Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Are you going to work with children based on some kind of a program, and if so, how does that compare with the core curriculum in force?

We operate within the framework of the Polish education system, therefore, we move within the core curriculum in force.

We are aware that the content of activities carried out in schools often goes beyond the core curriculum in force, so teachers never follow it slavishly and always introduce something from themselves – we will do something similar. We also know that in a traditional classroom environment, it is difficult to acquire the skills needed in the 21st century and that is why we want to overcome these weaknesses in our school.

Thus, we approach the core curriculum creatively and reflectively, we think about what we want to share with children to give them the opportunity to acquire valuable skills needed in life today and in the future. Maps of Inspiration help us here. It is an equivalent tool to our core curriculum and, therefore, a sort of a map and a guide.

Does the school use any particular method?

Our school is based on the author’s method developed through many years of research, observations and conversations with practitioners of various paths of education around the world. We are constantly developing it.

We also draw from a number of approaches that have already been in use for a long time: Maria Montessori’s pedagogy, libertarian education, neurodidactics and good practices of many schools around the world that are difficult to label. We are also open to the elements of the classical education system, because we believe that there is also a lot of good in it (e.g. handbooks helping to understand complicated issues).

(Polski) Co czerpiecie z nurtu tzw. edukacji demokratycznej?

Sorry, this entry is only available in Polish.

What do you expect from children?

Respect and compliance with the contract to be concluded before they join our community.

The contract, which clearly defines the purpose of our presence at school and includes mutual arrangements, the implementation of which, in our opinion, supports the pursuit of this goal.

  • Goal: we are here to grow and learn
  • We remain in mutual good contact:
  • we express each time readiness for dialogue about what is important to the other person
  • we treat ourselves and others with respect
  • we plan to meet every morning and afternoon to talk about issues important to us, such as the intentions for a given day, we respect mutual agreements
  • We care about the common good:
  • we clean up after ourselves
  • we clean up common areas once a day
  • we use school resources reasonably
  • we care about the common safety

We present the contract to each child so that they understand what it means, and can consciously decide whether it suits him/her or not.

Consent to the arrangements contained in the contract will be a condition for joining our community.

Do you have any expectations towards parents?

We want to maintain a stable relationship supporting the child in the development process.

We see the achievement of this objective through:

  • keeping in good contact;
  • informing the school about important issues in the life of the family and the child;
  • sharing doubts, questions and concerns directly with those members of the community to whom they relate;
  • knowledge and acceptance of the school’s vision and the basic ways of our work;
  • if desired and possible, proposing and suggesting improvements of processes at school, so that they serve the development of the child;
  • co-financing the activities of the school;
  • taking roles and responsibilities, which involve the exercise of decision-making and the responsibility for these decisions;
  • the possibility to participate in activities open to families and parents (e.g. trips, picnics, painting the fence, etc.).

How will a typical day at school look like?

We want to invite children to creating their own daily schedule and filling it with activities.

In addition, we will invite communities to participate in the morning and afternoon meetings that will be an opportunity to deepen contact with each other. This will also be the time to share plans for a given day, week and, over time, a more and more longer period of time. We will support children in planning their own learning process, and thus develop their ability to manage themselves. As a result, children will do it more and more independently.

Teachers will also organise activities at school and outside. Information about those activities will be available in the form of a daily or weekly plan. Of course, they will not be mandatory and it will be up to children whether or not to take part in them. We will treat the level of interest in activities as feedback on what we do. This will ensure that our proposals meet the needs of children, both those reported directly by the children, and those resulting from our observation.

Also meals will be an element integrating members of the community.

We would like trips outside the school grounds, close to nature, to be a fixed point of each day.

What materials will the children use?

When choosing all materials we will be guided by the fact that they should be interesting and inspiring for children, they should be pleasant to use and it is important that they support the development. This includes the aids developed by Maria Montessori, but not only. In general, it can be anything that will facilitate the learning process and is available in the market (and within our financial capabilities). We are open to handbooks, which, in our opinion, are at present at a very high level. We are also open to multimedia, since they are now a regular part of everyone’s life. At the same time, we will take care that they do not take over the school space and interpersonal relations in our community.

How do you imagine your school graduate?

In the same way as its pupil – we do not think we are creating a product 🙂

We do not want to form a man – because it is not necessary. What we want to do is to accompany him/her and to show him/her various possibilities. We want to support what each of us has inside from the moment we are born – curiosity of the world, openness to experience, the desire to build relationships with people, enriching life through the development.

A graduate and a pupil of our school will take independent decisions relating to himself/herself, develop according to its own inherent pace and potential, have the knowledge and experience gained by independently experiencing the world and using the support offered by the school environment. We can also describe him/her as a person who knows how to make social contacts, build relationships, who takes action resulting from his/her internal motivation and is open to change.

If at the beginning your school covers only the first few years of the primary school, then what after that? Will the child get a school report? Upon what basis will it go to the secondary school and university?

We expect that most of our pupils will want to continue their education in our school until they feel prepared for independent life. We intend to make this possible.

We are part of the Polish education system, so we operate within it. Our pupils will receive school reports. Just like all the other participants in the educational system, they will be able to continue their education at the secondary school level – in our or another school.

It seems to us that in the near future the majority of people who will not choose such professions as doctor, lawyer, engineer, etc., will follow their own professional path without the need for traditional education system, i.e. higher education. Already today, more and more employers stop paying attention to formal education, and university graduates usually do not work in their learned professions.

At the same time, if someone would want to go to the traditional higher education, we will support him/her in this decision.

How big will be the school? How many children and at what age are you planning to enroll?

We support the model of gradual enlargement of our community. In the first enrolment, we plan to enrol approx. 15-25 children at the age corresponding to the age of pupils of first few years of the primary school. The enrolment will take place every year.

What will be the opening hours of the school?

At the beginning, we plan the opening hours for children between 8.30 a.m. – 3.30 p.m.; we plan to extent the hours over time.

Do you plan a summer break?

We have thought about that a lot. We realise that a two-month vacation serve relaxation, give the opportunity to spend time with family, explore the world, etc. At the same time, it seems to us that the mandatory two-month break at a specific time of the year would be restrictive, because we want to support the natural processes of development and learning in an individualised way, and not those imposed from above.

Therefore, after careful consideration, we want to give children the opportunity to use the school environment throughout the year. We leave it to the families to decide how they want to take advantage of this opportunity.

Do you plan organising trips?

Yes, in our opinion, trips are one of the ways of exploring the world and one of the key elements of our Maps of Inspiration.

We want to visit interesting places, both initially prepared with children in mind, such as the Copernicus Science Centre, the Children’s Museum at the State Ethnographic Museum, the National Museum or the Museum of Modern Art, where classes are held for children and youth, as well as other attractions to explore, for example, the Diving Museum, the Warsaw Uprising Museum and the Royal Castle. We would also like to organise themed trips, e.g. to the Wolsztyn Steam Engine Depot, the Museum of Matches in Częstochowa, Biskupin and the Malbork Castle, and even further, e.g. to the Skoda Museum and Factory in Mlada Boleslav.

We also want to regularly take children on nature trips to such places as the Białowieża Forest, the Puszcza Piska Forest, the Błędów Desert, the Magura Małastowska Mountain, the Cormorant Island, the Rospuda Valley in the Augustów Forest, to research stations, such as the Polish Academy of Sciences station in Popielno.

What do you do when there is no person among you having knowledge in a specific required area?

We search for this person 🙂 Our staff includes internal and external teachers. We also invite parents to cooperation 🙂

How do you ensure the maintenance of tidyness and cleanliness?

Apart from the fact that we hire a person whose job will be to take care of it, we want every member of the community to have its share in maintaining cleanliness and order. Participation in our community is dependent on accepting this condition. Cleaning up after oneself and in common areas will be one of the elements of the contract concluded with the child before he/she joins our school. We will support children in fulfilling this contract, so that this is done with respect for their needs and capabilities.

How do you balance the issues of freedom and safety?

Universally – the limit of the freedom of one man is the freedom and safety of the other.

Our task, as the adults, is to ensure a sufficient level of physical and mental safety, so that everyone can pursue the objective with which we meet here, that is, to develop and learn.

Unacceptable for us are behaviours that threaten the safety of individuals or the community. At the same time, we have a certain level of tolerance towards activities that the child takes towards himself/herself (e.g. when it climbs up the tree). We believe that limiting children will do little, because they will explore their own boundaries elsewhere anyway (perhaps in a less friendly environment), thus the restrictions will not only not stop the child from doing something, but they will also disturb our relationship.

Will there be computers, mobile phones and other electronic devices at school?

As we are preparing children to live in the world of tomorrow, it is clear that we cannot and we do not want to protect them from computers, mobile phones, etc. In our opinion, multimedia are now a valuable source of knowledge about the world and, over time, this role will only increase. Without free access to technology man cannot find the things that he/she will need to explore the world and learn. An important skill that we can pass on to children is reasonable use of multimedia (as an element of self-management). We approach the issue with caution and that is why in the first year of operation of the facility we will not make them available to children. Instead, we will devote this time to building contact and ties in the community. Moreover, younger children are not always already able to read, therefore the use of multimedia devices is limited to them.

We are certainly not going to limit children in terms of bringing electronic devices, including mobile phones, to school. We are far from imposing bans. At the same time, we will be observing whether using such devices does not weaken contact between members of the community. If this is the case, then we will want to look for solutions together.

If parents are concerned about the way the child uses the phone, we encourage them to seek solutions to this issue in the relationship with the child. We can provide support, e.g. in the form of mediation, but basically we do not want to interfere uninvited in the affairs between the child and the parent. We also do not want to be enforcers of contracts between children and parents. At the same time, we remain neutral, i.e. we do not intend to report to the parents on how their child uses multimedia, but when asked about it, we will not hide anything.

How do you solve conflicts?

By contact through which it is possible to hear and understand each other. We will try to find out what needs the other side wants to meet by a given behaviour and look for such solutions for meeting these requirements that will take into account and satisfy the needs of all, or with which at least all parties will be able to live.

What do you do when the child exhibits difficult behaviour, threatening others, for example, hits other children, destroys other people’s work, etc.?

One of the primary arrangements, which will be included in the contract with the child before he/she joins our school is agreement on showing respect for others, including respecting their boundaries and the need of safety. If someone does not show this respect, we will want to understand why this is happening and what unmet needs are behind specific “difficult” behaviours. We assume that each of our behaviours is a strategy that we choose to meet specific needs. Sometimes these strategies do not serve us or others around. Therefore, together with the child, we will look for other ways to meet his/her needs, so that these methods do not violate the boundaries of others.

What is your approach on religious education at school?

We will not organise religious education in the evangelisation sense. However, we allow for the possibility of sharing knowledge about various religions of the world in the context of presentation of different world outlooks and experiences.

We also find it possible to invite guests who could bring us closer to some world outlook, but only under the condition that we will not have doubts about it, and that the meeting will take place in an environment and circumstances controlled by us.

What happens when for some reason (e.g. moving house) a child will have to go back to a traditional school? Will it cope in this kind of school? Are you planning to somehow support it in this kind of situation?

Since we care a great deal about individual needs and searching for solutions, we will think about what we can do for the family and the child.

For us the problem is not whether the child can cope with learning in the traditional school, but how changing the environment will affect his/her mood. We are creating a specific school environment, because we want to avoid what is uncomfortable in the traditional system. According to us, it is natural that man feels a change for the worse, and there is nothing we can do to avoid this. At the same time, we do not want to demonise traditional schools. We also believe that man is so flexible that it can adapt to new conditions (although this is not always painless). In our opinion, contrary to the belief of the usefulness of the so-called cold breeding and toughening up to discomforts, the more “good” we experience in the initial stages of development, the stronger and more ready for new challenges we are later.

And what if someone cannot afford your tuition (or, for example, if his/her life situation suddenly changes)?

The individual needs of members of the community and searching solutions beneficial to everyone are always important to us.

Just as in the Zielona Wieża Nursery, we offer a scholarship program for families that share our values and ideas, and which could not afford to send the child to our school for financial reasons. Everyone can support this goal by donating 1% of income tax to Fundacja Społeczeństwo (KRS 346649).