OUR PROGRAM OF INQUIRY
The San Juan del Sur Day School focuses on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, touching hearts as well as minds and addressing social, physical, emotional and cultural needs as well as academic ones. We utilize a Constructivist approach to education, which states that learning is an active, contextualized process of constructing knowledge rather than acquiring it. Knowledge is constructed based on personal experiences and hypotheses of the environment. We draw on research and best practice from a range of international systems with a wealth of knowledge and experience from effective schools and practices to create a relevant engaging, challenging and significant educational framework for all children.
We refer to the 6 transdisciplinary themes throughout our curriculum to help teachers and students explore knowledge in the broadest sense of the word and to step out beyond the confines of learning within subject areas. Teachers and students use key questions that are concept based to structure the units of inquiry. They acquire and apply transdisciplinary skills while developing an understanding of these important concepts. The development of explicit attitudes and the expectation of socially responsible behavior are also essential elements of the program. We spend about six to eight weeks per Unit of Inquiry. We move through the Units in an educational cycle. Visiting, revisiting and threading the transdisciplinary questions throughout our lessons, projects and work.
Developing the Global Citizen
We strive towards developing an internationally minded person who, recognizes their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet. As well as, helps create a better and more peaceful world with attributes and dispositions. What kind of person do we want our students to be? At San Juan Del Sur Day School we want the students to learn to become inquirers, thinkers, communicators, risk-takers, knowledgeable, principled, caring, open-minded, balanced and reflective.
The Five Essential Elements
To achieve a balance in learning, we emphasize the five parts of the curriculum, which are called the Essential Elements. Students are given the opportunity to: gain knowledge that is relevant and of global significance, develop an understanding of concepts, make connections throughout his or her learning, acquire transdisciplinary and disciplinary skills, develop attitudes that will lead to internationally-mindedness, and take action as a consequence of his or her learning. The five essential elements are:
- Knowledge (What we want the students to know about)
- Concepts (What we want the students to understand)
- Skills (What we want the students to be able to do)
- Attitudes (What we want the students to feel)
- Action (How we want the students to act)
The knowledge component is taught through six transdisciplinary themes of global significance that provide the framework for exploration and study.
The Transdisciplinary themes:
- Who we are
- Where we are in place and time
- How we express ourselves
- How the world works
- How we organize ourselves
- Sharing the planet
The six transdisciplinary themes help teachers to develop a program of inquiries–in-depth investigations into important ideas, identified by the teachers, and requiring a high level of involvement on the part of the students. These inquiries are substantial, in-depth and last for several weeks. The six themes are integrated into 6 subject areas.
- Social Studies
- Personal, social, and physical education
The teaching learning cycle continually answers 3 critical questions:
- What do we want to learn?
- How best will we learn?
- How will we know what we have learned?