Sesam Day School is a place where the gifts of individuals are recognized, appreciated and given room to grow.
|Corrientes pedagógicas||Educación Activa, Educación Libre|
|Cantidad de participantes||0|
|Nivel educativo y etario||Pre-escolar / Inicial, Primario / Básico, Secundario / Medio|
|Tipo de gestión||Privada|
|Tipo de educación||Formal|
|¿Tiene fines de lucro?||Si|
|¿Es un proyecto virtual o en línea?||No|
Pre-school (ages 3-6), primary school and secondary school students at Sesam learn to take responsibility for determining their own learning process and success. They also learn to act respectfully in their relationships with other people, with their learning materials and in their environment generally.
Long term studies have shown that a variability of plus/minus of one to two years in any aspect of a primary school child’s physical, emotional and mental development is absolutely normal. In lower secondary school the normal variability in any aspect of the young person’s development is even greater, or plus / minus three years. That means that in any class of perfectly normal 10 year olds, in mathematics, some children will be at a developmental level corresponding to 8 year olds some will be at a developmental level of 12 year olds. The same goes for reading and writing skills and also for the development of the different areas of social competence. For this reason, learning at Sesam is highly individualized, adapted to the actual momentary stage of development of each child in each area of competence. Every child is different!
Students at Sesam take full responsibility for their learning progress from the first moment on; they set goals and commit to succeed in reaching those goals. Success and lack of success in regard to the goals the students set for themselves is discussed regularly with school coaches and mentors. Students develop the ability to evaluate their own learning strategies and to continually develop new ones. Through the exercise of free choice and their commitment to success, students learn Integrity. Integrity, as it is defined at Sesam, means simply ‘to keep one’s word’. In other words: If I say I will do something, I do it. Or the moment I realize that I’m not going to do it, I say that, too, and clean up the mess I create with those counting on me to do what I said I would do. Besides intellectual capabilities the structure of learning at Sesam promotes the development of the ability to make choices, to take responsibility for the choices one makes, and to practice being in integrity – all capabilities that are keys to successful living, being the source one’s future.
The Experience of Competence
One of the highest aims at Sesam is to provide young people with the opportunity to grow in the sense of their own competence. This is only possible when the challenges the learners face are in alignment with their present level of development and skill – when the level of demands placed on the learner match their level of ability to meet those demands. When children are allowed to choose what they want to learn, in which way and with whom, they tend to automatically set their challenge level correctly. In the primary school this happens when children choose activities and materials, and in the secondary school when they choose modules and levels of difficulty. Students can always also create their very own individual learning projects (activities and modules) in any area of learning and competence they are interested in. They often offer learning opportunities to other students in their own areas of expertise, and, in this way, experience a second important aspect of competence: what we call ‘the very useful experience of being useful’. Students also experience this form of competence when they cook lunch for the whole school (weekly), do their cleaning jobs (daily), and – in the secondary school – take part in a social work project (every year). Matters of importance that concern everyone are discussed by all and solutions found in consensus. Such matters can pertain to the way the school rooms are arranged, ideas for group projects, excursions and rules for day-to-day life together as a learning community. The young people get constant practice in the arts of self expression and negotiation and grow in the competence gained from knowing that they can make a difference in their environment.
Recent research has established that the higher the intelligence of a species, the more time the species spends in play. It is primarily in free play that children learn important skills such as: impulse control, social awareness, flexibility and fairness. Even altruism has been shown to have its roots in a sufficient experience of free play. Play is crucial in the development of innovation and creativity. It is in play that human beings explore and extend the boundaries of what is possible. At Sesam young people are given a lot of room for play and the discovery of their own passions. Many of them discover a talent (defined as ‘the will to practice’) for music, theater, art or sport. For this reason individualised learning and development is at the top of our list. Maria Montessori recognized as early as 1903 that each child has ‘sensitive’ phases in which specific things are learned more easily than at other times. During these phases the child also learns those things with a high degree of motivation and pleasure: Our job is to observe the child carefully, to notice when he or she shows interest in a particular area of learning and to make sure that everything at their disposal in order to be able to learn efficiently and independently. At Sesam children spend a large part of each learning day doing activities they choose for themselves and working in the social situations that best suit their style of learning: alone, with a partner or in a group. Each day activities are offered by the teacher in which the children can choose to participate. A child who chooses not to take part may continue quietly with his or her own project. This structure promotes not only intellectual development but also important social skills and skills in self-management; students learn to be considerate of others, to organize their own work and time and to make responsible decisions.
Prácticas y acciones principales
In the primary school, children choose daily from a large offering of different learning activities and Montessori-based materials to promote development of their language and number skills. Their learning is self-directed, self-paced and therefore effective and sustainable. In order to accommodate for the plus / minus three year variability in the secondary school, there are no grades or classes at Sesam. Young people choose every six weeks – with the assistance of their learning coach – from among a diverse offering of self-contained modules in different subject areas. The learning groups (module participants) are thus mixed in terms of age and each module also provides learning opportunities at varying levels of difficulty: basic, standard and expert. The young people choose for themselves the level of difficulty they want to complete each module.