The Kindergartens and Elementary Schools The Campaschools are institutions with alternative pedagogy. They are open 4 days a week: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and closed during the school holidays.
In order to respond individually to the needs of each child and to conform to the pace of development of each, a return is possible throughout the year.
The young child who acts by mimicry, has facilities in terms of language learning. That’s why our school is bilingual French / English. Listening, talking, living in immersion greatly facilitates learning that becomes natural. Especially before 7 years old, the child has great brain plasticity, its neural circuits are just waiting to be stimulated. Before this age, languages are integrated as the mother tongue, especially if the child lives in immersion. The sooner a second language is introduced the easier its assimilation will be. The child who assimilates a second language will have a certain openness to the world, will develop an interest in the culture of the spoken language.
Immersion in one language means that it must be spoken enough around the child; also, educators speak to children in French and English. Children quickly integrate as the professional speaks to them in another language and, imbibe vocabulary. Quickly, they can respond to the person with phrases formulated in English.
Our school is inspired by several pedagogies: Montessori, Freinet …
• Montessori predominance with inter-age group functioning from 3 years to 6 years in a calm, relaxing and family atmosphere. Based on the absorbent mind of the child, how the child adapts to his environment. Maria Montessori says that “the child absorbs the world around him”: smells, noises, sounds.
Cooperation, communication, experimental trial and error are the main words of kindergarten. A great place is left to free and creative expression. Children are autonomous and are free to choose their activities and workshops.
The child is characterized by four basic needs:
These needs are at the heart of our pedagogy. The child needs to be free to be happy, the freedom for the child is to be able to choose what he wants to do and sometimes also to choose to do nothing. The child, by choosing his activities according to his interests, integrates the skills more easily because he selects his activities according to his sensitive periods.
“Sensitive periods” are periods of the child’s life during which he is particularly sensitive to certain learning, activities (movements, language, sensory perception, social development, order, small objects). He is passionate about activities and develops specific skills at this time. The role of the educator is to observe the child to offer workshops related to his sensitive period. When the period has passed, the child’s sensitivity to this area decreases as does his natural ability to learn. The learning will be then without enthusiasm, will be longer and more difficult. The right time to learn is not planned on a schedule or a program but is guided by the child himself.
• An inspiration from Freinet pedagogy: Based on free expression and creativity. In order to allow the children to open themselves to the world around them, six outings of artistic type (music, theater, show …), cultural (museum, exhibitions, media library …). are organized every year.
The child who enters the atmosphere of 6-12 years has gone from “an absorbing spirit” to “an understanding spirit”. He has moved from an area of experience to the realm of thought: he becomes a social being. Before, he was exploring his own environment; henceforth he goes to meet the universe where the sense of mutual aid and the culture of justice are developing.
In this sense our school favors work in small groups, exchanges, the realization of presentations between children so that each one of them gains in insurance, and that their curiosity on the world around them continues to grow. The different poles of learning (mathematics, languages, history, geography) are established according to this model of questioning, research and exchange.
Part of the morning and afternoon, is dedicated to individual work in workshops on the choice of the child.
As a first step, the educators present the workshops individually, stating the name of the workshop and its purpose. Then explicitly, without words, and breaking up the gestures. This way of presentation allows children to stay focused and to be able to memorize the right gestures and understand the purpose.
Children can only use the workshops that have been presented before and as many times as they wish. The children will pick up the tray of the chosen workshop and they have already had the individual presentation on the shelves.
Some workshops, by their objective and their progress, require another mode of presentation: the lesson in three stages. It takes place in several stages that can last for several weeks. It allows the child to know and memorize the exact vocabulary of what he manipulates.
• The first time allows the educator to make a detailed description of the lesson to the child “this is …”,
• The second time takes a detailed description and the educator asks the child “show me …”,
• The third time the educator takes the second step then asks the child “what is this? …”
A silent atmosphere is essential for maintaining the child’s concentration and learning.
The child has the choice to settle around a small desk or on a carpet. This space is his own and means that the child has a place distinct from others and that no one can integrate his space without his permission. The carpet is his carpet for the day, he will rank it at the end of the day. If another child wants to join him he can refuse or accept, to make a presentation himself. There is a law in the class “I can do what I want without disturbing others”.
An ellipse drawn in white on the floor in the room allows children to walk on a curved line and focus on themselves, to unite their body and mind. Children can simply walk on this ellipse, or walk on this line holding a tray with their hands or on their head to test their dexterity, they can also use different steps (not hunted, in reverse, on one foot).
Collective times, in which children are free to participate or not, are offered: visual arts, music, reading, cooking, speaking, …. These times are offered implicitly, rarely in a direct way; an educator settles in and starts the activity, children who wish can join him.
Even if the learning method is different from that found in national education, the child acquires the same school knowledge defined in the common core. Instruction being compulsory from 6 years, the legislator provides a common core of learning. It is a set of knowledge, skills that must be mastered by any child at the end of primary school; whatever school is attended.
Each child has a work guide which is established in respect of the common core allowing him to orient himself in his learning and to be able to observe its evolution. This guide is composed of worksheets, lessons which are then validated by a follow-up control of the knowledge. Monitoring is therefore individual since it is based on each child’s work guide.
The child can work alone or in a group. The different Montessori workshops can be presented individually as before or in small groups. Once a workshop is presented the child can use it as many times as he wants, alone or in a group.
From 6 years the child seeks to enrich his social life, to meet the Other. This is why the work of groups, the setting up of presentations on a theme chosen in consultation, are valued.
The mixed age group promotes mutual help between children, mutual respect, constructive exchanges. A cooperative environment is set up and not competitive.
The meals are taken together, with the children of the atmosphere 3-6 years, to ensure a warm atmosphere. Children are asked to participate in the training of the table, the service, the cleaning of the dining area. The fact that the children help to maintain the different clean and well-ordered spaces allows them to have a better mastery of themselves, to have the sense of responsibility, of the co-responsibility and to be more autonomous. Children are being brought to the attention of reducing waste and sorting it out. The notions of respect are present both in the interactions of each, but also in the care of the environment …
Class life is punctuated by the four seasons, manual activities are important with natural materials.
Between 6 and 12 years old the child is built by feeling part of a group. At these ages they like to meet in small groups to discuss their experiences, knowledge and discoveries. The lessons are given in small groups which promotes exchanges between children in both languages. Children are not in a configuration of learning two languages but learning in two languages. The role of educators is to ensure daily that one language is not neglected for the benefit of the other.
Before 7 years the acquisition of another language is done in a natural way, without requiring learning or formal courses. The child who joined the school Campaschools in atmosphere 3-6 years old is used to being immersed in two languages, to be questioned in them. The plasticity of his brain allowed him to integrate the mechanism of the two languages. In the atmosphere of 6-9 years, he will improve his fluency of speech, garner more vocabulary and move to grammar.
When a child over 7 arrives in a bilingual environment he is no longer in a position to learn to speak but in a position where he is learning a new language that is foreign to him. As her linguistic background in her mother tongue is important, the acquisition of a new language is no longer intuitive as with the youngest children, but through learning encouraged by immersion.
From 7 years, the child is able to associate a language and its culture. Providing immersion in a bilingual environment where two cultures evolve leads the child to assimilate the fact that cultures and languages different from his own can exist and evolve in the same space. The difference becomes gradually familiar, his curiosity leads him to open to others. He perceives the world from different perspectives.
Up to 9 years, the child’s brain remains malleable enough. The child still enjoys a spontaneous curiosity that allows him to assimilate a new language without much difficulty. The child who integrates a new environment needs to be immersed in it, to go through different stages such as gesture communication, then telegraphic sentences before arriving at structured sentences.
We focus on the real material, of everyday life, to promote and encourage the interest of children in their everyday life, in their culture. These real objects have a double appeal: they are interesting because known and recognized by all and they allow to control the error: for example the plastic dinette does not break, it is therefore useless for the children to pay attention, to control their gestures unlike a glass that could break if the child does not control his gesture.
The furniture is up to child height: the shelves are low, the library is low in order to facilitate access to all workshops. Each workshop is presented on a wooden tray. The workshops are arranged in a specific order, on shelves, in the living room: children need order outside to tidy up “inside” The living room has a few places seated by four or individual. Children can also choose to sit on the floor, on a carpet, a position in which they are naturally more comfortable.
Approximately six outings or outpatient interventions are organized per year (eg MISA massage); they are aimed at a specific goal, in line with the interests of children and their need to discover the world.
c1) The equipment for the atmosphere 3-6 years :
The sleeping area is accessible to children throughout the day. Its free access allows children to get there as soon as they feel the need to sleep, rest, or get away from the community.
From a cognitive point of view, it is not possible to learn two things at the same time, that is why each material has a single function to allow children to focus on a single gesture, a single learning . For example, sorting games are either of the same shape and in several colors, or sorting games from the largest to the smallest of a single color.
The teaching material is mainly wood, less structured, to allow the imagination to grow, to unfold. Each material is present in a single copy to allow the child to self-discipline, share, respect the other and his work. It is a specific material that allows you to practice individually the acquisition of this or that skill; it is made available to children. The child is invited to choose an activity that the adult has previously presented to him individually, the child is free to perform as many times as he wishes.
All the material is stored on shelves, up to the height of the children. It is arranged in a precise order, chronological, respecting a progression according to the evolution of the capacities of the children.
The material must meet precise rules of aesthetics and proportions; a large part of the material must be made by the adult. All materials must be present from the first day of school.
There are different types of material:
a) Primary material:
Imitation is one of the child’s greatest needs.
These activities allow the child to improve his coordination. He learns to be attentive and takes good work habits by finishing each spot and storing all his material before starting another activity.
c) Sensory material
This material allows the child to distinguish, classify and associate colors, weights, shapes, textures, sounds or odors, …
d) Materials for mathematics
The learning of mathematics is done with concrete material allowing the child to access arithmetic notions.
e) Language Equipment
The child must learn the shape of the letters and their corresponding sound and must develop the muscular aptitude necessary for the use of the pencil. The child learns by following the letters with his finger before writing them
f) Materials for geography
g) Materials for botany
Explored essentially through puzzles. The children are then more observant of the plants’ details.
h) Equipment for zoology
In the elementary atmosphere, the child will be detached from the material to enter the abstraction. He will explore for himself the tracks he chose. He apprehends reality in a more conceptual way.
To discover the world around him, new scientific objects are available: microscope, magnifying glasses …
All learning does not just go through the material. The contact with nature has an important place. Children have the opportunity to grow a small vegetable garden. The place of animals is also essential and gives children a responsibility.
“The child asks us to help him act alone” said Maria MONTESSORI. The child needs freedom of action, movement. This freedom is only possible within a specific framework.
Between the ages of 6 and 12, the autonomy, independence and sense of responsibility of the child grow. The organized space of the atmosphere helps him to gain self-confidence and to put in place his new skills.
In order for the child to become aware of his person and his abilities, the adult must adapt the environment. All that can be used by the child must be accessible to him, the furniture must be adapted and the circulation between the different spaces is allowed to him and must be secured.
The human being is above all a social being, his brain needs the other to develop. We promote exchanges so that children are attentive to themselves and others, that they achieve to manage their emotions and their conflicts alone, that they take pleasure in passing on their knowledge to each other. From the age of 6, the child is decentered from himself to turn towards others and the world around him. Maria Montessori said he becomes “a social newborn”.
In order to foster cooperation, mutual aid and communication, we encourage the expression of the feelings and needs of each person. For example, we do not encourage them to ask a friend for “forgiveness” during a misunderstanding, but to listen to the emotion of the other person, to exchange with him in order to understand each other. The school is not only part of a process of learnings and knowledges procurement; learning about community life is also a goal. It is organized within the class as a “mini society” where everyone will take a role and responsibilities. We promote exchanges so that children are attentive to themselves and others, that they achieve to manage their emotions and their conflicts alone, that they take pleasure in passing on their knowledge to each other.
From 6 years old the child who takes an active place in his society, learns little by little to work in group. He exchanged a lot with his peer group by asserting himself and defending his own ideas as his critical spirit developed. It is a favorable period to the sense of justice, to the notions of good and evil that he refines according to his experiences and his opinion of it. The debates between children are an instructive source, their intellectual development provide them to argue their opinions based on the real experiences that surround them. The civic sense develops, the greatest help spontaneously the smallest and enjoy sharing their achievements, the smallest are stimulated and encouraged to move forward: the class is a real place of emancipation and mutual aid.
Adults adopt caring communication in a various and caring environment that welcomes the child in his individuality with children of different ages. The older children spontaneously help the little ones and enjoy sharing their experiences, the little ones are stimulated and encouraged to move forward: the classroom is a real place of emancipation and mutual aid.
The child goes through sensitive periods during which his brain is particularly receptive to certain learning. Every child is progressing at their own pace. The adult presents to him individually the activities related to his skills, his interests. For this the adult clearly explains the purpose of the activity, in fact the demonstration to the child who then reproduces the good gestures. The adult has an exemplary position since his attitudes prepare and condition those of children. As the purpose of the activity is clearly stated, the child is able to review his strategy in case of error. The child then learns for pleasure and not to please the adult.
Each learning becomes a discovery that gives the child a sense of self satisfaction.
All learning goes through manipulation, touch. Thus children have access to mathematics through the manipulation of abacus, table Seguin, pearls. The entry into the reading is made from real situations (which is written on food labels for example) and manipulation with different Montessori workshops. Botany, zoology are approached through the different outputs. The objective of the various manipulations being subsequently to rely on a mental image to be able to go from concrete to abstract. The child acquires knowledge in a logical way, for example, he can read before knowing how to write.
The interest of the children for this or that subject is encouraged by the educators who give material to his interest: frequent book borrowing at the media library, outings. It is important for our school to give meaning to knowledge, to continually learn about himself, to enrich himself with different external educational and pedagogical practices, to put into practice advances in the knowledge of the human brain thanks to advances in neuroscience.
Maria Montessori spoke of “cosmic education” this term does not designate a religious contribution but relates the place of man in the cosmos, society. This education meets the need of 6-12 years old to use their imagination to understand and assimilate reality.
The five great lessons of Maria Montessori allow the child to have a global and coherent vision of the universe, civilizations, discoveries and inventions of men. They are presented to children in the form of stories, fables and concrete experiences. The participation of children remains active and the educator presents the lessons according to the questioning of the children. Children can also group together in small groups to gather information together to make their own presentations. Encyclopedias and dictionary are at their disposal.
Through “great lessons”, the child approaches the items defined in the common core. The first big lesson is: the story of the creation of the universe and our own planet. It includes notions of astronomy, meteorology, chemistry, physics, geology and geography.
The second big lesson is the story of the evolution of life on earth. This lesson includes topics such as biology, botany, different types of habitats, animals, use of a timeline.
The third great lesson is the story of the appearance of man on earth. This lesson includes notions of history, culture, evolution of societies, inventions and great discoveries of men.
The fourth great lesson is the story of the invention and evolution of communication systems and communication symbols. Subjects such as reading, writing, language and grammar are discussed.
The fifth great lesson is the story of the evolution of the scientific spirit of the human being. This lesson represents mathematics, numbers, geometry.
These great lessons allow the child to organize his knowledge, to understand it, to find answers to his questions, and also to develop the child’s imagination.
In order to guarantee a serene and friendly atmosphere, parents are asked to collaborate with the school. Educational workshops for parents are offered during the year. They allow educators to explain to parents what Montessori pedagogy is, to present workshops, to address topics such as “the autonomy of the child at home”, “the place of the child”. “Cosmic education”.
Although the class is the place of life of children, a gradual return is offered to families so that adults and children make their mark: a first visit will take place with parents the first day, the second day a time of 1 or 2 hours with the parents in the class.
For 3-6 years environment, the return of children can be done throughout the year, which allows children not to be under pressure to acquire the cleanliness.
Festive times for the end of year celebrations, the end of the year is organized with the children and their parents. The educational team remains available for parents, listening to them and accompanying them in their desire to learn: setting up a family information library with books on Montessori pedagogies, Freinet, or documents on non-violent communication , the free choice …
In order for the pedagogy put in place within the school to be meaningful, it is essential that families integrate the basics into their daily lives. The first fundamental principles to be adopted are respect for the child’s autonomy and participation in daily life. These principles can be manifested in the following way: participate in the preparation of meals, put the table and serve the table, allow the child to serve alone in the dishes. The period of 6-12 years is the period where the child asks a lot of questions, so it is important to access his curiosity and feed it through research, visits. It is more constructive for the child to be accompanied in his research than to have immediate answers from the adult. If parents are in difficulty to answer certain questions, the educators will be able to take over or suggest ways to parents.
Educators are professionals who can come from different backgrounds: school teacher, early childhood educator, psychologist. They have in-depth knowledge of Montessori pedagogy and master the use of material. Bilingualism is also required.
Through careful observation, the educator is a guide in the service of the child: he / she targets the specific needs of each child and provides an appropriate response at the time he deems most appropriate. The educator trusts each child and respects his rhythm, his choice, his center of interest. The adult encourages the child to do for himself what he is able or susceptible to do <alone, accompanying him, without ever doing in his place and gradually fading away. He shows him that he believes in his abilities, he does not correct or judge a job. He has an active listening, he asks the child to express his feelings about the success or failure of activities.
They must have an exemplary behavior and attitude (language, attitude, knowing how to be). Educators must be free of mind and fully available to children.
When the child returns to schooling provided by national education, the child will have to pass a knowledge test in order to be able to assess his level and integrate him into a class appropriate to his development. “This pass” will be made in connection with the Campaschools educational team and the future school or college concerned.