The History of the School

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Humble Beginnings

Mrs. Johnson, a teacher from St.Paul, Minn., read the works of Nathan Oppenheim and C.Hanford Henderson, and became inspired to start her own experimental school.  She moved to Fairhope, a Utopian community, at age 38.

...and World Reknown

A Unique Approach

Encouraged and funded by friends in the small experimental community of Fairhope, Alabama, Mrs. Johnson began her revolutionary school on a ten-acre campus -- teaching, writing, training teachers in her method. Her little school attracted national attention, and she was one of the founders of the Progressive Education Association.

A speaker of great power, she was able to persuade audiences and educators of the validity of her philosophy, and her school attracted a number of intellectuals to Fairhope to enroll their children in The School of Organic Education. Mrs. Johnson believed in classes without final examinations, homework, or failure.


Mrs. Johnson's philosophy stresses the education of the whole organism: Body, mind, and spirit.

One of the basic tenets of her philosophy, quoted in one of her speeches:
        E
ducation is life, growth!
therefore the school program
must be life-giving to body, mind
and spirit -- the complete organism.

No tests? No failures?

Students were grouped by chronological age from kindergarten through high school. The only requirement asked of students were attendance at class, punctuality, and sincere effort. Required classes included folk dancing and arts.

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Links: Fairhope Preservation Society
Baldwin County Heritage Museum
Marietta Johnson School of Organic Education





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