Learning Through Play and Child-Led Learning
Inspired by the Reggio Emilia and Montessori approaches to learning, The Sala allows each child's skills to develop at their own pace with lots of room for exploration, experimentation, and imagination. The child is observed and planning for future activities stems from the child's interests and abilities. There is a focus on the environment, using natural materials and gleaning inspiration from nature as well as hands-on, kinesthetic learning. Play, games, songs, bodily movements and materials from the real world all arouse the child's curiosity for the world around them and prolong their sense of wonder as well as promoting curiosity.
Reading and a love of books is encouraged at The Sala and phonics is introduced as a way to help children to read.
Enquiry Based Learning
This approach starts with a topic that is relevant to the lives of students. Questions that students would like to ask about the topic are raised and in this way the learning is student-led and follows their interests. The investigation / project starts and the teacher acts as a guide to help lead the students to a level of deeper understanding about the topic and the questions they have raised. Along the way, skills are developed in key areas such as Science, Art, Culture and English. Careful planning by the teacher ensures that curriculum areas are balanced and evenly covered over the course of an academic year. To learn more about enquiry based learning (inquiry based in the US), click here.
Whole School Community Collaboration
Because The Sala is small it is possible for all children to effectively collaborate on one project. This enhances life and social skills such as teamwork, leadership, empathy, patience, confidence and community spirit. Everyone is valued despite their age and, together, everyone contributes to something special, for instance, growing vegetables in the organic garden or selling homegrown and homemade goods on a market stall.
All students also embark on meditation and mindfulness practices as well as activities that help to develop emotional skills so every child is better equipped to deal with all that life throws at them on an emotional level. These acquired skills are explored and put to the test during collaborative community projects.
Learning Skills On All Levels
"Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play." Henri Matisse
Matisse's statement summarises the essence of every child and our primary focus is to maintain and enhance all of these qualities by observing, listening and planning according to the interests and needs of the child. Learning is as much about acquiring emotional stability and developing craftsmanship as it is about academic skills: all hold equal value at The Sala.
What we offer:
Student-led, organic, guiding not enforcing.
Establishes life skills as well as academic skills.
Encourages creativity and collaboration.
Creativity and pursuing their own interests is emphasised. Open-ended questioning and tasks encourage students to explore all realms of possibility. Learning is infinite and becomes the start of lifelong learning and curiosity. Discussion based learning and ensuing inquiries (not copying down facts and figures) is at the heart of every day. Real life situations are used as much as possible to contextualise skills and demonstrate why they are worthwhile. Learning takes place outside in a natural environment as much as possible. The basics - literacy and numeracy - are important but are encouraged, not demanded They are valued, not measured and students are allowed to work at their own pace and pursue their own strengths.
Understanding ourselves and others are explored every day as skills. Mindfulness is practiced daily. The science of emotions is made explicit which simultaneously reassures students about themselves and their feelings, while giving them the means to become more objective about the powerful and uncontrollable surges of emotions that they sometimes experience.
This is a natural extension of Self-Development as the definition of humanity is 'human beings collectively'. Our curious and compassionate nature is recognised and celebrated in community projects, environmental awareness and praising diversity. Above all, students recognise all that is wonderful about the world around them and explore how they can make the world a better place.
This is also a natural extension of Self-Development as students spend time each week caught up in the sensory experience of food: taking time to cultivate, prepare and eat food in a thoughtful manner. They learn about the importance of food for the body as medicine while also having fun and getting creative during the process.