What does it mean to educate? A look at the Latin root sheds some light on the question: to bring up, to bring out, to bring forth – a tall order indeed. At elc international schools, we feel that a task as formidable as passing on the world’s accumulated knowledge, skills and values to the next generation requires the very antithesis of rote learning.
While we adhere to Canada’s Ontario Curriculum and cover all of the traditional coursework – from music, art and English to science, language arts, social studies, mathematics and physics – it is in our methodology that we differ from conventional educational institutions.
What is a language? Is it the memorization of irregular verbs, or the comprehension of the whole thought process that went into creating it and the symbols that represent those thoughts?
The languages of learning are numerous and varied, and these expressive languages allow the children to play imaginatively with the knowledge they have about their world, propose theories, test hypotheses, share their delight in the social reconstruction of that world with classmates and teachers.
Thus the children learn to question their experience and value the ‘how’ and ‘why’ over the ‘what’. At the most basic level, they develop the motor skills necessary to express their theories in 2D drawings and 3D paper and clay representations, but such methods also provide the first perceptions of such complex phenomena as balance, stability, friction and flexibility.
Cognitive skills, observational skills, documentation skills, communication skills, social skills, critical thinking, visual and auditory exercise – all these come into play here, as the children make use of all the languages at their disposal to stimulate this exciting new awareness that science, math, art, music and every other subject they are studying are all interrelated. This is a curriculum that brings up, brings out, and brings forth.
And if you happen to be here at one of those magic moments when a child’s cognitive evolution has taken a giant leap forward, you might just see Math pirouetting to Mozart, Art whirling with Astronomy, Physics partying with Proust, and a roomful of wide-eyed children from a diversity of countries and cultures playing with Nouns and Verbs like they were the greatest toys they’ve ever seen.