How we learn

The “open learning space” – efficient learning through personal interest

The “open learning space” is the continuous basis for all actions and forms of learning in the Escola da Esperança. In attractive spaces, organized by areas of expertise, the students discover motivating, didactic materials corresponding to the various learning levels (Montessori materials, among others).
In this learning space children pursue their own interests and through this a creative atmosphere is generated in which the absorption of information happens naturally.  Alongside the learning content the children learn self-organisation and self-responsibility and skills for a future which requires creativity, flexibility, team work and self-reliance.
This broad offering allows the children to follow their own interests, according to their development level, and thus to educate themselves in an optimum way.

“The task of education is to configure this environment in such a way that, from it – according to the child’s sensitive stage – optimum learning and growth stimuli arise. This is Maria Montessori’s description of “prepared environment”. (…) The prepared environment should encourage the children and motivate them to follow their learning interests.” (Horst Klaus Berg / Maria Montessori, 2002)

In The Open Learning Space

To learn with experts in daily life

The direct experience in life and the contact with people from interesting professional and scientific knowledge fields or from other countries continually arouse new questions and the irrepressible desire to know more.
The personal contact with a “pro” is an important aspect of learning: An adult who can “really” build something or who knows “everything” about plants and nature is a role model, a person exerting nearly magical fascination for a child. When an expert takes the time to grant children genuine insight into their area of expertise, they open up a space for the child in which they practically absorb knowledge like a sponge.

Forms are:
Regular placements in the different aspects of Tamera’s work including gardening, kitchen, pottery, technology, political networking, peace journalism,...
Field trips to interesting companies and places in the region
Contact with international researchers and people from all over the world

Project-related teaching

The more integrated and profoundly a topic is dealt with, the more efficient the learning effect. For that reason, multidisciplinary project-related teaching represents an important part of Escola da Esperança. Our experience has shown that particularly in the field of language learning, a large shared objective, such as a theatre tour, and a balance between cognitive-theoretical, practical and artistic-creative activities, can massively increase learning efficiency and enjoyment.
Alongside the effective acquisition of contents, the multidisciplinary and multi-age project-related teaching plays an important role in social learning: When facing a common theme/goal, children find their position inside the group, learn to organize themselves in a common context and to contribute with their potential. They take responsibility according to their age and realize that their contribution is important for the project’s success.

Courses (specialized classes) and preparation for IGCSE

Most curricular contents are covered in the open learning space, in internships and in project-related teaching. However, some contents for Secundária students require a certain structure, continuity and deepening, regarding the final examination. Therefore, several subjects offer courses to prepare targeted contents, or to insist on and continuously train a specific theme, such as English, Science, Portuguese, Math, etc.
The course contents can be chosen/determined by the children or initiated by the tutor, whenever he, as described above, wants to deepen specific contents. In artistic subjects, too, the children want professional models, e.g. in capoeira, sports, musical instruments, the workshop, handiworks… but the wish to be challenged in certain aptitudes, such as writing texts or technology, is also provided for in the courses. Such courses are offered continuously during the whole school year. Other thematic courses are limited in time.
From Secundária 2, teaching is aimed at the preparation for IGCSE final examinations, with specific courses.