Inspired Explorations Learning Community is where the combination of structured and unstructured play-based learning combined with the understanding of Natural Learning Relationships is experienced within a multiage classroom. IELC provides learning that nurtures the physical, social, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual development of its learners with active participation from our families. Our educators are well trained and use current research methods to provide quality programming. They also listen to and observe each learner closely to provide the best program and resources to meet each learner’s learning style and interests. We also provide a low educator-to-learner ratio in order to meet the needs of all learners.
The provincially mandated curricula are our reference points when providing learners with a well-rounded understanding of various topics to be explored, and the sequencing in which learners naturally progress through various fundamental skills. We do approach the teaching of the curriculum outcomes by offering a learner-centred, emergent, inquiry approach, as well as co-creating and defining goals. The learning goals for each semester are co-created and named by all key parties: educators, parents, administration, and with the learner (at the level of their capability). Our attention is focused on the process of learning, discovery, independence, and problem-solving skills.
Development is interdependent: emotional, social, cognitive. At IELC, we know that attempts to hurry a learner’s development are ineffective. Although most learner are able to memorize and recite, these performance skills do not represent meaningful learning. Our program is learner centred and respectful of the learner’s learning style and developmental capabilities by providing rich environments for learning.
Awareness through the body
Learners will start their day by centring themselves and discovering new activities and experiences that help with focus, concentration, and bring awareness to their inner and outer feelings. This creates mindful space for learners to stay in tune with the sensations they have throughout the day. learners can apply these tools when they feel upset, need to re-focus, or need to slow down and take a break.
Intention circle/sharing circle
Learners will gather in a circle to connect and share with each other. This time will also allow learners to be presented with the invitations or provocations that are offered for the mornings’ Exploration time.
Learners will engage in play based learning experiences that provoke creativity, problem-solving, social skill development, and are hands-on/sensory in nature; a variety of inspired learning can develop here. Experiences can be educator guided and may focus more on certain subjects (ex: science experiments, number games, etc.), but we try to engage learners in broader learning experiences where many subjects are being explored within the one experience. Since we include this twice a day, we often offer a more structured experience for one experience and an unstructured exploration for the other.
Examples include (but not limited to):
Painting, sculpting, block/lego building, puppet theatre, reading, writing, drawing, listening to and creating music, water/sand table, magnets, marble run construction, nature walks, science experiments, board games/number games etc.
We have access to a beautiful natural landscape outside of the community centre. Learners will have access to balls, skipping ropes and a beautiful Park on Aubrey St. just minutes away.
Storytelling, Literature learning, Dramatic Play, Word Exploration, and Writing
Children play with language and words; they make sense and connections to their world through reading, storytelling, and dramatic play. Many varieties of reading and writing opportunities are offered during this time. Specific reading strategies are also explored with each individual learner to find the strategy that works for them when they show signs of reading readiness.
Music and Song Study - Sound to Symbol Praxis
Sound to Symbol is based on the belief that singing in the form of social play enhances a learner's learning and provides a context for attaining respectful and attentive social behaviour. Traditional song games are played during this time. The song games themselves and song study extensions are used to elicit language learning, numeracy, sequencing skills, emotional and social development as well as music and movement skills.
We will also explore a variety of basic rhythms and patterns in music, dancing, and some basic instrument exploration.
Learners will have an opportunity to explore equipment such as balls, racquets, hockey sticks, batons, and balancing beams. They will also explore the basic movement skills required for further mastery of activity specific skills such as hopping, skipping, jumping, running, throwing, catching, kicking, and rolling. This will be set up in an exploratory manner where learners will have opportunities to choose how they want to move their bodies, and what kind of movements they want to explore, and some structured games that are cooperative and engaging.
Learners will also have the opportunity to learn age appropriate outdoor life skills and engage in outdoor activities amongst nature.
The Relationship between Environment and Learner
Our learning environment is designed to interact with all of the needs of our learners. Keeping developmental needs, learning styles and sensitivities in mind, we organize the classroom and its materials in calm, inviting ways that foster independence, growth, sensory stimulation, and a feeling of safety.
Relationship between Educator and Learner
IELC believes that relationships formed between educator and learner is reciprocal. When trust forms between the two, the curiosity of the learner and the guidance of the educator are able to flow genuinely and authentically. This relational foundation is a major focus for all of our educators and helps create a safe, rightful place for our young learners.
Relationship between Learner and Learner
Students at IELC work together in the multiage setting; learning can occur through support with their older peers or through leadership with their younger peers. The deep relationships that form within our community between learners are those of a true community. We take care of each other’s needs and support each other in our learning; we offer each other perspective and we honour everyone’s ideas and thinking.
At Inspired Explorations Learning Community we know that competence comes from the experience of living and not from the intellect alone, nor from the perfection of any aspect of performance. The pedigree of experiential learning draws on the work of Jean Piaget, John Dewey, Carl Jung, Kurt Lewin, John Holt, and David Kolb to name a few.
At IELC we engage experiential education because:
- Knowledge is formed from direct experience combined with the learner’s readiness and individual development.
- Experience allows the learner to penetrate further and further into nature and themselves.
- Strength of direct experience helps the learner make better choices.
- Competence cannot be acquired without experiential knowledge.
- Competence is developed in real-life practical accomplishments and informal interactions in the immediate intimacy of the moment.
- Ability to adapt and live a meaningful life is the result of experience.