Canyon School was a time warp in the forest, close to the urban Bay Area. It was a two room school house, with eight grades and about 35 kids. While the third graders listened to the first graders read, the fourth graders did addition flash-cards with the second graders. The thing I learned fully is that teaching and learning are connected deeply, that the communication is valuable to both who share the transmission of ideas. Ideas are not copied over, like files on a machine, but spark new ideas the teacher can never guess.
Sometimes at recess the boys from the Big Room would catch spawning trout from Canyon Creek with their bare hands. We played tag in the redwoods and held performances of original homegrown musicals under the stars (actually a rather traumatic affair in some cases, but our teacher had such grand schemes for spectaculars!). We wagered and lost bags full of marbles in the warm spring dust, made secret forts and treehouses.
It was wonderful and tortured, in the way childhood is fabulous and awful. But what a fine setting.