- open environment - An open environment is not the same as an enriched one: being open does not mean providing more stimuli. Rather, open environments are those in which the child gets to be the author and the medium is open to interpretation.
- flexible tools – Part of being open is being flexible. A crayon can be used for drawing anything, but it can also be melted and re-sculpted into something completely different.
- modifiable rules – Our children, generally speaking, have gotten really good at following rules, but where will they learn that sometimes it’s best to break them? We can show them how and encourage them when they do it.
- superpowers…the physical and mental skills that we develop to adapt and thrive in a complex world while exploring the creative opportunities made possible by global progress. Fundamentally, they are skills reframed as a type of power within the realm of human possibility and reach. Superpowers are the catalysts that maximize the benefits of the other three foundational pillars.
“Simplicity is an acquired taste. Mankind, left free, instinctively complicates life.”
Katherine Gerould (1879 – 1944)
In our efforts to live the ‘good life’, we can easily find ourselves overwhelmed by seemingly endless choices, decisions and activities.
Here are a few ways to help slow down, and give ourselves time to remember who we are and what’s really important in our lives.
And as we simplify, the environment also benefits. READ MORE at EarthEasy.com…
|© 2014 This information is intended for the families and students of TKG. We love our families!|
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: TKG Office
Phone: 310.728 9337
Date: July 3, 2013
The Knowing Garden Community Elementary School Grows in Redondo Beach, CA
Set to Begin Third Year of Operation – Now Enrolling Ages 5 to 9
Redondo Beach, CA – The Knowing Garden, a local community school that is part of the movement to revolutionize elementary education, is adding a second classroom and more students beginning this Fall. Magdalena Garcia will join The Knowing Garden (TKG) as the teacher for the students ages 7 to 9. The not-for-profit school first opened, with 4 students, in the Fall of 2011. In the second year of operation, the school doubled enrollment; and going in to the third year of operation, school management projects that it will double enrollment once again. In order to support 18 students and parent volunteers, the community will employ two full-time teachers and 2 part-time teachers — up from one teacher in the first year. School business is managed by a community Board of Directors that includes finance, marketing, health and management professionals from diverse backgrounds.
The heart of the second and newest classroom is Magdalena Garcia . She will be teaching and learning with students ages 7 to 9 in a separate classroom that is currently undergoing refreshing and furnishing. Magdalena is a UC Santa Cruz alum with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology as well as a UCLA graduate with a Master’s degree in education. She has been an elementary school teacher for the last 12 years. In addition to being a classroom teacher, she has also been a teacher coach and mentor teacher. She has served as an educational consultant for the Natural history museum helping to create project-based, art infused resources to support museum exhibits. Magdalena strives to create connection with children through listening and playing and is always looking for an opportunity for collaboration and learning with adults and children alike. Magdalena is the mom to a six year old daughter.
Magdalena shared, “When I was studying to be a teacher I took sociology, human development and child psychology. When I became a teacher I referenced the theories of social justice, transformative pedagogy and constructivism. When I was pregnant, I studied how to attach, respect, listen and play. But now that our daughter is 6, all of the theories I studied and tried to implement are no longer theories. Watching a human grow in front of my eyes makes all the ideas real. I knew that she needed a school where she could develop, thrive and connect. A place where theories become real. The Knowing Garden is this place for our family and I am so excited to be a part of its growth.”
Michelle Goldbach-Johnson, teaching and learning with the 5 to 7 classroom, will return for her third year at The Knowing Garden. Michelle has developed and led the school, in collaboration with Magdalena, since the beginning and continues to be an advocate for children’s rights. Yvette Fenton and Samantha Moshiri are also dedicated teachers that call TKG home.
TKG, currently located at St.Andrew’s Church in Redondo Beach, recognizes that children are natural learners and respects students’ rights to collaboration, choice and play. The school is committed to providing an environment that inspires joy of learning, nurtures relationships and embraces learning through play and nature. Integrating constructivist theory, brain science research and social/emotional development, the school invests in students’ inherent and emerging knowledge to support their practice of engaging discovery with critical thinking. The learning opportunities are project-rich, enhanced by self-directed learning and real-life experiences. With credentialed teachers, parent participation and adult to student ratios of 1 to 4, the curriculum emerges in partnership with students and families. Also, as part of the curriculum, students and teachers meet and connect with nature – at local parks, trails, the beach – one day each week.
TKG does not participate in STAR (Standardized Testing and Reporting) testing to measure growth. It does not offer letter or peer-comparison evaluation or grades. As a way to document growth, students keep portfolios and meet with teachers to create an understanding of their learning progress. Teachers offer narratives and documentation of student evolution via meetings with parents to communicate learning and progress. As a way to connect home and school as well as support families, parents receive weekly documentation of classroom learning as well as relevant parenting and educational resources. In addition, the whole parenting and teaching community comes together at monthly meetings filled with resources and community reflection. TKG places an emphasis on social-emotional learning and the “soft skills” that will prepare students to be critical thinkers who are lifelong learners and active contributors to the global community.
For additional information, visit www.KnowingGarden.org, email info(at)KnowingGarden(dot)org or call 310 728 9337. TKG is enrolling students ages 5 to 9. Interested families are invited to contact TKG for information on an upcoming community meet-up.
Standardized Test Boycotts, Protests Gain Momentum Around U.S.
The Huffington Post | By Tyler Kingkade
High school students and teachers in cities around the U.S. have decided they hate standardized tests so much, they’re just not going to take them, according to news reports.
At Garfield High School — the Seattle, Wash., alma mater of Jimi Hendrix, rapper Macklemore and Quincy Jones — teachers voted unanimously to “refuse to administer the Measures of Academic Progress, or MAP, test on ethical and professional grounds.” In an op-ed explaining the decision, history teacher Jesse Hagopian made the case that students already face enough standardized tests, and his pupils view the MAP test less seriously because “their scores don’t factor into their grades or graduation status.”
“We at Garfield are not against accountability or demonstrating student progress,” Hagopian wrote. “We do insist on a form of assessment relevant to what we’re teaching in the classroom.”
The Times also reports that Garfield teachers had the support of the PTSA, and many parents chose to opt their children out of the tests or keep them home when administrators forced the school to administer the tests.
Meanwhile, high school students in Portland, Ore., launched an opt-out campaign against a series of state-mandated standardized tests called the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, according to U.S. News & World Report.
These students and teachers are adopting a tactic from the National Opt Out Day movement, which started last year when No Child Left Behind turned 10 years old. NCLB mandated standardized testing of students, and has often been criticized for creating a culture of “teaching to the tests.”
That was among the reasons cited by Portland Student Union member Alexia Garcia to the Washington Post in describing why they had organized in Portland.
Oringinally Posted on: 02/20/2013 READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE at The Huff Post
“Schools as we know them are obsolete.”
That’s the bold assertion of Sugata Mitra, who has been spending many years exploring how young people teach themselves (and each other) without a “teacher” and whose focus is on “What is going to be the future of learning?”
Mitra begins his talk by looking at where the kind of learning we currently do in schools came from. His answer: the British Empire.
He outlines how the Victorians very successfully created a global computer out of people: “It’s called the bureaucratic administrative machine. In order to have that machine running, you need to have lots and lots of people. They made another machine to produce those people. It’s called ‘the school.’ The schools would produce the people who would then become parts of bureaucratic administrative machine.”
Mitra says that we are “continuously producing identical people for a machine that no longer exists.”
|© 2012 This information is intended for the families and students of TKG. We love our families!|