You’ve heard the phrase “children are sponges, just waiting to soak up information” right? Well, there’s so much more to it than that, and that’s what I mean by the “Whole Child” approach to teaching. We want to encompass not just a child’s mental capacity (the sponge), but their physical and spiritual capacities as well – everything that makes us all “whole”. At Shady Oak Primary School, I want our children to head into middle school with more than just a collection of information they’ve learned. I want them to know how to learn, what drives them to learn, and how to look inside themselves to feel fulfilled. So how do we do that?
-Children need to keep moving to stay engaged, and one way we address that is through outdoor activities. We have an award-winning natural habitat playground, an Adventure Playscape created out of natural materials that plays a huge role in meeting this developmental need. We spend a minimum of an hour and a half outside every day – we eat outside, take recess outside, and hold classes outside as much as possible while the weather cooperates. We encourage our students to explore their potential in a safe and empowering environment, which leads to increased results in less time.
-We have a smaller class size (about a 10:1 student to teacher ratio). This means our teachers are better able to discover a child’s individual learning styles, and adjust to accommodate how they learn best.
-We encourage support and cooperation from parents, and other family members, through volunteering at the school. This ensures we are creating an environment where children can reach their full potential. When children see their parents engaged in their education, they soar!
-We believe we are preparing children for success in life. So we have a heavy emphasis on making good choices, not for rewards, but for the intrinsic value of “doing the right thing”. Working toward self-regulation is key to being successful in our program.
-On a regular basis, we have a feast and kids are split into four groups to help contribute to the feast. One group prepares the meal, one sets the table, one serves the food, and one cleans the table. It’s another way we are actively teaching kids how to exist in society, instead of just hoping they learn it through osmosis!
I’d love to take you on tour of Shady Oak Primary School. Reach out any time at Debbie@setthemupforsuccess.com.