripe of green paint, and a black leather circular couch. There was a blackboard next to the door, which a handful of children, seated on the floor, were facing; tall shelves of books and materials; and a few wooden tables with four wooden chairs each along the back three walls. The back of the school was as well-lit as the front, perhaps it had floor-to-ceiling windows, and perhaps it led to a small garden out back.

I spoke with the head instructor / principal (whose name was Heather or Feather) after the day began, and she told me all about the school, but unfortunately either I have forgotten it, or my dream-brain made something up that didn't actually exist. The school may or may not have been Montessori-based, but it got a lot of support from the store owners it shared space with. Looking around, there were many parents sitting with their children, laughing and watching them work. Apparently, they also received a lot of support from parents. Who may or may not have been the same people. I talked to a few parents, too. The only thing I remember from what they told me was that I was somewhere in Kansas, remarkably.

When I awoke from my dream, I searched Google for this new concept, "Marketplace Education." I even tried, "Marketplace Montessori." I tried "Market Education," and "Market Montessori," all to no avail. What was this wonderful concoction my sleeping brain dreamed up? Does it exist, in some form, in the real world? Would it, could it, work in reality?