Da Vinci School Philosophy
- Unconditional love and acceptance are natural, you do not need to deserve them
- Freedom of self-expression – being yourself
- Realization of yourself, of your values, loving yourself
- Trust and safety
- Inner motivation of children and adults
- Personal responsibility
- Each of us forms our school and influences its functioning
- Education as a life path towards essential questions
- School as a fulfilled life in now and here
- Support of full utilization of your potential
- Small number of pupils in a class – sufficient space to adapt to the pupil’s specific interests and their individuality, more effective integration of talented pupils.
- Czech school with above-standard English language teaching – Czech is a dominant language. Children learn English gradually, and its proportion in the teaching grows naturally. English is currently taught one day a week.
- High-quality staff – we put the accent on both professional and human qualities of our staff. We find teaching experience as well as individual activeness and interest of teachers, their responsiveness and ability to create atmosphere of mutual esteem and respect very important.
- The pupil’s interest takes the center stage – interest and natural curiosity of our pupils are the basis of the learning process. We encourage the children’s desire to discover. The release of the child’s potential a clearing of possible complexes, tendencies to retreat within oneself or feeling of fear result from this approach.
- Project-based learning method and comprehensive understanding– we use project-based learning, thematic learning and inspiring environment in our school. Themes are taught in blocks several days or weeks long. Children do not learn disconnected fragments nor do they learn the subject by heart. The subject is explored in depth and context, and comprehensive understanding is important.
- Pupils’ participation in the educational process – they prepare a part of the lesson within the area of their interest for the others, and try to explain the subject to their schoolmates the best they can. They learn thoroughly themselves this way, and improve their presentation skills whereas the other children get a chance to understand the subject well since it was prepared and presented to them by their peers – by their own words and way of thinking.
- The pupils’ participation in setting up school rules – we guide our pupils towards their independence and own responsibility. They can share their opinions about the school functioning, have discussions and vote on the rules at the school meetings organized regularly every week. Life in the school is regulated by these rules.
- Support of the way towards healthy life attitude and healthy lifestyle – we guide pupils towards responsibility of their own health, and we offer quality and balanced meals in our school. We regard environmental education as a natural part of teaching. Children have a chance to keep a pet, look after crops in the school garden, take part in activities focused on environmental care in the school neighborhood, and do the waste recycling.
- Various after school activities and interest groups– we offer a variety of possibilities for 2014/2015 school year. See more information here.
- Assessment system – pupils are assessed orally, they receive no marks or grades.
- Small school with nice atmosphere – our classes cooperate together, we offer a variety of after school activities and interest groups.
- Classes start at 9.00 am– children do not have to get up before sunrise, however it is possible to bring a pupil to our before school club earlier. It starts from 7.30 a. m.
- Family-School partnership– direct communication (e-mail, mobile phone), our teachers within easy reach, individual consultations.
- Convenient location– our school is located in the center of Dolní Břežany, a developing village on the outskirts of Prague
- Above standard facilities
There is a team of five people behind the scene of our school formation. These people decided to implement their vision of the school their children and grandchildren could attend. This originally simple idea has gradually overgrown the need of taking care after their own offspring, and has attracted everything what is needed for such a demanding mission of building up a real school. When our offspring started to reach their preschool age, we realized that we needed a project that would give them enough space to develop their talents according to their natural needs. We founded a kindergarten, and one year later we founded an elementary school as well. Our philosophy is reflected in a motto: „The school for curious children“. Children are curious by their nature. They are interested in things and events happening around them. We want to encourage their desire to learn, and we want to motivate the children to develop their talents and their natural self-confidence. We named our school after an outstanding Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci. The way he was able to fulfill and fully develop his own talents in a whole range of scientific disciplines as well as in the world of art, it is a great inspiration to us.
There is a representative of the academic world of education in our team having years of experience in the field. There is a manager experienced in the field of non-profit organizations. There is a former financial director of a big company as well as the Technology Entrepreneur of the year 2006 award holder who built up an international company with two-billion annual turnover. The whole team works actively for the school, and devotes a significant part of its time capacity to this work.
A long-term vision and financial background are important for starting a school apart from enthusiasm and experience. Professional and personal life history of the school founders guarantees their ability to form a big vision and pursue this vision for a long-lasting period. The potential to outlive its founders is one of the prerequisites of this project. This is the way we think about our school although it is still very young. Our school is financed by a sponsor who is a member of the executive team. Funds have been recently allocated to build a new school building, and to start a complete operation ranging from a kindergarten to a grammar school. The whole project has a non-profit concept. The financial goal of the project is to reach an operationally balanced budget, and provide the best services to children and parents
Při založení školy je kromě nadšení a zkušeností potřeba dlouhodobá vize a finanční zázemí. Profesní a životní historie zakladatelů dává záruky toho, že umí vytvořit velkou vizi a dlouhodobě za ní jít. Projekt školy je třeba stavět tak, aby měl potenciál přežít své zakladatele. Tak o naší škole přemýšlíme, přestože je její historie dosud velmi krátká.
Škola je financovaná sponzorem, členem výkonného týmu. V současné době jsou alokovány fondy na postavení nové budovy školy a rozjezd kompletního provozu od mateřské školky do gymnázia. Celý projekt je koncipován jako neziskový. Finančním cílem projektu je dosáhnout provozně vyrovnaný rozpočet a v jeho rámci poskytovat co nejlepší služby dětem a rodičům.
The school is part of a system of elementary schools accredited by the Ministry of Education. It implements a standard methodology for Czech elementary schools as its own basic curriculum. We then add everything we find to be an interesting and suitable supplement inspired by philosophies of alternative schools to this curriculum.
Da Vinci School offers above standard and relatively affordable education to children coming from families of a wide spectrum of economic background.
Da Vinci School is a Czech school that wants children to be prepared for the world where English is the language of communication. English is a natural part of the education starting already in the kindergarten. There is a minimum of 8 English lessons per week starting from the first year of school. There will be a selected range of subjects taught in English in the next years, especially in the grammar school.
There is a maximum of 15 children in our classes. This small number offers sufficient space for development of the pupil’s individuality and interests. We put the accent on both professional and human quality of our teaching staff. We find teaching experience as well as individual activeness and interest of teachers very important. Our teacher’s continual personal and professional development through internal and external educational programs is fundamental to us. The key areas concern working with an individual and a group, motivation, elimination of inner barriers, social dynamics and interactions, conflict management and lessons drawn from such situations. Following such development, our teachers are then able to create “here and now” atmosphere for the children. This kind of the teachers’ approach creates healthy foundations for natural development of learning that is led by inner motivation and desire to learn more than a necessity to master the required curriculum.
The oral assessment that factually describes gaining particular skills and knowledge without assigning a mark or its equivalent is used in the first grade of the elementary school. We do not teach strictly separated subjects we interconnect them mutually, though. A project-based learning method is used when appropriate. If a teacher can sense the children’s concentration decreasing, they choose a different alternative depending on the situation. We tailor breaks and their duration to the actual teaching needs.
Children do not get any homework since we feel there is enough time at school for a child to manage not only the required school work but often much more than that. However, some parents want to work with their children at home as well since this creates a natural platform for their mutual communication. It is possible to get the parents involved by assigning homework, recommended games or other activities following the consultation with a teacher.
We encourage cooperation among classrooms. Older children revise their school work when they can explain it to younger children. This is a natural way of learning for younger ones similar to when learning skills from an older sibling. The children have an opportunity to participate in a variety of after school activities and interest groups, making their choice according to their own interests.
Our project is young and it develops gradually. We learn how to do things with deeper understanding, and how to connect daily activities with our long-term vision. We learn how to create a team of genuine individuals in our school who can develop their own innate potential.