The Jenaplan Schools are named after the University of Jena where Peter Petersen developed the educational concept that is used in these schools. Suus Freudenthal introduced this concept in the Netherlands in 1962; the same year the first Dutch Jenaplan School opened its doors. Petersen based his concept on the idea that children learn the most from their family members. Therefore, family is a central concept in Jeneplan education. This is reflected in the interior design of a Jenaplan classroom, which looks like a living room, where children occupy themselves with different tasks while taking responsibility for their own learning process. Teachers take on the roles of skilled mentors in the learning processes of their pupils instead of focusing on only transferring knowledge. Children are taught that they can make a difference and can contribute to a better society. Jenaplan teachers often mention that children seem to be born with the eagerness to explore: an important goal of Jenaplan schools is to preserve this and take it as a starting point of education. Pupils are supposed to come up with their own questions which will generate other questions that can serve as a basis for further research. This way, not only the teachers but also the pupils have a big say in designing and planning their own learning processes.
Are you curious how this educational concept is applied in daily practice in Dutch primary schools and whether it would be suited to your own child? What are the differences between Jenaplan schools and Dutch traditional primary schools? You can read more about this in de Keuzegids Basisonderwijs, which you can download for free on this website.