Santa Monica Alternative School House
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The Santa Monica Alternative School House (SMASH) is an alternative school in Southern California that was founded in 1973 to emphasize "non-authoritarian, non-competitive, non-sexist methods". Originally serving grades Kindergarten through 12th, SMASH downgraded to a Kindergarten through middle school curriculum in the late 1980s. In 2005-2006, SMASH had 193 students enrolled in grades K-8.
SMASH is a school in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. They use a constructivist approach to learning that provides opportunities for students to take ownership of their education. SMASH provides an interactive, collaborative learning experience whereby teachers, students and parents work together to harness the child's sense of wonder, curiosity and emphasize the development of the "whole person" through critical thinking, problem solving and responsibility as an interdependent member of the community. Rather than a "top down" approach to education whereby children are seen as vessels to fill, and potential test score composites, SMASH students are taught through understanding concepts and life from an experiential methodology. Academic, social, artistic collaborative projects offer a rich education in not only typical content areas but in socialization. SMASH students see themselves as citizens of their community and world intent on making a positive difference.
The school divides classes into "cores" of mixed age grouping which allow for mentoring and a strongly interconnected curriculum and community. Core 1 consists of kindergartners, first and second graders. Core 2 consists of third and fourth graders. Core 3 consists of fifth and sixth graders, and Core 4 of seventh and eighth graders.
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