Think of your child's learning as a process, not a product...
Traditional education has always prioritised teaching “the 3 Rs” (reading, (w)riting and (a)rithmetic), and focused on teaching children a specific and unchanging body of knowledge as a series of school subjects. Children write tests and exams to test how proficient they are in knowing this specific body of knowledge. Learning in this way is a product that can be easily measured because the teachers already know the right answers to all the questions that they ask the children. Parents have gotten used to their children learning a set curriculum, writing an exam, and getting a mark at the end of the term to represent their proficiency. But is this really the learning that our children need to thrive in the Twenty First Century?
Many people now realise that this traditional approach to education is not actually meeting the education needs of our modern society. Most of the answers to the problems our children will need to solve are not yet known, so testing them and give them marks for the right answers is in no way preparing them effectively for life after school. In addition, we have ubiquitous technology and everything we could ever want to know or find out about at our fingertips - we don't need to memorise and repeat the exact same stuff as previous generations did - we need to learn to optimise our use of technology, together with our innate human problem solving capacities, to innovate creatively and effectively. Thus, more schools are turning their focus from the product of "the 3 Rs" to the process of “the 5 Cs” (communication, collaboration, critical thinking, curiosity and creativity).
The 5 Cs are all important enabling capacities that can be developed following a wide range of processes, and through engaging in many different projects and activities across a wide range of subjects. Our school focuses on supporting children to develop these five Cs, as well as on supporting them to KNOW how to be their unique authentic selves (through exploring their individual personalities, learning styles, strengths and weaknesses, and developing their self awareness). We also support them to develop their empathy, their self-discipline, and the resilience to master whatever challenges or dreams that they set their minds to.
Our primary school functions as a biodiverse learning community of mixed ages, genders, races and income groups. Children learn most effectively from engaging with a wide range of peers, and we encourage children to play with, and learn from, each other as much as possible. We also provide wonderful adult facilitators to support children to learn most effectively. We keep our class groups small enough for our adult facilitators to have time to develop personal connections with each child. In addition to one main class teacher, at Misty Meadows we have over 15 adults contributing their time each week to support and enrich our children’s learning. That means each child engages with many different adults with a wide range of expertise and perspectives each week at school. This is far more reflective of real-life learning than learning in a class with one adult per 25-30 children. In addition to peers and elders, our school offers a rich and diverse range of curiosity catalysts and themes to encourage and support rich and deep meaning-making, and lots of learning resources and tools. Finally, we are located in a truly beautiful natural environment, which is undoubtedly our school’s greatest teacher.
OUR QUALITY GUARANTEE
As a result of attending Misty Meadows we guarantee that your child will:
Develop and practice 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 his/her authentic self.
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, science experiments, structured inquiries, and 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, 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.
Our primary school consists of three groups, each with their own class teachers: Grades 1 and 2 (Wild horses class), Grades 3 and 4 (Wolf Pack class), Grades 5 and 6 (Wild Dogs class). In addition to these class teachers we have specialist teachers for yoga, martial arts, gardening, personal development and art. Grade 7 forms part of our High School group.
Each day starts with a morning circle from 8-8.30, sometimes just the class, and sometimes the whole school. In circle we share our stories, resolve our grievances, ask and attempt to answer our big questions (Wonder Wednesday), pay our friends compliments (Thoughtful Thursday) and stretch our awareness with mind expanding group games (ATB or Fun Friday).
Programme for Foundation Phase (Grades 1-4)
This is what we call the “learning to read” phase of school. The phase is 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 they might use to succeed in life; including using numbers, communication, teamwork, conflict resolution, self-discipline, self-confidence, etcetera.
During this phase we have 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.
We offer a balanced week, which includes activities to stimulate the mind, body and soul. Our weekly programme includes time in nature, yoga, mixed martial arts, gardening, art, maker space (practical workshop), group activities, mixed age groups, sport, awareness expanding activities and personal development work.
Programme for Grades 5 up
This is the start of 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 practice and refining them while doing things that interest you specifically. We have designed a very rich and exciting programme for these older children which includes explorations in language, maths, science, history, geography and art. This group also does yoga, personal development and teamwork, practical projects and time in nature.
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. Our purpose with the older children is to encourage the development of research and writing skills, critical thinking, communication skills, the application of the scientific method, practical skills, self-awareness and collaborative skills.
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 often 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, or test that everyone is at the same milestones 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 mandatory 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. You may have to supplement their learning to cover specific curriculum required for the high school of your choice, eg. second languages.