“Creating Spaces That Help Students Learn – A Journey Through a Revolutionary School and Re-Thinking of Educational Spaces”
In the XXIst century we have to re-think not just education, but the spaces where the education is happening as well. A chain of 15 preschools and 3 schools in Lithuania and Latvia by the name of "Vaikystės Sodas" and Queen Morta School have started to challenge everything that has been believed about the school. Applying modern brain research and all the knowledge about how the students learn best, we have started to change:
- professional development of the teachers (by individualising professional development and basing hiring on values, not just credentials)
- learning spaces (getting rid of the desks, the bells, 45-minute lessons and introducing project based interdisciplinary and contextual learning)
- emotional atmosphere (by implementing socio-emotional curriculum and emphasising it throughout the subject areas)
- parental involvement (our parents have continuous parenting classes that they attend and the training of the parents is also continuous and individualised).
That way I have created an Advanced Contextual Education System. It took us six years of implementation to actually finalise all the elements and to see the elements that have been the most successful. We have also been able to see where the greatest challenges lie and - together with scientists who continuously perform research at our schools - we're working on making the ACES even better. We also hope the the principles of ACES could be applied in a much more wider community that just the Baltic States. Children deserve only the best.