Wuppertal Theses

The following theses have been developed on the common educational self-image of independent alternative schools, which we endorse:

  1. The social problems of the present and future (ecology, wars, poverty, etc.) can only be solved in a democratic way by people who can live self-responsibility and democracy. Alternative schools try to offer children, teachers and parents the possibility to try out self-regulation and democracy in everyday life again and again. This is the most important political dimension of alternative schools.

  2. Alternative schools are schools in which childhood is understood as an independent phase of life with the right to self-determination, happiness and satisfaction, not just as a training phase for adulthood.

  3. Alternative schools create a space where children can develop their needs, such as freedom of movement, spontaneous expression, managing their own time, forming intense friendships.

  4. Alternative schools do not use coercive means to discipline children. Conflicts among children as well as children and adults create rules and boundaries that remain changeable.

  5. Learning content is determined by the children’s experiences and is defined together with the teachers. The selection of learning subjects is a process in which the background experiences of children and teachers are constantly incorporated. The complexity of learning is taken into account through diverse and flexible forms of learning that include play, everyday school life and the social environment of the school.

  6. Alternative schools want to go beyond the acquisition of knowledge and support emancipatory learning processes that open up new and unfamiliar paths of knowledge for all participants. In this way, they help to create the conditions for solving present and future social problems.

  7. Alternative schools are self-governing schools. The organisation of self-administration is a formative experience for parents, teachers and pupils in democratic interaction with each other.

  8. Alternative schools are a space for all participants in which attitudes and attitudes to life can be understood as changeable and open. They thus offer the possibility to experience adventures, to learn to live.