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School Model

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As we closely follow critical approaches in education, we also benefit from various perspectives that has historical influences. In this context, as well as following alternative approaches particularly common in Continental Europe, we study unique practices applied in different historical eras and geographies from East Germany to Russia and even South Africa, and we believe that we need a “local” approach which is composed of strengths of these practices.

Although we approve popular approaches as Montessori, Waldorf and R. Emilia, we believe that there is no convincing reason to apply just one of those.

The model inspired from children’s criticism, dreamer wisdom and the idea of another world. 




1) Pluralist Approach 

  • At school, children have right to be involved in various groups with their peers and those of different chronological age.
  • Teacher’s presence is based on an equivalent approach throughout which they use their developmental advantages on behalf of children.
  • Learning processes exist in multiple places within a context that gathers all teachers and children rather than a class and a designated teacher.

2) Peaceful-Critical Friendship

  • Peace language embracing emotions and empathy is considered essential.
  • The friendship between children and teachers is supposed to encourage them to listen to each other, to look out for the other and to think together.

3) Democratic Pedagogy

  • Children are people who just involved in the maturation pyramid and have the same rights as adults.
  • They have the right to speak, to be heard and to make decision. Circles and children’s council are fundamental tools of these rights.
  • Learning environments are designed based on the idea to combine individual originality of children with collective skills and establish a baseline to be a color of the rainbow through solidarity.

4) Ecology-inspired School 

  • It dreams of a “neighbourhood” that thinks of humans as immanent in nature, regarding all living beings’ right to exist with the perspective of “wholeness” towards living together, ability to create and being in harmony with the environment. It also considers the needs of living creatures, who does not belong to humans yet living with them, as significative for the school pedagogy.

5) Creative Criticism

  • It practices realistic and alternative solutions with a dreamy, self-directed criticism of the world, social system and pedagogy.

6) Collaboration of Curiosity                                     

  • It believes in a context that follows the common curiosity of the child and teacher, accepting creative effort as a source of learning.

7) Locality

  • It attempts to understand the locality of the place with children, teachers and other living beings while pursuing the collective energy of these components.
  • It believes that learning process is a chain composed of micro-localities based on the principle that child development proceeds from near to far.

8) The Idea of Community                         

  • The school is based on the idea of community culture in which the child is not just a “student”, family members are not just “parents” and employees are not just “those who serve”. Indeed, it values cultural and emotional connection between child, family and school while cherishing their interaction and participation.

9) Performativity 

  • It has a sensitive approach that does not discourage self-learning and leads to children’s ability to meet their own needs and experiences.

10) Individual Thresholds 

  • It is capable of changing or expanding according to individual learner needs.


  • Children’s developmental potential and creativity are considered as key determinants.
  • Group dynamics and local needs are essential while structured activities are in fact subordinate.
  • The context of motivation is built for learning process.
  • Opportunities that support performative learning are considered essential.
  • The learning context is capable of changing or expanding according to outcomes of children’s participation. Children’s circle directly influences the curriculum.
  • “Play” is considered as a base for designing a learning environment.
  • Children’s individual characteristics are taken into consideration and opportunities are discovered.
  • All school places and ecological spaces are considered within the learning context.
  • Encounters and relationships between children and non-human persons are observed for learning opportunities.
  • Children are encouraged for controlled risk-taking.



  • It adopts the principle of “A child is a child with rights”.
  • It refuses undemocratic power of adults over children.
  • It builds the relationship between children and adults on behalf of children’s absolute interest. They are two different social subjectivities. Adults’ primary reason to be at school is to accompany children throughout the learning process.



Arkadaş School considers the concept of ecology as a learning experience immanent in the school, which refers to the relationship between child development and padagogy based on an ecological structure. In other words, ecology is the main motivation of the Fair School. It criticizes the perspective towards the interpretation of environmental degradation as ecophobia in learning programs and ecological constructivism in which ecology is fictionalized as a curriculum. It is based on the idea of following ecological flows, being a part of it as children and teachers, and building ideas, plans and materials in harmony with this flow. It believes that the expressions and educational materials advising protecting nature, not harming nature etc. alienate us from the idea that humankind and nature are not separated.

For this reason, it believes that an ecological curriculum should primarily includes an ordinate and sustainable living experience cherishing coexistence and mutual-transformation with creatures we live with. It believes that all kinds of cognitive, psychosocial, psychomotor and self-help skills learned in school should be integrated with this ecological vitality.

Subjects as nutrition, ecology and hygiene, transformation, creatures we live with, school’s wilderness and neighbourhood as an ecosystem form a basis for learning environments that children need in all areas of development. All ecological resources in school yard and nearby are considered as main learning environments and materials.


  • The school is basically administrated by the “school council” through which entire staff takes an equal part in decision-making and problem-solving processes and all actions are taken with a participatory approach.”Coordination Council”, consisting of the founders and coordinators, is authorized for emergencies and specific conditions and agenda that may affect school functioning. School council and coordination council regularly inspect each other.
  • School council meets with parents periodically to receive their opinions and suggestions, and it has a responsibility to take into account these outputs and to provide appropriate feedback.
  • Self-regulation is considered as a fundamental principle.
  • In daily routine, learning processes are conducted through circle time with children.
  • The content of these circles are of prime importance in decision-making processes about school administration.
  • “Peace Table” is used as a conflict resolution tool in which teachers are observers and children are facilitators.
  • Conflicts between employees are resolved within the advisory committee gathered by the school council.
  • The staff has equal rights within the school council. Different responsibilities and authorization can not be considered as a justification for a non-democratic status.


  • It prioritizes child development within their relationship with adults.
  • It advocates that animals and other living beings have right to live within their relationship with humankind.
  • It advocates women’s freedom within the relationship between men and women.
  • It regards human goodness within their relationship with objects.
  • It refuses injustice in relationships between adults.
  • Disadvantageous groups who are exposed to discrimination due to class differences, sexual orientation or disabilities deserve affirmative action during enrollment or recruitment.


  • It adopts the principle of equal pay for equal work.
  • It pays respect to contribution and quality of labour for pay determination.
  • School budget is available for supporting employees’ effort in subjects as “education, children, ecology and social solidarity” whose variables are determined by the school council.
  • Principles and variables regarded for school fees are open for families, which are required to be fair and sustainable.
  • The profit can not be used for an unjust, individual enrichment. It is indeed used for increasing scholarship amounts and employee welfare and funding ecology/society/education related activities.
  • It aims to give scholarship, ranging from 20% to 100%, to one sixth of total number of admissions as regarding that at least 20% of the families get a full scholarship.
  • It also builds relationships with social solidarity networks to improve scholarship capacity besides its own potential.
  • In case of a financial crisis, the community creates collective solutions based on the opportunities and needs for solidarity.



  • For all types of consumption, it prefers organizations and products that have fair production and fair trade labels.
  • It builds alliances and partnerships with production communities and local producers who are non-profit or regarding fair share.
  • It builds its own food community.
  • It regards ecology within the processes of consumption and reproduction.
  • The school is a place of production and all kind of opportunity is considered as a reason for ecologically sensitive productivity. The priority is to realize its own opportunities to access real food.


  • Experiences and activities are organized for self-directed and collective gatherings of the entire community, including children, families and school staff, to enhance community culture and to support peaceful coexistence, and each experience is maintained as a school tradition. It is willing to create traditions as camp experiences, nature trips, table gatherings and ashura fest to enhance the idea of knowing and inspiring each other and creating a community culture.
  • It believes that the model is a social right, thus it takes responsibility to organize introductory meetings, to prepare educational modules and to build educational teams to reach educators/parents and related individuals who need the model.