Walk through the doors of ArtsCalibre Academy at 7:30 AM and you will see our smiling teachers in the classroom busily preparing for the day. At 8:45 AM the doors open to our students and they enter beaming in anticipation of what the day holds for them.
But what is beyond those smiles? What is so special about our approach to education – the strong integration of the Arts into our curriculum? Why should you choose ArtsCalibre Academy?
The reasons are many and are widely and credibly documented. Years of research demonstrate that Arts education is closely linked to everything we want for our children and demand from our schools: academic achievement, social and emotional development, engagement and equal opportunity. Involvement in the Arts is associated with strong gains in math, reading, cognitive ability, critical thinking and verbal skills. Arts enriched learning can also dramatically improve motivation, concentration, confidence and teamwork.
Why are our children so excited to come to school every day? The intrinsic stimulation and pure pleasure of an Arts enriched experience does more than enhance a child's learning. It connects them more deeply to the world and opens them up to new ways of seeing it – creating a foundation for forging strong social bonds and building community.
When I asked one of our Grade Five students what it is about ArtsCalibre Academy that she likes, she said "We are not taught to our grade, we are taught to our ability and skills. We are encouraged to challenge ourselves in every area." Another student reported “I don’t know…it just feels good.” Simple words – but to me they are profound and reaffirming.
ArtsCalibre’s 4 Core Values
Engagement: Children must be engaged for learning to occur. Full engagement is therefore one of the prerequisite aims of our program, and an essential purpose of our Fine Arts focus.
Learning Environment: Maintaining a safe, respectful, stress- and confrontation-free environment is crucial to children's success. Learning is also greatly enhanced by our small class sizes and low student-teacher ratios.
Expression: Children who feel free to fully express themselves develop the confidence and emotional maturity to tackle any academic and social challenges they may face in the future.
Growth: ArtsCalibre Academy is growing with our children. Having built a highly reputable preschool, we are now planning to grow by at least one grade per year, to Grade 5 and beyond. Strong connections between the children, their families and our school are the natural result of this process and the warm, inviting climate that we strive to create.
Thematic teaching is a way of teaching and learning whereby many areas of the curriculum are connected together and integrated within a theme. It allows learning to be more natural and less fragmented than the traditional way, where a school day is divided by time into different subject areas. It allows literacy to grow progressively, with vocabulary linked and with spelling and sentence writing connected. As a result, children have more fun and are actively involved; they will develop learning skills more quickly as each one is connected and reinforces the other. The children will be highly motivated.
The students have a role in deciding our themes. We meet together as a school and discuss the themes for the following year. This way, the students have a vested interest in their learning. It also allows space for our learning community to get involved. We have had many enriching opportunities arise from parents and neighbours asking to get involved with our themes because they have something valuable to contribute.
This way of teaching allows space to integrate what is needed to reach each child in our classrooms. Each child learns differently, and it is the role of the teacher to discover what is needed to facilitate that learning. We can truly find something for everyone.
In our school, we group the children into learning pods that span the ages. This regrouping of students gives flexibility to both the learner and facilitator. Our learning pods are broken into differentiated learning groups based on interests and abilities. Students in a flexible classroom setting are more focused on their work. They have a greater level of independence and awareness about their work and they are engaged.
Project Based Learning
New to the BC curriculum for 2016-17 is the concept of Project Based Learning (PBL). Project-based learning is a student-centered method that organizes learning around specific projects or concepts.
Working as independently from the teacher as possible, students will engage in rigorous extended process of inquiry focused on complex, authentic questions. Through this period of intense inquiry students will be challenged to explore and demonstrate their in-depth understanding of academic knowledge and skills. Collaboration, presentation and critical thinking/problem solving will converge to deliver high quality products and performances that students will share with audiences through a variety of mediums.
Although the concept of PBL is being formally introduced to BC curriculum this year, it has long been employed here at ArtsCalibre. The concept of Project Based Learning has a natural synergy with both the thematic teaching method we currently employ and the concept of an Arts based education in general.
ArtsCalibre’s core curriculum exceeds the BC Ministry of education Curriculum as we have added in the following aspects that will help build confidence, poise and advanced skills your child needs to excel throughout their academic career.
Leader in Me is a whole-school transformation model that acts like the operating system of a computer—it improves the performance of all other programs. Based on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, The Leader in Me equips students with the self-confidence and skills they need to thrive in the 21st-century economy. Learn more...
MindUP™ teaches social and emotional learning skills that link cognitive neuroscience, positive psychology and mindful awareness training utilizing a brain centric approach. Students learn to self-regulate behavior and mindfully engage in focused concentration required for academic success. Learn more...
Handwriting without Tears is an easy-to-teach, easy-to-learn curriculum that makes handwriting mastery joyful for students and teachers. Writing by hand improves creative writing skills and fine motor skills and elementary students have been found to write more and faster by hand than when keyboarding. Learn more...
Roots of Empathy is an evidence-based classroom program that has shown significant effect in reducing levels of aggression among schoolchildren by raising social and emotional competence and increasing empathy. Learn more...
Sir Ken Robinson inspiring talk: How schools kill creativity