We believe that a flexible rhythm, including academic activities, rest, family, and leisure time, allows children to be more relaxed, more concentrated and thus more disposed to learn.
At Jardin Urbain LC, the schedule of each child is personalised: it is possible to opt for mornings or afternoons only, or for full days. This means that even parents who work full time can offer a flexible education to their children.
This new form of education is beneficial to children because it allows them to discover different subjects, without stress or pressure, guided by experts in the field. They can advance at their own pace. Parents are actively involved in their children’s education, because they are the ones deciding subjects are prioritised, as well as who will be in charge of the different parts of the learning project. Finally, for teachers, flexible shooling is positive because they have the opportunity to work in a warm and welcoming space with support and resources necessary to practice their profession the way they dreamed of.
Self-awareness is at the heart of the learning process for each individual. A good knowledge of our own strengths, interests, needs, and learning styles increases self-confidence, independence, motivation, creativity, and success. This is why we encourage children to develop a belief in their own abilities, and why the activities at our center are lead in such a way that allows the children to make choices. Qualities such as ingenuity, rigour, determination, perseverance, curiosity, and open-mindedness are emphasized.
At Jardin Urbain LC, the group dynamic is centered around collaboration and the recognition and acceptance of every individual’s unique intelligence and character. We want the children to develop a high level of responsibility and social skills. The center is a gathering point, a shared work space and a hub of young people’s social life. This is why we believe it is fundamental to instill healthy group dynamics. Our interventions are based on modeling social behaviour with empathy, cooperation, kindness, and peaceful conflict resolution all within a warm and welcoming environment.
Multi-age and Multi-level
A multi-age class allows children of all talents and aptitudes to interact with eachother in situations that demand high levels of collaboration. These interactions push children to their maximum potential, since they need to recognise the knowledge and expertise of their classmates regardless of age. The older children will tend to model behaviours and master their competencies by teaching the younger ones, and the younger children aspire to the maturity levels of the older ones around them and excel in their areas of interest.
A multi-age class also signifies multi-level. This means that for each activity that goes on in each subject matter the children are progressing from different starting points. These knowledge starting points are not defined by age. For example, a 7-year-old child who is a strong reader is welcome to join a group of 8-year-olds during a reading workshop, and a 9-year-old child who finds reading challenging might also be comfortable in that same workshop. Nobody is made to feel weak or isolated since this type of grouping and regrouping according to level and interest happens over and over during the day. Each child has a chance to lead in their subjects of interest and talent, and to learn from their more advanced classmates in other areas. This reduces competetion, increases participation, allows for authentic learning, and represents the reality of greater society.
Respect for the learning pace of each child is a priority at Jardin Urbain LC. We want the children to always be in their proximal development zone, where the activities are neither too easy nor too hard. The educators are constantly observing the children and are following the true level of competence of each individual. Consequently, the children are inspired to work hard to achieve their goals.
Project Based Learning
PBL encourages children to take initiatives, get organised, and apply their knowledge to the realisation of a unique project that they find motivational. In this approach, the children accomplish tasks that are connected to their real lives and to their community, and by doing so they gain, practice, and master competencies in many fields at once. The challenges they encounter help define their process of reflection and oblige them to search for solutions together.
The role of the educators consists in orienting the children towards the resources they may need, discussing their methadology with them, steering them back on track if they stray, and revisiting with them the knowledge and skills gained along the way. This approach fosters a desire in children to invest energy and time into their own educational process.
At Jardin Urbain LC we want our children to become actively engaged citizens, conscious of environmental issues, and wishing to improve the quality of their surroundings. We want to nourrish their environmental awareness as inhabitants of the planet, and to do so we include values of proactivity in our daily projects. The children learn that they have the power to change things, and we tool them to influence their world. For example, we encourage them to participate in local environmental events, and communicate their worries and desires to governing bodies. The realization that they are part of a continuum of efforts is a beautiful and important step.
The Role of Technology
We believe that it is vital to acquire technological competencies today, such as typing, navigating the World Wide Web, researching and sorting information, using software and tools such as spreadsheets, powerpoint, and applications on a variety of devices. Along with this, there is also Internet safety that is important to learn. These are skills that will open doors for our children their whole lives.
At Jardin Urbain LC, the children have access to computers and the Internet under the supervision of the educators, with the goal of practising the above-mentioned skills within an integrated daily context. Furthermore, as they get older the children will also become aware that they can be creators of technology as well as users. We hope to foster this appreciation through hands-on experience with technology, and open their minds to the world of possibilities that awaits them.