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 one of our Grade 5 students was asked what she likes about ArtsCalibre Academy, 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.” These are simple words — but they are no less important in describing what makes our school environment work.
Our Four 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 integrated within a theme. It allows learning to be more natural and less fragmented than the traditional approach, where a school day is divided by time into different subject areas. It allows literacy to grow progressively, linking vocabulary closely with spelling and sentence structure. As a result, children have more fun and are highly motivated; they will develop learning skills more quickly as each one is connected and reinforces the other.
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, 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 every 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.
We group children into learning pods which can span more than one age group. This regrouping adds flexibility for both the learner and facilitator. Our pods are broken into differentiated learning groups based on the students' 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 more engaged.
Project Based Learning
Project-Based Learning (PBL) was introduced in 2016/17 to the BC Curriculum. It is a student-centered method which organizes learning around specific projects or concepts.
Working as independently from the teacher as possible, students will engage in a rigorous, extended process of inquiry focused on complex and 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 media.
Although the concept of PBL was formally introduced to BC curriculum in 2016/17, it has long been employed at ArtsCalibre Academy. PBL has a natural synergy with both the thematic teaching method we employ and the concept of an Arts based education in general.
ArtsCalibre Academy’s curriculum frequently exceeds that of the BC Ministry of Education through our incorporation of the following elements to help build the confidence, poise and advanced skills children need to excel throughout their lifetimes.
The Leader in Me is a whole-school transformation model acting somewhat like the operating system of a computer, supporting and maximizing 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 their behaviour and improve the concentration required for academic success. Learn more...
Handwriting without Tears is an easily taught and learned curriculum which makes handwriting mastery joyful for students and teachers. Writing by hand improves both fine motor and creative writing skills, and elementary students tend to write more and faster by hand than when keyboarding. Learn more...
Roots of Empathy is an evidence-based classroom program which can significantly reduce levels of aggression among school children by raising social and emotional competence and increasing empathy. Learn more...
Sir Ken Robinson's inspiring TED talk: "Do Schools Kill Creativity?"