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Our Living School

Our Living School is a democratic, place-based, and constructivist
approach to education. 

At Our Living School, children learn the intricacies of working within a community, value of environmental stewardship, and the power of their own mind. 
















About Our Living School


What better way to prepare voting citizens than to allow children to practice and run a democracy in school?  At OLS, the students learn to resolve conflicts, decide the rules of conduct, and choose small and large group projects democratically.  Discussions and debates are held regularly, allowing the students to develop accountability, trust in their minds, and reliance on their community.


The Oregon Coast abounds with learning opportunities; from biology, ecology, geology …any -ology at all.  You name it, it’s here!  And we take full advantage of the science available here.  But that’s not all.  We are surrounded by nature, and when children are allowed to explore the environment as nature had intended, children develop a sense of who they are and their place in our beautiful world.  Our numerous field trips give OLS students ample time to explore outdoors.


No matter how we teach children, they construct their own meaning for themselves.  At OLS, we respect this fact.

Non-linear Learning

We do not attempt to make children learn what we think they ought to know in order to keep them all on the same track.  Instead, we are carefully trained to observe each child to see what the child is ready, willing, and wanting to learn.  Their choices (and the ensuing acceleration in their learning) often surprise both teacher and parents alike. 


Play is not only fun for children, but crucial to their development.  Play is a precursor to logical, abstract, and analytical learning.  Play also encourages self-control, social learning, creative problem solving, and much more.  At OLS, play is not just tolerated, but encouraged. 

Social Learning

The Russian term, Obucheniye, represents the social dynamic between the learner and the learner’s teacher.  This teacher can be a school teacher, a peer, a parent, or even an educational manipulative that increases a student’s understanding.  At OLS, we value and work to strengthen Obucheniye.  We see social learning as critical to both learning and development.  Therefore working together is an important value at OLS. 

Age Integration

Another important way to strengthen Obucheniye is to integrate various ages and contrast in skill levels.  Imagine an eight-year-old teaching a five-year-old to read.  Imagine a five-year-old encouraging a seven-year-old to envision possibility.  At OLS, students work together in whole-school group projects, in smaller group projects, or they pair off into “study buddies” for inquiry-based academic work.

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