1. Dongzhong Cave School, China.
Located in one of the poorest areas of China, the Dongzhong cave school was established to provide an education for children who would otherwise not have gone to school at all. Its unique location, in fact, was chosen because the villagers didn’t have the resources to build a school, so they worked with what they had. Sadly, the school was closed by the government in 2011, because, in their words, the country, “is not a society of cavemen.”
2. Harvey Milk High School, New York City.
New York is home to plenty of unusual schools, but this one wins points for diversity. The school, established in 1985, aims to serve gay, lesbian bisexual and transgender students in a supportive and safe space. Today, the school enrolls just over 100 students in Manhattan’s East Village.
Image Credit: David Shankbone via Wikimedia commons.
3. Burgess Hill School, Hampstead, England.
What would school be without rules? Well, the students at Burgess Hill School, located in suburban London, certainly found out. The now-shuttered boarding school gave students the freedom to do whatever they wanted — smoke in class, bring their dogs with them everywhere, ride their motorcycles around campus… you name it! Watch the video below for a peek into this fascinating school.
4. River Plate School, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
So many students spend more time staring out the window than they do actually learning, and the students at this school are certainly no exception. That’s because the school is located in the stadium of one of the nation’s — if not the world’s — most influential football (American soccer) teams. That’s right, the students get to watch their favorite players practice when they should be paying attention to their algebra lesson! The school recently added university-level courses, and now educates about 2,000 students starting at the kindergarten level.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
5. Forest Kindergartens.
Who says you need walls to learn? Heck, who needs a building at all? Forest kindergartens, a concept popularized in Europe, are schools for 3-6 year olds that take place almost entirely outdoors. Kids in regular kindergartens play on the monkey bars; kids in forest kindergarten climb trees. Rain or shine, snow or rain, heat or cold, these kids are out exploring and interacting with their environment.
6. Walt Disney Elementary, Levittown, Penn.
If you let elementary school students pick the name of their school, who else would they choose? In the 1950s, children in Levittown, Pennsylvania opted to name their school after the iconic animator. Mr. Disney himself, after being informed of the dedication, sent his own artists to decorate the school, and actually attended the dedication ceremony. Though there are now several schools named after Disney, this elementary school in suburban Philadelphia was the first.