'Microschool' opens to students in Huron County
CLINTON, ONT. -- The Cornerstone Schoolhouse in Clinton is open for learning, but it's not your traditional classroom experience.
“We’re spending the first few weeks really building relationships, connections, getting to know each other. Just getting the kids used to a different way of being in school,” says Liz Walsh, Cornerstone’s co-founder.
Cornerstone is a child- and project-led school, that opened Monday on Clinton’s Main Street. It has no set curriculum, no summer holidays and as little structure as possible.
“It means moving about the space as they want to , working where they want to, going to the bathroom when they want to, eating when they want to. Which means wanting to eat all the time, because they say, wow, I can eat whenever I want to at this school,” says Walsh.
With no more than 12 students at any time, Walsh says smaller class sizes are something Cornerstone can offer that public school classrooms cannot amidst COVID-19 concerns about physical distancing in school.
“It is definitely an advantage because we already have the small cohorts available and the open space for them to move freely and be in their own space,” says Cornerstone co-founder, Molly Groves.
Cornerstone only has five students to start their inaugural six-week session. The typical school year of seven, six-week sessions costs $11,000 per student.
“Schools of this kind usually start at five kids, and grow from there. Students can start at any of our six-week sessions,” says Walsh.
In many ways, Cornerstone is a trip back to the past in education.
“It’s a one-room schoolhouse, so the students all learn the same topics, they’ll just pick up different things and the older ones might learn a little more in depth than the younger ones,” says Groves.