# Alternative education models and child development

### Problem

In the United States a large part of a child’s education is focused on their academic achievement, as measured by standardized exams. As a result American public school curriculums often focus on improving skills associated with high scores on the tests, rather than focusing on other markers of success. Because this model can be incredibly frustrating for students, some parents seek out alternative education approaches in the hopes of nurturing their child’s development and growth.
The Good Student is an alternative school that uses current research on children’s natural development to form curriculums, with the hope of fostering independence and joy for learning. The school provides mixed age classrooms where students are encouraged to work on activities that they enjoy and where they can learn from practice, rather than from instruction. Children’s parents are often invited to join the students throughout the day, in an effort to provide a supportive learning environment that will extend outside of the classroom. In addition, each child is followed extensively (using case study methodology) to learn more about their unique needs and learning styles. Information from three such case studies can be found in Table 1.
Table 1
ChildAgeSelection of notes from case study
Steven8“He is having difficulty making friends at school. In addition, he has trouble completing his work accurately and on time. He receives little positive feedback from teacher and parents.”
Jane3“She is trying to be independent. Jane, a preschooler, insists on dressing herself each morning for school, even though she generally selects mismatching outfits, misses buttons, and wears her shoes on the wrong feet. When mother tries to dress her or fix her outfit, she brushes mother off and insists on doing it herself.”
Mark5“Recently had an incident. Teacher was keeping a small stash of chocolate behind her desk to give to students as a reward. He forgot to bring his lunch in to school today since he left it on the bus by accident. He takes a bar of chocolate from behind the desk since he was very hungry. He does not think he did anything wrong since he thinks no one noticed him stealing and teacher did not bring up his behavior.”
The school also conducts its own research to improve skill development. In one experiment, the teachers brought in the mothers of half of the children in the program. The children were asked to decide which items of furniture should be placed in particular dollhouses. Half of the children were allowed to play with their mother in a similar situation before the mothers were taken away, while the other half played with the dollhouse alone. All of the children were then asked to attempt the task alone.
What stage of conflict best describes the development of Jane’s behavior?
Please choose from one of the following options.