MISTY MEADOWS ORGANIC HIGH SCHOOL
- A LEARNING ECOSYSTEM FOR TEENAGERS

“Our highest endeavour must be to develop free human beings who are able, of themselves, to impart purpose and direction to their lives. The need for imagination, a sense of truth, and a feeling of responsibility – these three forces are the very nerve of education” - Rudolf Steiner

This learning ecosystem for teenagers has been designed to enable teenagers to develop the skills and capacities necessary to thrive as capable adults in the Twenty First Century. The ecosystem comprises of seven learning areas. Each of these areas will be facilitated by a suitably qualified and highly experienced adult.

Obviously there will be some crossover between these learning areas – our aim is not to function in subject silos, but rather to give students access to different adults with different focus areas and expertise. We will operate from a weekly timetable, but not all students will be required to attend every lesson. The first two pillars may be mandatory sessions, the rest could be optional depending on what students are interested in exploring further at a particular time (some might want to develop their practical skills, some might be more interested in personal development, some might want to focus on their art, or any other area of interest).

This ecosystem is designed for children aged 12-16. When students reach the age of 17 they will be supported to obtain a school leaving certificate if this is their choice, or alternatively they will be mentored to choose what to do next in their lives, whether this is starting their own business, finding an apprenticeship, studying further, getting a job, or any other route they might choose as a next step after school.

PILLAR ONE: LANGUAGE, LITERATURE, SOCIAL STUDIES (HISTORY, GEOGRAPHY), GENERAL KNOWLEDGE, PHILOSOPHY

This learning area will draw from a wide range of texts, which the class will read aloud and discuss. These sessions will include written components as well as research, verbal presentations and debates. The purpose of these sessions is to expose students to a richer understanding of how to think and reason effectively, how to write and speak effectively, how to understand different points of view and philosophies, how subjects connect to each other, and how the world works from a social perspective.

PILLAR TWO: MATHS, SCIENCE, BIOLOGY, ENGINEERING, TECHNOLOGY

This learning area will focus on scientific concepts, application and experimentation, as well as creativity. We will use the scientific method of inquiry to explore a wide range of topics. The purpose of these sessions is to support the students to understand the role of observation, numbers, formulae and experimentation in observing, measuring and understanding their world better. These sessions will include both theory and practical application and experimentation, as well as a lot of scientific play and creativity.

PILLAR THREE: PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

This learning area will focus on supporting students to know and understand themselves and their peers, families and community better. These sessions will include focus on developing good social and emotional skills, conflict resolution, creative thinking, goal setting, self-management techniques, personality profiling, learning styles, career counselling, etcetera

PILLAR FOUR: PRACTICAL SKILLS

This learning area will support students in undertaking a wide range of practical projects and activities, including, but not limited to: cooking, gardening, woodwork, farming, sewing, building, building maintenance, mechanics, technology, crafting, driving, shooting, metalwork, etcetera. Part of this module includes project planning, scoping and implementation, project management skills and tools, practical problem solving, the use of online resources, entrepreneurship, etcetera. We will access global best practice via You Tube and support students to undertake any practical projects they can envision. The facilitator of this pillar will support students to access the expertise and materials they require to undertake practical projects.

PILLAR FIVE: ARTS AND MUSIC

This learning area will support students in the development of their art or musical interests. We will endeavour to find appropriate mentors for each child depending on their chosen focus.

PILLAR SIX: CONSCIOUSNESS EXPANSION

This learning area will focus on supporting students to expand their consciousness and self-awareness through the application of body and mind-expanding techniques like yoga, meditation, breathwork, chi gong, martial arts, practices to improve self-discipline, etcetera. Our annual five elements challenge will be included in this learning area.

PILLAR SEVEN: PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND TIME IN NATURE

This learning area is about students being present in their physical bodies and spending time outside. Activities include gardening, hiking, time in nature and sport. The purpose of this learning area is to support students to develop their fitness, physical self-mastery, grounding and connection to nature.

SCHOOL LEAVING CERTIFICATE

We are currently mentoring a group of 16+ year olds to obtain their GED Certificates. We are open to continuing to offer a mentoring programme through the GED for students who would like to obtain a school leaving certificate, however, this is not the primary aim of our high school ecosystem and will not be required by all students if they do not choose this for themselves or commit to it fully. We are of the opinion that children who have participated in our ecosystem for four years will be in an excellent position to know what they choose next in their lives, and we will support and enable whatever that choice is in whatever way we can.

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