A Learner-Led Day

Spark Studio Week 2: Session 5

The Village School is a learner-led environment. What does this look like day to day for a Spark Hero? If you are a hero in our environment you are in charge of your own education and guides say, we trust you to make choices that help you learn and grow. This means there is no adult telling you what is most important, what you should care about, or where to direct your attention. You have the opportunity to follow the intrinsic motivation and curiosity that you carry with you each day.

You arrive at school and see friends creating artwork, playing board games, or tag outside. You hang up your things and decide if you would like to join in or read a book to yourself. An ordered environment is set up to offer choices within a familiar and comfortable setting. Promptly at 9:00 am you take part in a town hall meeting where you listen to the cares and concerns of others in your community, and then you have a turn to suggest that we hold a “pajama day” next week. You call for a vote and see everyone’s hands raise as they share agreement and enthusiasm. After a spirited town hall discussion you get to work setting goals in reading, writing, and math. You choose the work you are excited to do. Writing might be a list or a careful letter to a friend. You remember the new game you learned using the hundred board and invite others to join in. After free time you decide to do some reading and get out the books you brought in to share with others, taking turns with a friend page by page. A guide notices as you look over the daily schedule and invites you for a lesson on the clock so that you can figure out how much time you have before lunch begins.

Your afternoon begins with the challenge of following a recipe for a snack you’ll enjoy the next day. You work to carefully measure ingredients and then take ownership over washing the dishes. The guide makes sure there is a stool in place at the sink and you turn to assure her, “we’ve got it from here.” You return to the studio to finish making additions to a long term project you have been working on. You add elements to a human body model, knowing that the end product won’t be completed for weeks- this is considered as you use materials thoughtfully with attention given to time management. You circle up with fellow travelers and the guide provides moments for reflection and poses questions to further your research. There is an opportunity to give and receive feedback from your peers. You share what worked really well for you, and offer kind suggestions, showing leadership and empathy.

When students own their learning, they become self-directed navigators who tackle the challenges of an unpredictable world.

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