LIFE IN THE CENTER
HUMANIST MOVEMENT of the New School
The ‘New School’ bases itself on the innovative ideas of Rousseau (1712-1778) and Clapadère (1873-1940), and on their interests in the biological and psychological studies of children’s learning processes. It proposes a model in which THE TEACHING-LEARNING PROCESS CENTERS ITSELF ON THE STUDENTS, THEIR INTERESTS AND THEIR UNIQUE INDIVIDUALITY.
The ‘Outdoor School’ learning community is also inspired by various educational models from the 20th and 21st century such as: DEMOCRATIC Schools, ACTIVE Schools, FOREST Schools, REBECA WILD and PESTALOZZI approach, the REGGIO EMILIA approach, FREINET pedagogy, MONTESSORI Schools, WALDORF Schools and some SMALL ALTERNATIVE AND LOCAL PROJECTS.
+ 1 OUTDOOR EXPERIENCE
When we are close to trees, plants, water, stones, moss.. everything seems easier, we feel freer, fresher, and more open to learning.
Its main benefits are, among others: natural development of psychomotor skills, proprioception, improvements in the development of the senses, it is an ideal environment for children and teenagers to evolve significantly in their cognitive and emotional development.
+ 2 THE LEARNING COMMUNITY
We understand that learning community cannot be an isolated and independent element, but should involve everyone and grow as a group.
The pillars of our learning community are: open participation in a horizontal, non-hierarchal manner, share talents, reduced class size, communication and interaction with other learning communities and members of society.
+ 3 INTEGRATED EMOTIONAL EDUCATION
We feel that emotional education cannot be an additional subject, but rather form part of the fundaments of the educational community, being such an important aspect of everyday life.
The seven areas organisational structure, encourage flow state, the training and previous emotional work of the accompanying teachers, the ‘Big Brother Big Sister’ program, as well as specific workshops for all community members.
+ 4 POSITIVE ENVIRONMENT
A positive environment enhances the feeling of well being , self-esteem and development of the students. In this way learning is associated with pleasure and pleasure with learning.
We consider important to take care of physical, psychological and emotional environment.
+ 5 INDIVIDUALITY
Each child / teenager has a totally different physical, psychological and emotional structure, they are unique individuals. This should be attended to and nurtured on a daily basis.
A network of individuals reaches its maximum potential and efficiency when it is made up of healthy, strong and self-assured individuals. The quotation ‘A chain is as strong as its weakest link’ defines perfectly the essence of the individuality principle.
+ 6 COOPERATION
Cooperation is based on synergic, interdependent relations, embracing the concept that the combined value and performance of several individuals will be greater than the sum of the individual parts.
Quotations such as: ‘There is not a more accurate test of the progress of civilization than the progress of the power of cooperation’ (J.S. Mill) describe well the importance of cooperation.
+ 7 DIVERSE AGE GROUPS
The mixing of ages in learning community prepares them for improved integration in their adulthood.
In the learning community, children and teenagers are put into age groups: 3-6 year olds, 7-11 year olds, and 12-16 year olds.
This type of relationship activates the ‘mirror neurons’, the ability to imitate, which we all possess from the moment we are born.
+ 8 EXPERIMENTATION
Experimentation is the basis of life.
According to neuroscience and neuro education, the brain and the body learn together. Movement, the handling of objects, bodily expression and direct experiences stimulate the development of the sensory, motor and learning systems.
With active methodologies we promote experimentation within different areas of knowledge.
+ 9 CURIOSITY
In the Outdoor School Community, we focus on how the children learn and what generates curiosity, motivation and enthusiasm in them.
Human beings are naturally curious: without curiosity there is no emotion, without emotion there is no learning.
Curiosity, motivation and emotions are very closely linked with the learning process.
+ 10 LIVE MATERIALS
To facilitate the learning process we promote direct contact with imaginative and organic materials, allowing for a wide exploration and opening the way to surprising innovations.
We also use materials which develop communication and language, materials for experimentation and materials for exploration of the surrounding environment.
+ 11 FULL PARTICIPATION
Children and teenagers participate in the democratic life of learning community, making decisions about their own learning process and the interactive social and political planning of the community.
We consider the community to be a space where the children and teenagers develop their autonomy. They learn to be active citizens responsible for their own decisions and capable to act as change makers.
+ 12 GLOBAL ASSESSMENT
In global assessment there are no prizes, punishments, or judgments. Labels such as «good» and «bad» are avoided. We promote a love of learning: enhancing the students’ strengths, identifying their weak points and detecting learning opportunities.
The assessment of the students is continuous and the information is talked about with the students throughout the school year.
The pedagogical team makes a report on each of the students. It is important to document what the students do in their school.
+ 13 MULTITALENTED TEAM
If we want to show children and teenagers how society works in all its diversity, we need professionals in different areas, not only professionals in child care and children’s education.
Professionals and enthusiasts in diverse areas are carefully selected to create a multitalented team, representing diverse views of the world.
We view each accompanying adult as a «companion/guide/advisor»who accompanies, guides, advises, motivates and focuses on challenges and accompanies the development of each child/young person in a personalized way.
+ 14 FEEDBACK
We see the learning community as a living organism, in continuous movement, which needs to look at itself, know where it comes from and how to self-regulate.
Feedback is a communication process, which observes its internal dynamics and the overall situation of the community. We use it to shine a light on dynamics and roles, to understand conflicts, to establish synergic communication, use resources efficiently and make decisions.
Twice a year we make a systematic study using the fundamental reference points of checking the orientation and relevance of our work. We also make an evaluation of the main elements of the emotional education model.
* Scientific work registered in the Madrid Intellectual Property Registry, under the name "Outdoor school educational environments" with registration number 16/2021/3500 dated May 21, 2021 and file number 09-RTPI-00168.7 / 2021 Total or partial reproduction is not allowed, unless expressly authorized by the author.