OUR QUALITY GUARANTEE
As a result of attending Misty Meadows we guarantee that your child will:
Develop and practise the 4Cs (Communication, Critical Thinking, Creativity and Collaboration) on a daily basis.
Know who he/she is, and how to be the best version of him/herself.
Be resourceful in creating opportunities for him/herself.
Practice a wide range of physical, mental, creative, social and emotional skills every day.
Participate in a wide range of activities each week including: art, music, workshop, yoga, martial arts, sport, drama, gardening, nature walks, new science-related experiments, practical self-sufficiency activities.
Learn effective techniques for conflict resolution and collaboration.
Work on projects that are personally meaningful to him/her with amazing mentoring and encouragement from a wide range of kind, caring, intelligent adults.
Be well prepared to accomplish whatever he/she dreams of for him/herself.
Be part of a rich learning community that extends well beyond our physical school.
HOW WE FUNCTION
School runs from 8am to 12 noon, Monday to Friday (excluding school holidays) with an extra hour for sport on Wednesday (finishing at 1pm)
Children can be dropped from 7.30am and fetched by 12.30pm.
Bring a healthy snack for mid-morning break and wear comfortable, practical clothes that might get rather dirty.
Bring hats, sun cream and walking shoes if you require them.
Our big school consists of four indoor learning spaces together with a large fenced outdoor environment shared with our preschool. The indoor spaces are divided into different activity areas, but all primary school children are welcome to use all of these spaces, as long as they do not disrupt organised activities in those spaces at a specific time.
We have a school workshop for practical building projects, and a large orchard and veggie tunnels.
We have four school computers and wireless internet access and all children are free to make use of the computers on a roster basis. Children over 11 can bring their own laptops or tablets to use for their projects.
Children are encouraged to explore the farm beyond the school fence, but only if they have notified an adult of where they are going and for how long. Children are allowed to swim in the dam if their parents have given them permission to do so. Children under the age of 8, or who do not know how to swim properly, will always be accompanied by an adult.
Cassie Janisch is the Programme Administrator for the primary school. She is primarily responsible for monitoring each child’s learning experience at Misty Meadows and giving parents written and verbal feedback twice a year.
Cassie is supported by a team of full and part-time adults who oversee different activities and learning spaces throughout the week as per the schedule below. The children should consider all of these adults collectively as their “teachers”.
NB. Our school is about Freedom with Responsibility. The children who attend our school will be expected to abide by the Golden Rule: “Treat others how you wish to be treated”. We expect children to tidy up after themselves and to take responsibility for maintaining their school facilities. Children are always free to voice their grievances or concerns in morning circle time and we aim to seek mutual agreement through listening and negotiation, not compulsion.
PROGRAMME FOR FOUNDATION PHASE (GRADE 1-4)
This is what we call the “learning to read” phase of school. This is the phase geared towards children developing some basic skills that they can then apply in their self-directed learning as they get older. By “read” we don’t just mean actual reading, but also how to read people and view life situations, as well as developing some of the foundational skills you might use to succeed in your life; including using numbers, communication, teamwork, self-discipline, self-confidence, etcetera.
During this phase we have therefore geared our programme towards the children acquiring some basic skills, including reading, writing and maths. However, instead of drilling them all to learn the same information in the same way, and to be able to repeat it back by rote, we have the time and capacity to explore these subjects in a leisurely way together – our lessons are structured inquiries alongside an adult rather than a process of drilling and testing. Kaitlynn will show the children how the English language has been constructed so that they learn to read and understand the meaning of what they read simultaneously. Jean will read one-on-one with each child at least once per week. Gogo will teach them how to write, both in the fine motor control sense and in the sense of how to construct a paragraph and tell a story. Ryjin will support them how to use technology in their lives – in particular for finding and analysing information critically. Kate, Tammy and Cassie will teach them a wide variety of maths concepts and tools, but always in an applied and playful way. The key idea we want this age-group to understand is that everything is “figure-outable”. Even if you don’t know how to do something, you can figure it out, or get help to figure it out in a way that makes sense to you.
Yoga, Art, Music, ATB, Sport, MMA, Makerspace, Workshop and CST
In addition to these structured inquiry processes described above, these children will also participate in yoga, art, music, Awareness through the Body (ATB), sport and mixed martial arts during their week at school.
We will also be undertaking practical Maker space projects like lego challenges as a pre-cursor to workshop time for the Grade 1s and 2s. The Grade 3s and 4s will be starting Workshop classes with Ian and Sandile where they will be taught a wide range of practical skills in the course of making things out of wood, metal and Perspex. For example, they will be making lamps out of wood, Perspex keyrings, and undertaking a variety of other projects during the year with the purpose of learning and applying practical skills in the course of making things that they can take home and use.
Grade 4s will also participate in Claire’s weekly Learning from Nature sessions, which are described in more detail below.
Finally, any child who feels they would benefit is welcome to book a Cranio-Sacral Therapy session with Donovan on a Tuesday or a Thursday on a first-come-first-served basis. Children start to experience stress in their lives due to a wide variety of causes (physical, mental, or emotional). Children often show that stress by being overly active or having a lack of focus, or by being overly emotional. CST is a tool for helping to restore balance and calmness in their lives. Children receiving these holistic therapies grow in understanding themselves mentally, physcially, and emotionally. They then can carry this knowledge of self care into their adult lives.
PROGRAMME FOR GRADES 5 and ABOVE
This is the “reading to learn” phase of school, as opposed to the “learning to read” of our first four years of school. This phase is when the children have already developed a whole lot of capacities and skills, and now it is a case of putting these into practise and refining them while doing things that interest you specifically. 2019 will be the first year that we will have children above primary school age attending our school, and we have designed a very rich and exciting programme for these children as well as the children in their last three years of primary school.
We are committed to using technology to foster inquiry-based learning using a constructivist pedagogical approach. We, as teachers, aim to prompt our learners to formulate their own questions and we aim to support their creation of their own knowledge in a meaningful way. We are moving towards a more project-based approach with this group, where the children will define and scope a project that interests them, and where the result of their exploration would be a presentation of some sort at the end of each project. These projects can be on any subject that interests the child (for example: making something in the workshop, learning a specific subject online, making a video, growing a crop, growing animals, hatching eggs, making a piece of art, writing a song, learning an instrument, learning a healing modality, building a website, sewing a quilt, writing a book, designing a product, writing a business plan) but will have to include a design aspect, a research aspect, a build/make/do aspect, and a presentation aspect. We would like each child to complete one major project per term, with a presentation in the last week of each term. Ryjin and Cassie will support each child to conceive their project for the term, and provide ongoing mentoring and support through the project, together with their parents and the other adults at our school.
To facilitate these projects we have scheduled six hours per week into our Eagles’ timetable. Each Eagle will have a desk space allocated to them in the computer classroom and can either bring their own computer, or make use of a school computer to undertake their projects during this time. The Eagles will have access to daily support from Ryjin, Cassie or Kaitlynn, as well as occasional support from Claire, Gogo, Donovan, Kaley, Kyle, Tammy, Dael, Ian, Sandile or anyone else we can secure to support their project once they have defined and scoped it.
Practical Self-sufficiency programme
Following the success of our slipper-making project in 2018 Dael has agreed to become a more permanent member of our team. For two hours every Tuesday Dael will lead the Eagles in a practical project of their choosing, especially focused on design, and equipping them with practical skills that will be useful in the real world.
Claire’s Learning from Nature programme
Biomimicry is a fantastic way to combine Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths (STEAM) into one field of study - we call this field "Learning from Nature". Many schools around the world are embracing Biomimicry and Claire is a highly sought after trainer, teaching at some of the top schools and universities (as well as businesses and government) in this country and around the world. Claire offers us a weekly lesson that combines theory and practice in the most engaging way.
She introduces us to concepts that are well in advance of mainstream maths and science education, including subjects like Quantum Physics, Plasma Science, Sacred Geometry and Vortex-based maths. Claire teaches how Nature can already do so many of the things that humans are still learning how to do (like capturing and storing energy, or creating life-friendly building materials, or purifying water). Claire also connects us to cutting edge thinkers and experts in these fields by inviting these experts to come and share their knowledge with us. The practical aspect of Claire’s lessons include conducting experiments and, for example, building generators, as well as taking many walks in nature to observe nature’s design genius first hand.
As with the Grade 3s and 4s, the older children will also get some Workshop time with Ian and Sandile – they will be able to make some of the specific projects defined for the younger children, as well as any other projects that interest them. One suggestion is to upcycle old furniture by repairing, sanding and painting it – they could then sell the upcycled piece of furniture and expand this into a business venture if it interests them.
Yoga, MMA, Sport, ATB, Music, and CST
We will continue to offer yoga as an effective tool for practising mindfulness and self-discipline, as well as being excellent for the physical body. Whilst not everyone would choose to do yoga every week, the benefits from regular practise are noticeable – all the teachers who have time with children after they have done yoga notice that they are far more calm and focused than at other times. The ones who find yoga the hardest are the ones who benefit the most from it. I have told the children they can give up when they are really good at it.
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is great for learning self-defense and developing confidence in one’s strength, as well as it being fun and disciplined and great exercise. Sport is fun and great for practising teamwork, as well as being great for physical health and fitness. Awareness Through the Body (ATB) teaches children to use all their senses, including their intuition, in exploring their world. And music is really fun – a great combination of theory and practical with lots of opportunity to learn songs that you like and perform using a wide range of instruments and technology (like the loop station). Finally, any child who feels they would benefit is welcome to book a Craniosacral Therapy (CST) session with Donovan on a Tuesday or a Thursday on a first-come-first-served basis. CST is described in more detail above and parents are welcome to talk to Donovan in order to better understand what he does.
We feel that this is a versatile and exciting programme that will stimulate the Eagles to fly to ever greater heights, exploring subjects that interest them while learning and practising a wide range of skills in the process.
PARENTS FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Will my child learn to read and write?
Yes, but not all at the same time and maybe later than other schools. When they do learn these skills they will be in context and therefore properly retained.
Will my child learn maths?
Yes, in many, many different ways, and without even realising that it is maths or finding it scary or hard. Maths is a tool for measuring life, and in that context it is useful and interesting to everybody. We will not explicitly teach the same maths curriculum to everyone at the same time.
Will you follow the national curriculum?
No we will not. We have read and understand the national curriculum and a lot of it is common sense and what children would choose to learn anyway at each age and stage. The biggest problem with the CAPS national curriculum is its standardised assessment requirements which do not allow for personalised education. We will maintain an awareness of the national curriculum guidelines without explicitly sticking to them. In many cases children will be functioning well in advance of curriculum requirements. We will not explicitly teach the national curriculum or test or assess children according to this curriculum.
Will my child get homework or write tests and exams?
Will my child know what children in traditional schools are learning?
Yes, but they will hopefully feel more engaged in what they are learning and dive deeper into subjects that interest them, which might mean not focusing on subjects that do not interest them. Sending your child to our school requires you to trust them to learn what they need to know to thrive in their own life.
Will my child be able to swop to a normal school for high school?
They will be capable of succeeding in a “normal” high school if that is what you think is necessary.