What do they actually learn?
Need-driven, personalized learning:
We believe that when learners engage with self-generated questions and activities, that come from real life needs, they learn quickly and deeply – covering years of content in a much smaller period of time.
Our children learn skills and knowledge when they need them and through real life situations. For example: we will not give a learner a Math class just for the sake of learning “math”. We do not believe there is such a thing as learning something except when the learner is ready for it. Hence, we create contexts and scenarios through which our learners get to experience and explore different skills and knowledge. We wait for the natural opportunity of interest to arise from a child’s question and we follow it. For example: a learner maybe working on a project to create a small business, in the process, there comes a point where they find the “need” for Math in real life, that is during their budgeting and sales process. OR a learner maybe sewing a dress and needs to take measurement. The latter two are examples when learners will turn in to their facilitator or community for support to learn Math; there is an internal drive for learning. At this point, children learn in a way that touches their life needs, that is applicable and that lasts with them forever.
As a self-directed learner, the biggest takeaway that underlies our culture is that a child understands that he/she has agency and autonomy to decide for him/herself what to learn and how. They get to take responsibility over their own learning – this is much harder than being spoon-fed ready-made information by a teacher, but the consequence is well worth the journey.
Students develop habits of self-management, self-discipline, freedom of choice and practice their autonomy and free will as human beings. Most importantly, as they become independent learners, students get to “learn how to learn”, an indispensable 21st century skill for children to survive in our ever changing world.
On Educational Offerings
- Offerings are on different life topics and usually answer children’s inquisitive questions and respond to their curiosities and interests
- Offerings come from all members of our learning community, that is: children/learners, facilitators, parents, resource people and community elders
- Offerings span a multitude of learning varieties that address the head, heart and hands
- Offerings are presented in multiple shapes and formats (classes, trips, projects ..etc)
- Examples of offerings can be: food plantation, waste management and recycling, robot making, website design, world cultural days, junior architecture, game sessions..etc.
- Offerings are what correspond to “classes” in a traditional school. We call them “offerings” because children choose what to participate in – nothing is obligatory, hence, it is an “offer”
- As a general reference guide, our offerings fall broadly into any of the following circles of knowledge – however, this list is still not exclusive and some offerings may not have a specific category to fit in:
Offerings can be carried out in the form of trips, classes, games, discussions, stories, creation, collaboration, and surprises. We use different approaches while designing our offerings or inviting them like: Inquiry based-learning, discussion-based learning, play-based learning, drama-based learning, project-based learning ..etc.
It is also recommended for learners to participate in apprenticeships in a profession or a craft of their choice every 6 months. And to work on individual or collaborative projects with other learners to participate in a bi-monthly exhibition or market place.
Additionally, we have 3 lenses of focus that guide our educational offering:
Education that allows the learner the freedom to choose and decide on their own learning
Education that allows learners to engage with the community, that aims at graduating people as emancipated learners who contribute to social justice, transforming the world we live in rather than fitting in
Education that gives space for learners to learn and practice sustainable lifestyle principles to heal our planet, education that allows kids to create and shape the community they want to live in
Besides the academic skills that the children gain as they explore their own learning, there are a number of skills that children will learn by virtue of how our day is designed
Part of the Day
Daily Clean Up and Winding Down
End of Day Big Meeting
- Intention Setting
- Goal Setting
- Effective Self-Management
- Asking Questions
- Strategic Planning
- Democratic Decision Making
- Time Management
- Choice Making
- Presentation Skills
- A multitude of head, heart and hand skills according to every “offering” and every learner’s learning plan.
- Discovering one’s own gifts, passions and talents.
- Team Work and Collaboration
- Mindfulness and Presence
- Self Reflection
- Listening Skills
- Listening Skills
- Dialogue Skills
- Negotiation Skills
- Problem Solving
- Conflict Resolution
- Freedom of expression
- Digital Literacy