When you think of the word laboratory what do you see? A chemist in a windowless room, a group of scientists conducting experiments surrounded by white space, or perhaps, like me, your ill-equipped and uninspiring high school science “lab” comes to mind.
According to Merriam-Webster’s definition, a laboratory is defined as “a place providing opportunity for experimentation, observation, or practice in a field of study.”
It is in this broader sense, that we see our community at The Village School as a laboratory. Our field of study is learning.
Our school isn’t a school in the usual sense of the word. It grows as a child grows. It grows and develops out of a learning “laboratory”- out of the experiences of our learners, their parents, and our guides here at TVS- and of those in our affiliate communities across the globe.
While every Acton community is different, we each share the goal of creating the best learner-driven environment we can while guiding each of our learners to discover a calling that will change the world. Put in other words, this means we have hundreds of learning “laboratories” all over the world providing opportunities for experimentation, observation and practice in the field of self-directed and collaborative learning.
At The Village School, we utilize this network of learning “labs” to help us constantly improve in three key areas:
Content: This includes content in the form of integrated real-world projects /quests and core skills learning in the areas of math, reading, and writing.
Structure: This includes studio systems to enhance both independent and collaborative learning as well as social/emotional skills and studio culture.
Application: This includes support from an active online forum for Acton Guides and Owners to troubleshoot, share, and learn from each other in real time, a monthly video conference call with adopted “running partners” (close colleagues/owners/guides in the network), and an annual Owners conference.
In a laboratory things are never stagnant. The next experiment, revealing observation, or field-tested practice in human learning and motivation is right around the corner.
Just like a child- or a scientist on the verge of something big, we live in anticipation of all of the new discoveries that await.