Experience and influence : student and parent perspectives of an alternative school
Williams, Alice Carol
Master of Education
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Traditionally, education and schooling have been developed by and implemented through the adult perspective. An increasing number of educators and researchers focus on alternatives to mainstream education and this study adds to the growing body of research in this area. Specifically, it gives voice to children and parents at an alternative school. What are the experiences of children? What influences these? How do parents play a role? Semi-structured interviews with three students and four parents at a publicly funded alternative elementary school in Ontario provide a window into understanding student experiences and influences thereupon. Three main themes merge: trust, environment and community. Together, these components provide students with some freedom to direct their own learning. Adults, who have been willing to step outside of the traditional perspective of education, are key. The community influences the directions taken at the school according to the needs of students and an increasingly diverse population; however, influences over which they have little or no control can be cause for concern.