the raintree approach

A Rain­tree class­room is one in which the chil­dren hold the wheel.  Fac­ulty con­trol the ped­als — they rev the gas when chil­dren need a chal­lenge and then put on the brakes to take a con­cept more slowly.  In the child-directed class­rooms here, each learner has a say in the who, what, when, where, and why of their edu­ca­tion.  These days (the days of stan­dard­ized tests, fill-in-the-blanks, and Scant­ron), we answer our  most com­mon ques­tion, "Why

give them so much con­trol?”, with “This is a good thing.” Fan­tas­tic even.  With an edu­ca­tion approach like ours, the chil­dren are telling you, in no uncer­tain terms, they want to learn.  And they are telling you pre­cisely what stuff.  They’re young, capa­ble, cre­ative peo­ple telling you where they want to go and how they want to get there.  They are nav­i­gat­ing com­pli­cated ter­ri­tory, far more com­plex than the work­sheets and rote drills some may wish to set out, dis­play­ing the sort of burst­ing demand and barely con­tained fer­vor and self-direction that should make any edu­ca­tor drool.  This is what we at Rain­tree refer to as an opportunity.


So we take that oppor­tu­nity, bot­tle it up, let it build, and release it every day in every class­room at our small school called Raintree.