1st Edition

Holistic Ways of Learning at a Community School A Critical Narrative Exploration of the Alternative School Experience

By Jessica Poff Copyright 2025
    168 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This volume provides a critical narrative inquiry into the learning experiences of adults and children at a community school in Canada. It tells the story of a closely connected family of people living and learning together, combining activities such as learning to read and write with unconventional learning experiences such as trick riding, rodeo competitions and yoga and meditation practices. Through a lens of holistic education and critical pedagogy, the author draws on interviews from students and teachers at the alternative school, as well as her own autoethnographic experience, to build out a full picture of the experience and dynamics of the school. 

    This critical and holistic schooling narrative aims to explore assumptions about alternative schooling and highlight ways in which modern mainstream schools can be challenged to be different in the post-pandemic era. It will be of interest to scholars, researchers, and postgraduate students with interests in experiential education, alternative education, narrative inquiry, critical theory, and holistic theory.

    Chapter One : Introduction, Prologue to the Story & the Alternative School Movement           

    Chapter Two: Holistic Theory and Critical Pedagogy          

     Chapter Three: Methodology

     Chapter Four: The Newcomers         

     Chapter Five: Education Is Too Important to Be Left to Professionals           

     Chapter Six: Getting There Is Half the Fun               

     Chapter Seven: A Beautiful Little School     

     Chapter Eight: Conclusion    


    Jessica Poff is Elementary School Principal at a small, rural elementary school in Ontario, Canada. She obtained her PhD in Education Sustainability at Nipissing University.