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New School Takes Different Approach To Learning

New School Takes Different Approach To Learning

Posted - Sep. 15, 2004 at 5:44 p.m.



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Tonya Papanikolas reporting Imagine a school, where you can study whatever you want. That's the idea behind a new alternative private school in Salt Lake that began last week.

So far, the school has 17 students, ranging in age from 4 to 16, and the study body makes all the decisions.

Nine-year-old Charisma Lauritzen is doing an art project with her friend Samantha.

"Charisma Lauritzen: I'm making a necklace and a thank-you card."

The two girls aren't just having fun. They're at school.... but this school is a little different than most. On any given day, you may find the younger students playing Nintendo, and older students just talking with staff members.

Jen Schwartz/ Founder, Sego Lily School: “For thousands of years, how we educated children was we involved them in life. I say and a lot of other people are also saying, why aren't we doing that now? It still works."

The kids can study geometry or calculus if they want. But since the school is non-accredited, students have no state requirements So they can choose to spend their day on the computer, or baking something in the kitchen.

Matthew Richardson is helping build a fence in the front of the school... and a fort in the back.

Matthew Richardson: “We”re making a little playplace for the younger kids."

Schwartz says the boys learn math by measuring wood... and it's something they enjoy.

The parents have different reasons for sending their children to Sego Lily. Charisma's says her daughter struggled in public school because she likes to take her time with each subject.

Charm Lauritzen, Charisma's Mother: i]It's so rigid and so structured, that as soon as she starts into it, they shift gears, go do something else and she gets frustrated."

Charisma wants to be a veterinarian or animal trainer. That means she'll eventually need certain classes.

Charm Lauritzen: “She's aware that she may need to learn a lot of math, a lot of science, and she says, mom, I need a little bit more time before I do that."

The school is ready to teach whatever the students want, when they're ready to learn it. In the meantime, the kids are having fun taking their education into their own hands.

High school students *do* graduate and can receive a diploma, but it's not a state diploma.

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