Peter Petersen Jenaplan education
Peter Petersen, the founder of the Jenaplan School, was the eldest of seven children in a peasant family in Germany. He developed in a wide field. He studied English, History, Philosophy and History of Religion in different countries. He spoke eight languages and, as a teacher at a gymnasium, was involved in educational innovation. In 1923 Petersen was appointed professor of educational science in Jena. Theory and practice went together there.
For Petersen, school is more than just teaching. At school, the child’s entire personality must be able to develop. The principles of the jenaplan education are:
- Unfolding of the child’s overall personality;
- Social education;
- Involvement in the environment (the immediate environment and beyond);
- Learning to deal with freedom and responsibility;
- Develop independence;
- Trust in children and in their vigor, and build on the strengths of the children.
Just like in other schools, children learn math, language and writing at a jenaplan school. In addition, much attention is paid to the encounter of the child with reality. The courses are therefore given as much as possible from the orientation on the world. From this orientation, the questions arise in the children to which they seek an answer.
The children at a jenaplan school are in tribal groups. Each group contains children from three consecutive age groups. They stay in the same group with the same teacher for two to three years: the lower school (4-6 years), the middle school (6-9 years), the upper school (9-12 years), the lower group (12-14 years) and the youth group (14-16 years). This group composition has the advantage that children learn from and with each other, help each other and gain experience as the youngest, middle or oldest child in the group.
The courses are given in level groups. There are also choice groups, in which children are temporarily together based on interest. These groups are usually composed of children from the same tribe group. Sometimes children from different groups are in the same level group, for example in arithmetic.
The children work independently in block hours on a self-selected task. The children themselves determine where they work during the block hour. This does not have to be in the classroom, but it can also be done in the hallway or in the parallel tribe group. The intention is that the children learn to work under their own responsibility during the block hours. They learn to plan the time themselves, to estimate how much time is needed for an assignment and how to tackle a problem, possibly with the help of a fellow student. Children who are not yet able to cope with this independence are guided in this and work towards greater independence.
In a jenaplan school a lot of attention is paid to conversation, games, work and celebration. Those celebrations are an essential part of jena plan education. Its meaning goes further than just relaxation. As a social event, the communal celebrations contribute to the social upbringing of the child and to the feeling of ?? to hear.