You’re hearing a lot of “school” words, even the phrase learning center can be confusing. Add in words like teacher, classroom, curriculum, and you might be wondering if this is to much like school, or if it even aligns with your educational method.
Well, it is NOT like any school you’ve seen before, because we’re not a school at all. That doesn’t mean it’s a good fit though. We encourage you to read all about us, contact us to ask questions, and make sure this is a good fit for your family.
What Curriculum do You Use?
The simple answer is- NONE. We don’t use specific curriculum.
Of course things aren’t simple.
Our facilitators will work with you and your child to create a custom learning plan that matches their goals and interests, as well as introduces new concepts and ideas. We want to help them know more about the things they love, and also to help them find new things to love that they had never heard of or tried before.
You may hear a Facilitator or Staff member say “curriculum” but don’t panic! We insure that everyone on our team follows our ideals. Different people just may say things differently or use terminology they are more familiar with.
By “curriculum” we mean any of the objects planned for use with your child. Their curriculum could consist of online classes we found, videos that match their interests, books on topics they like, games, and more. The facilitator will plan especially for each student and their class as a whole.
Who are the Teachers?
Our teachers know that learning happens outside of the typical learning environment and also that it is life long. They pride themselves on knowing that building with Lego, watching a video, playing a game, or even just being outside in nature can be more educational than any textbook. In fact, they probably won’t touch a textbook.
They are curious learners themselves who love finding unique ideas and experiments. They are likely to ask “Why?” “What do you think will happen?” “Let’s try and see!”
Our teachers will each run their classroom slightly differently, but all to our standards and ideals.
Teachers are expected to introduce new ideas and concepts, encourage a variety of questions, and they have some experience with kids and teaching.
We are starting out with one teacher and her assistants. We will also interview for other teachers if any volunteers come forward. We interview teachers before they start to make sure they align with our methods and ideals. We also advise you ask questions about our staff to make sure they align with yours.
We don’t really even call them Teachers. We prefer Facilitators, Learning Guides, or Awesome Leaders. Their job is NOT to stand and force learning but to guide children and support them in their endeavors. Most often you’ll see us refer to them as Facilitators. They are facilitating learning as well as facilitating the environment they create.
All of our teachers will also be first aid/cpr certified, and all of our adult volunteers will also be background checked and have completed child safety courses.
What do Your Classrooms Look Like?
You’re hearing us say classrooms, and that may be making you nervous. Especially when we have said one room schoolhouse. Maybe you’re still picturing rows of desks, with a teacher standing at the front.
Well, we may have a desk or two, and sometimes the facilitator may be standing at the front. Our ideal classroom is NOT what you’re picturing though.
Final classroom set-ups will depend on location, but let me give you a vision of the ideal classroom.
There will be multiple learning stations. Science over there. Art over here. Bookshelves full of exciting books. A pile of bean bag chairs in one corner. A large table and chairs for group activities and games. Natural light floods the room.
No doubt a couch, and some throw pillows are somewhere to be seen. A pile of games sits somewhere.
There may be a writing station, maybe even a chalkboard or dry erase on one wall, but nothing about it is standard.
Everywhere is bustling with authentic learning in progress.
What about Your Classes?
To us “Class” could be one of two things. So let me explain them both:
The Physical Group of Students: Each Facilitator will have a “class” of 8-15 students. The class will be multi-age and with a variety of kids. Those students could be any ethnicity, religion, creed,or anything else.
To begin they will all be 10 and above. As we grow we may add more ages.
Our ideal classroom size is 12 students.
Each group of students stays with their Facilitator for the length of their time at Cranium Collective. This is to build fellowship, and a sense of security.
A Scheduled Event: Each classroom will have regular events, and some of them may be classes. We don’t intend to have long term classes (picture a six week long writing class for example) but we do intend to have fun one-off events.
A Class may be a painting instruction, or a speaker coming to speak about our local bees. It could be a lesson on science safety before introducing a new chemistry set, or even a yoga class. They will vary from full day activities, or simply saying the painting supplies will be out, or a specific event. Some will be lead by the facilitator, some by the assistants, some by other outside people, and some by the kids themselves.
What we call classes are really just planned activities. We call them classes because it’s easier, it’s a more common phrase, and also because it gives an idea of what some of them may be. Some classes may be structured activities with a Facilitator or Guest. We do expect respect from students during this time. Telling the children they have a “science class” that day is usually a good phrase to tell them how they need to behave during that time. If you object to your child being settled for a class presentation then this may not be the facility for them.
Wait! I thought Classes are Optional!?
You’re right. Let us clarify. Your child will be part of a class, meaning a physical group of people. That isn’t optional, BUT all of our special event classes ARE. If your student isn’t interested in that days event they don’t have to participate. Because of the one room setup they’ll still be nearby, but they can be doing other things instead. Our Facilitator and/or their Assistant, if needed, will help your child find something else that interests them instead.
Many of our events will also be open attendance anyway. Meaning that the day’s event may be a paper airplane contest, which lasts the full school day in one corner of the room, not a single event at 11 am. Some classes may have specific times, or for example a scheduled speaker, but not all of them will.
We do expect all of the students to be active, involved, and engaged but we intend to encourage that by having an awesome list of activities not by forcing them to do things they don’t care about.
If the class is a presentation then we expect all students to be respectful during that time. If they are not taking the class they should still pick a quiet activity for that time frame.