This Experimental Prototype School of Tomorrow Wants You to Forget Education as You Know it

For the first time in my life, I have reached a point in which I feel I have found my purpose. I have found my thing — I think creatively everyday and get to help others see the big picture in order to solve problems. It took me over 20 years to get here, yet it feels as if I am using the skills and traits I have always had. You see, my educational journey included a lot of unlearning what had been the norm in my childhood — creativity, curiosity, big picture thinking, different approaches to problem solving, asking too many questions, and much more. It seemed my education was teaching me how to fit the box, when I never really seemed to belong in it. Thereafter, I found myself relearning the same facets I had worked so hard to unlearn in my Master’s program. I can’t help but wonder how many of my decisions would have been made easier if I had been able to forge my own path throughout my educational journey.


Artist Unknown — Today’s Education System

Today’s education system includes teachers as the all-knowing and students minimizing their inherent curiosity to learn only what teachers and the provincial government wants them to learn. On a trip to Ottawa, I was lucky enough to sit down with Shauna Pollock, Co-Founder of the Blue Sky School, and hear about her vision for the future of education…

Shauna divides students into a 2x2 matrix with successful, underserved, motivated, and unmotivated. She explains that today’s education system is designed for students that are “successful” at following lesson plans and “motivated” by those lessons, but does not account for the other three possibilities. Both Shauna and I found that we were “successful” in primary education, but “unmotivated”.
Education in the Year 2117 is student-centred. It is fluid and flexible, just like a child’s mind. Children are embedded into the world around them, solving real world problems. Language classes are actually immersive. Religion is not a means by which to separate, but rather a reason to learn more about one another. Students learn world religions, fostered by a culture of community and respect.
The result? Students are self-aware. Understanding their own capabilities, they recognize that one another have different talents and that working collaboratively can take advantage of said differing talents. They build diverse and complementary teams. Students are capable of self-direction as they have been encouraged to do so throughout their educational journeys. They have also been encouraged to question assumptions when identifying problems, and empathetically embrace diversity.

“The current system is about 150 years old. It is a factory model”, Shauna explains. She tried to change the system from the inside during her 12 years as an educator but realized that, in order to show the world what education should look like, she would have to build a new model outside of the traditional one.

Blue Sky School aspires to make the existing elementary education system obsolete.

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

― R. Buckminster Fuller

Blue Sky School, an independent not-for-profit, will be the first of its kind in Canada. Inspired by entrepreneurial incubators and innovation centres, Blue Sky School exposes students to various topics, fields and interests.

Blue Sky School Explained (from www.blueskyschool.ca)

Blue Sky School has no teachers. They’re pedagogical coaches and mentors helping the students achieve their personal goals. Blue Sky School’s curriculum encourages its students to set their own goals and track the progress. Three times a year, there will be a showcase in which students can showcase their accomplishments to parents and guests.

Blue Sky School asks, “how might we design a better school?”, and has started exploring and creating possibilities for a better school with the students that it affects.


What do you think?

  • Might this be a signal of what’s to come in the future of education?
Education in the Year 2117 is student-centred. It is fluid and flexible, just like a child’s mind. Children are embedded into the world around them, solving real world problems. Language classes are actually immersive. Religion is not a means by which to separate, but rather a reason to learn more about one another. Students learn world religions, fostered by a culture of community and respect. Is Blue Sky School the education model of the future?
  • Does this model better prepare students for secondary and post-secondary education?
  • For more information on Blue Sky School, visit www.blueskyschool.ca.