School in Detroit offers unique education


DETROIT – The Nataki Talibah Schoolhouse in Detroit is using unique ways to expose its students to different ways of thinking.

The private school was started by Carmen N'Namdi and her husband, George, after the death of their 14-month-old daughter.

"She had a pacifier that was wrapped around her neck that got caught onto the corner of the playpen, and that's what caused her death," N'Namdi said.

The couple wanted to do something to help cope with the pain. Opening a school with her namesake seemed right.

Nataki means high birth and Talibah means seeker of knowledge.


"As we began to shape Nataki Talibah, I pretty much did all of the things I wanted for my kids," N'Namdi said. "I mean part of the physical education program there was swimming. We go camping, we go winter and we go spring camping."

Students also get lessons in things like social studies immersion, diet (there's no red meat served at lunch) and they even practice meditating.

"There's no beliefs at all," N'Namdi said. "It's just quiet and you have a mantra. The children do it for 10 minutes. I think it's very important in the times we live. Someone can always get in touch with you. This generation has to know how to rest."

And speaking of resting, N'Namdi's school encourages children to unplug from the digital world. Not just at school, but at home as well.

"'Turn off TV' week was something we also did because we really wanted the families to see how dependent everyone is on television," N'Namdi said.

Now in its 35th year, the school is recognized in an exhibit at the Charles H. Wright museum with more than 430 students are enrolled from diverse backgrounds. N'Namdi and her husband believe the education the students are receiving helps them identify the roles they play in making the world a better place.

If you'd like to visit the exhibit at the Charles H. Wright Museum, it's going on through April 19.

For more information on Nataki Talibah Schoolhouse of Detroit please visit: www.nataki.org.

About the Author: