Donald MacJannet spent his entire life as an educator, or schoolmaster, as he often called himself. The early days of his teaching career began at the St. Albans School in Washington DC. From there he moved to France where he tutored, something at which he was so successful he was able to start his own school in St. Cloud, France and then later, during World War II, in Sun Valley, Idaho. Donald's educational skills enhanced the MacJannet Camp in Talloires, France, as well. Even after the school and camp no longer existed, Donald shared his educational ideas and taught those with whom he came in contact. Young and old, Donald was at heart, always a schoolmaster.
Donald MacJannet's method of education lay in encouraging the development of the student. (Listen to Donald's theory.) To help the student develop and learn as best as they were able. He believed this was the responsibility of all good educators. At the MacJannet School, for instance, academics were emphasized but athletics and arts were also included in the curriculum. In this way, the student could find where their talent lay and, by being encouraged at what they were good at, find strength to tackle what they were not so good at. (Listen to an example.) By feeling as if they were accomplished in one area, the student was able to be accomplished in others. Theater, art and music were all offered at the school. Field trips were taken to explore history where it happened, not simply learned from a book. The MacJannet School visited the chateaux of the Loire Valley and the trenches of WWI. The student were able to learn in varied forms.
Donald's philosophy also embraced the belief in education of the whole person, not just the mind but the body as well. Physical activity and more formal athletics were part of the daily curriculum. Basketball, baseball and soccer were all offered. Three recreation periods of varying lengths were part of the daily routine at the school. For Donald though, academics always came first, time meant for studying was not to be shortened for sport.
Charlotte's philosophy lay less in the formal sphere of education but in the system of eurythmics. The Dalcroze method in which she was certified emphasized music education through rhythm, improvisation and listening exercises. This work in non-traditional and progressive theory contrasted nicely with the more structured aspects of Donald's ideas.
Hear what others have to say about Donald MacJannet's educational philosophy and the MacJannet school.
Advantages of Sun Valley School
Incomparable climate: High altitude, pure dry air, winter sunshine. Classes are frequently held out-of-doors in the warm sunlight
Matchless sports equipment: outdoor swimming in heated pools all winter, outdoor ice skating all year, four ski lifts, fine riding horses, tennis courts, bowling alleys.
Appetizing meals prepared in spotless modern kitchens. The menus are carefully planned.
Sunny classrooms and comfortable, home-like rooms for boarders.
Individual instruction in small classes both in school subjects and in sports, crafts, music.
Opportunity to learn spoken French and Spanish.
Character training as a preparation for responsible citizenship and successful living is emphasized.– transcription from MacJannet School in Sun Valley brochure, 1940