Our school's Mission Statement is: "Our school community inspires passion for lifelong learning, fosters social and emotional acuity, and develops the child's imaginative mind." How does that play out in the daily life of our students? Here is just one example.
The kindergartners are studying Leonardo da Vinci and feeling a connection to this man who, much like them, had an insatiable curiosity and a love of learning, inventing, and creating. Their da Vinci unit is a cross disciplinary study with big SEL ideas. Using Michel Gelb's book How to Think Like Leonardo" as inspiration, the teachers drew from the seven principles that Gelb believes da Vinci lived by. The students have been applying Leonardo's principles to their own time and finding that, hundreds of years later, they are every bit as valuable as they were in Leonardo's time.
The first principle they looked at was Curiosita: Take a curious approach to life. Using the questions that were generated at the start of kindergarten, the children looked at the many areas of study that interest them. Within these questions they discovered different types of questions, including ones that were scientific, evolutionary, and theoretical in nature.
Curiosita is a natural way of life for Nueva Kindergartners. Investigations provide the perfect avenue for the pursuit of interests and passions. "Leonardo's Studio" has been set up with a variety of things to study: flight, sculpture, mirror writing, drawing, geometry, anatomy, and simple machines. Students drive their own learning as they design architecture, experiment with art media, and create (invent) a variety of useful objects in the design center.
Here, several students experiment with three dimensional shapes and salt. By listening to their conversation, we gain understanding as to their interests and ideas about the human body.
As part of our detective work, we introduced the idea of "Piccolo Gruppo di Studio," small group work. The children choose between three activities, inspired by Leonardo. They could explore drawing from observation, architectural design, and sculpture building.
Here, two students are constructing an intricate sculpture out of clay. They collaborated to create a design that incorporated both of their ideas. The boys explained that their initial creation inspired them to elaborate on the piece and combine multiple ideas and sculptures into one.