The 7 Values
In order to facilitate learning, the Agile School has chosen what it believes to be the best methods thanks to other democratic schools, such as Sudbury. We have concluded that the following are important:
- Autonomous learning over institutional education
- Cooperation over individual work.
- Intergenerational interactions over age groups
- Autonomy over assistance and instruction
- Adaptability to change over following a set plan
- Equality among children and adults in decision making over decisions being made by adults
- Eco-responsibility and sustainable development over an economy of consumption and growth
There is value in both methods but we have chosen the first values over the second.
The 10 principles
Our first and foremost priority is to enable children to be fulfilled. We nourish their talents in a facilitating environment, at a rhythm that the individual child chooses and in a way that suits the individual child.
- Curiosity: by encouraging a child to be curious, we help the child develop both imagination and creativity. Thus, curiosity enables the child to blossom, to express feelings and thoughts, to understand all the “whys?” Children like asking both simple and complex questions about anything and everything. Neuroscience has identified pleasure and memory zones in the brain, which are activated by curiosity that in turn facilitates learning and improves long-term memory.
- Creativity: Creative learning is effectively encouraged at the Agile school. We open gateways to our imagination through projects and games, as well as through artistic, botanical or culinary activities. We encourage free expression of ideas that can then be developed alone or in a group.
- Agility: Diverse projects to motivate children. We provide the support and environment needed. We trust them to reach their desired goals, using their own initiative to surmount any obstacles and to welcome the unexpected.
- Empathy: We encourage students to express their feelings: explain and listen. Members converse, understand and forgive. This enables children to put themselves in someone else’s shoes and understand what the other may be feeling.
- Autonomy : In a world that is becoming more and more complex and where science, technology and culture are continuously evolving, individuals are confronted by a variety of seemingly endless changes throughout their lives. Examples include: mobile working, perpetual updating of knowledge and skills, adaptability to changing working conditions etc… Therefore the child must develop an ability to adapt and be autonomous, enabling him to succeed and evolve within our ever changing society.
- Self-confidence: the starting point for all as we grow up. Confidence is obtained through our parents and our loved-ones. Being surrounded and encouraged by understanding people a child becomes aware of its own capacities and qualities. Through positive behaviour, the child discovers the strategies it needs to face any given situation and thus to truly build its self-confidence.
- Self-esteem: Good self-esteem creates positive energy that in turn enables a person to be receptive to both the new and the unknown. Difficulties, obstacles and criticism then become easier to accept. We facilitate the process of learning, rather than determining the final result, by respecting the child’s rhythm.
- Cooperation, team spirit: We facilitate activities based on sharing, solidarity and dialogue. The intensive use of games is a catalyser. Playing games that rely on cooperation stimulate project building through team-work.
- Trial and error: Making mistakes is a necessary part of learning and a source of education. An exemplary adult is capable of admitting that he can be wrong or not know the answer. The child receives the message that it is normal not to know everything as nobody is infallible and we all make mistakes; it is honourable and okay to admit that one can be wrong. It can be a joy researching the answer and discovering something new.
- Tolerance: Because the Agile school is a democratic school tolerance is integral. School rules are voted upon and aim to respect each other’s personal freedom. Children quickly learn the rules and use them to gain respect and fair play.