Children naturally move towards authentic real-life learning. We know from our own experiences that learning is richer and more authentic when we join learning with real experiences, real tools and objects, in situations that have real purpose and are in context.
This approach breaks through the idea that children learn about the world outside, from the confines of the classroom. It also requires us to take a leap in thinking around education, learning and teaching, such as home education and alternative school settings.
There are very relevant reasons why classroom ideology depends on reconstructed experiences and lessons out of context. The purpose, to provide every child an education, with these 'unauthentic' measures making it possible to teach a large group of children, the same thing, about the world outside - from inside a classroom.
The ideology we choose has an affect on learning and development. By putting education back into the real world, working with children as real people we can take education outside the physical, educational and relationship confines of the classroom; ‘the box’.
Through the total immersion of place-based and project-based learning, learners are engaged with real life situations and environments and offered context and purpose to their work, whether it is reaching out into the community or creating a space from which learning and development unfold.
We provide opportunities for learners to access real-life-learning.
Authentic learning states refer to the internal state of the learner, when at their most ‘absorbent’. The absorbent learner is willing and wanting to learn, and authentic learning states enable learners to take in vast amounts of information, knowledge, and to process and respond to that intake accordingly.
Whether working independently or in groups, the learning state integrates the learners’ inner world with their external world with benefits seen socially and environmentally.
We believe that all children can access and develop authentic learning states when the learning environment is set up to support them to do so. Learners can grow their ability to freely access authentic learning states when they need or want to. This is a skill, it has to be developed internally, and cannot be taught externally.
The external environment plays an important role, and has to be set up to support the development of authentic learning states. When looking at what creates this optimum learning environment, where children can achieve authentic learning states and develop their integrated self-social-eco world, we came up with a very specific recipe.
Authentic learning states can be achieved through safety and a sense of belonging (attachment), stress level management in both physical and emotional forms (self-regulation), freedom of choice and the willing participant (human rights), curiosity and mindset (cognitive-mind connection) and the origin of motivation.
Each of these elements are largely dependent on those who set up, facilitate and hold the learning environment. This is made possible through relationship; how we relate to each other, ourselves and our environment.
Childhood is a time of rapid development. The time in a person’s life where the most physical, cognitive, emotional and social development will occur.
The developmental stages of childhood are a genetically encoded sequence. The sequence refers to the path that development takes throughout childhood. Because development intelligence is ‘built-in’, development is ready to unfold naturally stage-by-stage, at the pace right for the individual.
With neuroscience and detailed research we can map the natural sequence of developmental stages for the brain, motor development, play development and social-emotional mobility.
When we follow naturally paced developmental stages, we see how varied each individual is in their pace. Supporting an individual’s pace and sequence are both important. When developmental stages are rushed or interrupted the nature of the development adjusts to cope rather than building a strong structure for all further learning and well-being to build upon.
We provide an education setting where physical development, neuro-development, emotional development, and the child's own pace of development are all naturally paced and therefore developmentally appropriate.
Every one of us is unique in our interests, what motivates and excites us. We each have our own pace that we do things, develop and learn in.
This combination of interests and pace enables learning to unfold, where the child knows exactly what to do, in the right sequence, and at the right pace - even the youngest children are able to lead their own learning and development. It is in this combination where the learner learns how to learn.
When we follow the interests and pace of the individual, we get an 'active learner'. Learners choose to do what they are interested in, they are caught in the act of learning; their interest pushes their progress at the pace right for them. The pace is important, too slow and the child loses interest, too fast can be damaging to development and mindset.
To meet this unique way of learning in an education setting, we remove the one-size-fits-all approach.
We consider group size and dynamics, allowing for the diversity that each individual brings to a group. Learners actively work side by side, with internal targets and shared group visions.
Education is not the learning of facts, it’s rather the training of the mind to think."
- Albert Einstein