Key Tenets - Cuarto Creciente International School
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Key Tenets

ADAPTATION PERIOD

We are aware that for the child who sets foot in our space for the first time, we are a group of strangers in an unknown place. That is why we suggest a period of actual adaptation: the attachment figures of the child are allowed to be present in the classrooms as long as necessary. Consequently, children accompanied by their mother, father, grandmother, or any adult they have as a reference will gradually bond with the new space and companions, feeling safe and without anxiety. A peaceful transition that turns the new space into a place where they feel valued and their emotional and cognitive needs are being satisfied, a place where they love to be.

SELF-REGULATED SPHINCTER CONTROL

We are fully aware that sphincter control is a process that cannot be learned and, therefore, must not be forced, since it is a process of mere neuromuscular maturation. Sphincter control is a crucial issue for children’s psycho-affective development and it must always be approached with respect for the child’s self-regulation. Therefore, in our space diapers are welcome and there is a person who takes care of changing children’s diapers when they need it.

FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT

In Cuarto Creciente International School children have full freedom of movement, a basic need for children at this stage from three to seven years, just as Piaget established. Children in this age group are in the stage of EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING (Pre-operational stage) that will lead to a powerful stage of Intellectual Learning, starting at age 7 (Concrete operational stage). Likewise, they are free to choose the activity they wish to do, that is, the one for which their brain demands knowledge at a given time, attending to the Sensitive Period in which they are, just as Maria Montessori explains.

RESPECT FOR INDIVIDUALITY

Every child is unique and consequently one of the main tasks of the guides in Cuarto Creciente International School is to observe the children in their full complexity, in order to get to know and guide each of them in the most suitable way. We do not want to change them so that they are all alike according to arbitrary parameters. Our mission is to preserve their essence, let them be themselves and develop their innate potential, as Howard Gardner points out. Children must be the active subjects of their own learning and have to do it in their own way, always with our respectful accompaniment.

RESPECT FOR FEELINGS

Another central aspect in our school is the respect for feelings. We know that all feelings are necessary, they are the symptom that tells us that something is happening: feelings are something to be expressed, never hidden. In our space the expression of any type of feeling is respected and children will be attended whenever they need to cry or feel sad or angry. We know that every feeling is valid and when the emotion is accepted by listening and not denying it, we do not bottle it up and let it flow.

COOPERATION RATHER THAN COMPETITION

Cuarto Creciente International School strongly believes in encouraging cooperation among children and not competitiveness. As a matter of fact, the biological origin of life lies in cooperation: cells joining together to form organs, organs cooperating with each other to form organic systems, systems cooperating to form the different animal and plant species. The history of human survival is also connected to cooperation: hominids organizing a group to hunt an animal that is larger and fiercer than them, harvesting in groups to avoid predator attacks, rearing children as a tribe to take care of each other. What makes us great, the secret to succeed, is to cooperate. Others boost our abilities in a sum of intelligences.

NO PRIZES OR PUNISHMENTS

There are no prizes, nor punishments in Cuarto Creciente International School. We believe prizes and punishments are two sides of the same coin, which generate mental schemes that drive children to act only for external motivations. The child focuses on the prize or on how to avoid punishment, therefore, the center of attention is no longer true learning and ethical thinking is blocked. It is necessary to adopt a suitable teaching method that strengthens children’s intrinsic motivation, respects and trusts them to develop empathy.

NO HOMEWORK OR EXAMS

As mentioned before, children up to 7 years need to move and explore in order to learn. So, when they leave school, they need to continue playing and exploring, they must learn through experience. Homework kills the desire to learn. If children are forced to perform repetitive tasks, they run out of time to continue their games, i.e., their true way of learning at this stage. It has been clearly shown that exams are not an imperative, if the right teaching method is adopted. Exams imply a system based on grades and not on the intrinsic desire to learn. There is a huge difference between a student whose goal is to get a good grade and another whose goal is to solve a problem or learn a new concept. Research reveals that when children are encouraged to get better grades, three things happen: they lose interest in learning by themselves, try to avoid complicated or challenging tasks and are less likely to develop a deep and critical thinking. Thanks to continuous evaluation through personalized observation we are aware of children’s evolution and their constant acquisition of knowledge and skills. That way families will be continuously informed of their children’s progress.

SECOND LANGUAGE: ENGLISH

Children in their early childhood are in a sensitive period for language acquisition. With this in mind and following the philosophy of intuitive learning, we find absolutely necessary to give children the opportunity to start learning a second language at this stage. As an international school, there will always be two Montessori guides in every classroom and one of them will talk to children in English, so that they can integrate this second language into the proper part of the brain, the one that does not yet translate into the mother tongue, but acquires knowledge by association.

FLEXTIME

In our center, we have a flexible schedule in Children’s House with the purpose of favoring self-regulation in children’s rest and allowing them to gradually adapt their pace to more structured schedules.

LOW RATIOS

Keeping in mind what has already been explained, it would be impossible to carry out this work methodology without having a low teacher/student ratio. This ratio is 1/10 in our school.

FAMILIES ARE PART OF THE SCHOOL

In Cuarto Creciente International School families are an active part of the education process. Firstly, we place a tremendous importance on the correlation between the philosophy of the school and what is lived at home, so that children do not perceive relevant dissonances. Besides, we understand that it is essential to maintain fluid communication with families to share every morning if the child has slept well, how he/she is, if something has happened that could have upset him/her or if they have perceived a special interest in a specific topic… We will also keep you informed about the child’s development, the events that have happened in class and we will respond to any question you want to ask.

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