We are running a free school in Okinoerabe Island, our name is Hiroki Kamimae (@rungorungo_) and Tomotaka Jige (@tomofinedu) .
We are working on setting up a free school with local people in order to create a "New school" where everyone can become happy on *Okinoerabu Island.
1. A new school in Okinoerabu island ?
"What is a free school?"
A free school is a place where children who can not go to public school for some reason, for instance, bullying,mental problem,feel stress among many people and so on.They spend free school instead of primary school, junior high school and high school. We accept children who have various backgrounds and needs, such as school refusal and withdrawal from school, as well as minor developmental disorders, physical disabilities and intellectual disabilities, and provide a place for learning.
▼ The school building of Okinoerabu island will open in July
Why do you need a free school on the island?
As the current situation, there are about 30 (1 in about 33) school refusal students in elementary and junior high schools all over Okinoerabu Island. Some of the school refusal students in Okinoerabu have some children who attend administration's adaptive instruction classes, but in the end most of them spend at home.
Because in the adaptation classroom, it is forced to learn by all means, and the school refusal children do not feel comfortable there. As a present situation, in the field of school refusal support, we are also troubled, and there is a current situation where it is difficult to take a step forward.
If it is a city, children who do not go to public school can also go to a local sports club or take lessons like cram school or English conversation school. But in small community like Okinoerabu, it's difficult to make place to study except public school for students who can't go to school.
When I was thinking about what to do in order to create a learning environment tailored to each children who lives in island, I want to make a free school where to connect between public school and school refusal children in the island” ... and I moved to Okinoerabu from this April!
How to solve school refusal through free school?
Taking advantage of the small community of Okinoerabu island , a new partnership between free school and public school is about to be born. At the present, it is too much for teachers to respond to the needs of each of the 40 students in a simultaneous class of school (all students doing the same learning content in the same course). As the times change, the needs of each and every child are diversifying, and it is becoming more difficult for schools alone to meet their needs.
However, most of the current situation is that learning at places other than schools (free schools etc.) has not yet been approved (not treated as attendance). This has become strongly related to school refusal support as being a major factor that gives “school refusal = negative impression”.
In reality, it is difficult to support each person individually at school, but there is also a conflict that school can not leave everything to an external educational institution. The reason is that there is no precedent and no model. Therefore, our first mission is to create a free school that students can learn with confidence at other than public school, and spread the sense of values to the area of Okinoerabu Island "No school refusal = not negative" "No school refusal = Necessity of making environmental tailored to the child" . To that end, we are working to become a center role that supports children in collaboration with the school and administration of Okinoerabu island.
Then, in the free school we will create from now on, let's think with an example of a boy with a school refusal, taking as an example a way to support children of school refusal.
( Example of a boy who has a tendency to go out of school )
1. I can not understand learning ← Support start in Finland
2. I feel that class becomes boring.
3. Teacher will be angry for student.
4. I would not like to go to school
5. school refusal ← Support start in Japan
In the case of this trend, Japanese schools will start to support students who is school refusal tendencies at the stage of 5. However, in Finland, everyone can receive individualized support at the public schools at the stage 1. In order to create such an environment in Japan as well, educational institutions such as free schools need to cooperate with the administration.
In this case, the child has not been refused school yet, but if the child's needs are "I do not want to go to school because I do not understand the study at school,"then students can study at free school once a week. And If kids can receive individual study in a place like free school, kids will be able to understand studying and kids will be able to attend public schools again. By attending a free school, it is possible to support such students early, without increasing the burden on the teachers of the school.
In the case of the Netherlands, some children attend multiple schools. You can go to the school in the group class four times a week and go to the school for individual learning once a week, etc. You can choose the school according to the child. We would like to expand the educational environment in which parents and educational institutions can work together well.
2. What we want to create is a school where every one's dream can be realized and everyone can feel happy
We have compiled a one-minute video about our dreams, so please take a look!
During my second year at university, I participated in a volunteer for learning support at Okinoerabu island and talk about issues in the educational environment of the island with people there. when it was heard about that "Education in Japan is seemed high quality in the world, but if you look at remote islands, there is relative poverty in Japan,", I was shocked and came to think deeply about education.
"I live on an island, so I can not learn what I want to learn."
"I can't learn what I want to learn because we have no money at home."
"I have to help my family, so I can only enter high school in the island."
In this way, I remember that I felt that it was not fair that poverty chained intergenerationally because there is a difference of opportunity to learn by the area and home environment where it was born.
The educational opportunities tailored to each should be given equally to all children.
Are there people around you who have no choice for learning outside of school?
As early as developmental delays appear in kindergarten, they are beaten at home and they become unfamiliar with school. Currently, even when viewed nationwide, the number of school refusal children in elementary and junior high schools reached 140,403 (an increase of 10,348 compared to the previous year), reaching 140,000 for the first time since the start of statistics, and updating the largest number. Did. (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology is 2017 "problems in student instruction such as problem behavior of students / school refusal") The ratio of school refusal to all children students is 0.54% in elementary school and 3.25% in junior high school Because of this, one in 184 primary school children and one in 30 junior high school students will be out of school.
This is the current situation in Japan.
We do not know when someone will be absent from school. It may be said that children of familiar people such as sisters and friends do not want to go to school tomorrow. That's why many people, including those involved in education, need to spread “understanding of correct education” and to create various educational opportunities for children who grow up on even remote islands, so we started free school here.
The name of free school which we have launched is 'An'. "An" is a coined word meaning "to create an educational opportunity for all children" or "to support each kids".
Working in a finnish school, the more I knew about Japan's current situation, the more I needed to broaden the choces of Japanese public education. We will create educational institutions that can be shared with schools and families in the community.
In this Nagatomo dream, if we get funds, in addition to the free school, introduce the N center (N high school) to our school, in the educational environment to expand the range of learning options for each person's self-realization.
(Model of the student who goes to N high school)
There are only Okinoerabu high school (ordinary department and commercial department) . Some students want to go out of the island in order to learn specialized things, but some families have difficulty in going out of the island with the help of family business. If we introduce a correspondence high school, kids will be able to study for each future while remaining local. In the Amami archipelago where we live, not only Okinoerabu, but also neighboring islands have similar task. This is one of the examples, and I hope that it will lead to the improvement of the educational environment even remote islands in the near future.
"If you don't fit in with the school, let's study another environment that suits the child," and "Learning to learn in environments other than school can also be an option!" For a child who feels stress in a small space of school, I think that there will be more adults who can show the choices of life that the child hope.
3. Use of funds
The funds received at Nagatomo Dream will be used by the Okinoerabu area for the introduction of N high.
1. Two high school entrance scholarship students from Okinoerabujima = 1.5 million
N high tuition fee = 1.5 million yen
2. Capital investment for introducing high N = 300,000 yen
3. Free school operation fee = 1 million
Teaching materials costs (including online learning materials "Surara"): 200,000 yen
4. Other expenses = 200,000 yen
4. Message from members
I thought, "How would everyone be excited?" I worked as an elementary school teacher for five years. I thought that the most exciting thing for the children was "with people who want to do where they want to do what they want to do". However, there was only one sense of incongruity.
"Everyone has to do the same thing the same way." The moment the excitement disappears from the children is tremendous. It is my pleasure to see the children are excited.
I would like to create a school where everyone can support each other's excitement. I believe this excitement will always be the power to live in the future.
“I would like to increase the number of schools that everyone can be happy by expanding educational opportunities tailored to each person, regardless of the environment or region where I was born!” As the first step, I am currently working in Kagoshima prefecture where I was born and raised. As for why I chose the island of Okinoerabu, I visited Okinoerabu Island three times while in school and engaged in learning support volunteers for the children of the island to know the attractiveness and problems of the educational environment of the island It becomes. After that, while studying as a teacher at a Finnish school site for six months while studying at a school, I made a plan on a “new school” that meets the environmental needs of Okinoerabu and learned about the ideal way of education. In collaboration with rocal people, we have launched a free school.
It may be difficult to achieve it alone, but I think that it will be absolutely possible with the cooperation of the people who can spread this new value together.
"I would like to expand a school where everyone can feel happy from Okinoerabu!"
Thank you for your cooperation!
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Thank you for your continued support.