Summer break is often a needed respite from school, but it’s also a natural time to think about how the classroom experience might be improved. Here’s a look at seven educational innovations from around the world. Should America consider adopting any of these? Some of these innovations are technological, while others are philosophical. Some are brand-new, while others have been around for a few decades. All are enhancing student learning in interesting and sometimes counterintuitive ways.
Denmark: Forest Kindergartens
While American parents fret over the increasing amounts of testing and homework for young children, in much of Scandinavia, kindergartners aren’t expected to do much more than run around outside. The “forest kindergarten” model, popularized in Northern Europe in the 1960s, gives young children unstructured playtime in a natural setting. Proponents say free play develops young children’s natural curiosity and prepares them for learning better than sitting in a classroom. Americans are beginning to agree. Forest kindergartens have been popping up in the U.S. over the past few years.