Iraraley Elementary School was established in 1967 and it is located at the island on the east-south side of Taiwan called Orchid island, an indigenous called Tao lives on the island which is famous for its ocean and flying fish culture. Iraraley Elementary School currently has 6 ordinary classes, a special education class, a kindergarten class, and a special kindergarten edution class, and having approximately 30 students and 20 faculties. Under the influence of sub-replacement fertility and immigration, population of student decrease by years. Iraraley Elementary School is a small but delicate school.
Iraraley tribe, having about 900 villagers, just like most of aboriginal tribes. Iraraley is also mostly made up of elders and children. In Tao language, “Iraralrey” means “polite” in Tao, it is a tribe commit to preserve its traditional culture. Iraraley Elementary school is located inside Iraraley tribe , the school is just next to a harbor and beach on the north shore, having the traditon settlement area with preserving Tao underground dwelling houses on the east, and having farming area and mountains on the south. Iraraley Elementary School surrounded by unique nature and culture,so school value their courses developing on interacting between the tribe and natural environment.
To integrate Tao traditional culture into the curriculum, school takes curriculum guidelines as programs developing main core and follows traditional calendar of Tao with important rituals and festivals, Iraraley Elemantary School develops its featured programs called “Tao Flying fish culture program”, teachers lead students to catching flying fishes, building drying flying fish rack, learing traditional method of flying fish’s processing and salting, and taking students into mountains to know different species of trees which provide resources of making tatala.
Cultural programs also follow students’ three different learning stages and giving different courses. Primary level learns to distinguish different types of flying fish, junior level learns knowledges of wood and pottery utensils, and senior level will get into the tribe to know their family ,fishing groups, and knowledge of traditional vernacular architecture.
Iraraley Elementary School values traditional culture and students’ development of mutiple intelligence. Except of mother tongue courses every week, artistic creating programs lead students making handcrafts and learning traditional dance. Students make their own accessories to show their unique creativities and dress with traditional clothes to join festivals with the community.
Environmental Education is also important to Iraraley Elementary School. School invites elderly leading teachers and students into mountains and ocean to learn about ancient myths and legends, reclaimation of farimg field and farming skill, collecting crops for festivals, and also get to intertidal zone to learn about its ecology and species. Facing trash pollution issue brings by tourism industry raises these years, school also cultivates students’ environmental awareness by doing costal cleanup to teach students their own duties in order to protect their own environment.
Iraraley Elementary School is based on its unique natural and human resources, proving students a liberal learning environment, cultivating students’ cultural identity and affirmation of mutiple intelligence developing. Jump out from the restraints of current education system, Iraraley Elementary School has been a reference for schools in this sub-replacement fertility era. This school is showing education can have more possibilities of creativities and innovation.