The Preschool Section is the gateway to the Gimnasio and the beginning of a great journey that students and their families are beginning on this significant journey of education for life. The fundamental objective for this section is the loving, warm, clear and disciplined accompaniment of our students. The section is made up of grades Montessori I, Montessori II, Montessori III and First Grade. The ages of the children are between 4 and 7 years old.
Section guidelines and objectives
The Preschool Section is an extension of the family in the school. Therefore, topics such as care, protection, interest, security and values are the main goals of the section, in line with the philosophy of Ovid Decroly and Maria Montessori, who recognize the child as the center of the process and as the protagonist of learning. The child who enters the Preschool Section is considered as a unique, particular subject, who brings with him a series of knowledge, experiences and previous experiences that will determine his way of approaching the School. From this broad perspective, the Gimnasio relates to each child through his teachers, which allows for the difference and particularity of each one of them. We believe that children can only consider the existence of others when they learn to consider their own existence.
The fundamental objective is to inspire children towards an integral development of their habits and talents, their emotions, their relationships with others and with the context. We educate in integrality so that:
- The development of their emotional intelligence allows children to be happy, emotionally stable, self-confident, autonomous, disciplined, clear, coherent.
- They manage to create appropriate connections and bonds through their interpersonal relationships.
- A sense of social awareness is awoken and fed in them.
- They become solidary, empathic citizens who are sensible towards difference.
- They may differentiate between what is right and wrong and that his acts are a reflection of ethics.
- They can develop reflective and critical thinking that allows them to be active in decision making and therefore have the ability to choose and act correctly.
- Acquire the necessary knowledge, information and culture that will allow you to become an active part of the demands of a globalized world that is increasingly vigorous and demanding with its citizens in the future.
Pedagogical Development: Work through Projects
The Montessori philosophy states that children learn from their own interests, curiosities and context, by experimenting, doing, acting, forming an active part of the learning process through projects that connect their interests with world situations. Project based pedagogy uses these principles but also recognizes that learning is not only the result of the individual’s relationship with the environment, but that it is built from the interaction that he establishes with others. For this reason, contextualized and meaningful learning is made possible from preschool onwards, as well as the active, creative and guided participation of teachers in participatory settings where children develop their abilities in an environment where autonomy, freedom and cooperation are fundamental.
Interdisciplinary work is fundamental and the curriculum is integrated from the different knowledges. It is based on a question that can be addressed by the different disciplines and solved with the participation of all of them. The integration of the areas, based on the interests of the child, makes learning meaningful and more valuable. The integration of the different areas of knowledge, their planning and execution are stated from the curricula, which are the fundamental axis of the pedagogical practice.
The teachers of the section have, among others, the function of prolonging the action and influence of the parents in the school, as well as articulating the formative and academic process. They hold regular meetings to plan project activities, to assess the acquisition of knowledge, individual and group performance of students. As a final result of each classroom project, the children communicate their findings about the questions that arose in their process of inquiry and understanding of the world to the community. On their end, the teachers also become researchers, since through the systematization of experiences they achieve a deep and situated reflection of the strategies that allowed the development of the children.
On the other hand, the knowledge of each and every one of the students is fundamental. For this reason, the group directors meet individually with the coordination and the psychologist of the section in order to give a report, both academic and behavioral, of each of their students. This report is the consolidation of the information gathered from all the teachers of the level. As a result of this follow-up, recommendations are given such as external therapies, assistance to the Institutional Program of Systematized Tasks (PITS) that is offered during out-of-school hours, parents’ appointments to keep them informed of their children’s performance and pedagogical support, etc.
Students are also monitored during the Group Directions which take place from Monday to Friday. Parents are a definite element in the achievement of the objectives for Preschool. For this reason, they are regularly summoned to participate in conflict resolution of particular cases, as well as to workshops that allow a better functioning within some groups. They are also invited to the different activities that are programmed so that they can get to know and appreciate the work done by the children, both academically and personally. The comprehensive education of the students is also fulfilled by the activities of the Gimnasio Moderno, such as field trips and pedagogical excursions.
The Primary School continues with the educational efforts of the Preschool, attending to the comprehensive development of the students. The section provides them with the necessary elements to harmoniously develop their full potential in the spiritual, moral, social-emotional, mental and physical dimensions, enabling them to become young men with qualities and aptitudes that are valuable for their well-being and that of their community. We believe in an education that accepts that each student is unique and singular, with his or her own characteristics, possibilities and needs and, based on this conviction, we work towards building an educational community that respects and celebrates difference.
Section guidelines and objectives
The work on ethical and moral education in primary school has the following objectives:
- To promote the development of children’s moral autonomy, understood as the ability to make their own decisions based on moral values and reciprocal relationships. It is necessary to help them to recognize, make their own and assume values and attitudes that are transmitted to them through the different areas of socialization (family, school, society). As a consequence of this appropriation, the ability to act out of conviction is developed.
- To promote coherence between what is valued, what is said and what is done. They need to recognize that when they enter Primary, they are already able to use their freedom to choose how to respond to stimuli and situations. It is a matter of helping them to make a gradual transition from reactivity to proactivity. The result of this work with children is their ability to take responsibility for their choices, to make and keep agreements and to build a project for school life.
- Achieving these objectives requires acknowledging that every educational act has an ethical nature and, therefore, that every teacher and every member of the community is committed to the process of ethical education. It is essential to accept the need to be designers and facilitators of experiences, experiences and strategies specifically aimed at achieving them. The spaces dedicated to this work in primary school are: group directions, morning meetings, flag raising, excursions, retreats, workshops and specific work from the areas of faith education, social sciences and science.
The work in the academic education of the primary students of Gimnasio Moderno states the following objectives:
- Promote the connection with knowledge and encourage a taste for learning. “When our attitudes and perceptions are positive, learning is enriched. Working to generate and maintain positive attitudes toward learning is a responsibility shared by teachers and students,” as Marzano (1998) points out.
- Develop positive attitudes and perceptions towards each task, helping students to recognize their value and to recognize themselves as learners with the necessary skills to perform them. To this end, tasks and activities must be meaningful, connected to the interests and needs of the students, and aimed towards awakening their attention and encouraging discussion and debate. In the design of activities it is necessary to always consider the previous knowledge and cognitive demand required to carry them out.
- Develop positive attitudes and perceptions towards the classroom as a learning community. Each student should feel accepted, valued and important and all interactions should be framed by mutual respect, in order to build a sense of emotional security. Students should recognize their classrooms as safe, friendly and comfortable places; this requires establishing agreements and procedures that guarantee physical safety.
- To promote a culture of thought. Ron Ritchhart, (2014) proposes that “it is necessary to cultivate deep thought as a disposition, as a lasting feature, through three pedagogical practices: looking closely, exploring different possibilities and perspectives, and introducing ambiguity”. In that sense, if learning is a consequence of thinking, we must engage students in activities that demand deep thinking, that promote the flexible transfer of skills and knowledge to new contexts. Madeleine Hunter shares the idea that transfer is the basis of all creativity, problem solving and decision making.
- To promote a work culture characterized by effort and commitment to always give the best of oneself. “People are truly happy when they have achieved goals they have fought for. Happiness (…) has much more to do with the satisfaction of a personal effort. So educating happy people has to do with helping to build the tools to achieve goals and fulfill dreams. The degree of personal fulfillment is directly proportional to the work we invest in our purposes. (Mauricio Nieto, 2015).
- Promote intellectual autonomy. For as Kamii, (1985) points out “an intellectually autonomous person is a critical and creative thinker, who has his own well-founded opinion”. To achieve this objective our students must acquire knowledge by means of inner construction, through interaction with the environment. We must take advantage of their need to make sense of their environment by answering questions that intrigue them and motivate them to build knowledge by creating and coordinating relationships. We must also work so that their answers and conclusions are supported by well-founded and coherent reasons.
- Finally, education in Primary must enable our students to respond positively to all those opportunities, challenges, responsibilities and experiences that life in Middle School and High School will provide.
Middle School is the perfect environment for students to prepare for their academic and vocational life. Of course, it is fundamental to accompany them in this growth and to begin to give them the necessary tools so that in the future they can begin to build a life project
Middle School must shape character, develop personality, create habits of observation, study, reflection and work; guide and strengthen moral feeling; awaken ideals of service to the community. This is what we have tried to do in our school”. (Book La Escuela Activa, Selected Texts, Nieto Caballero, 1987, p. 68).
Guidelines and section objectives
The Middle School must provide students who have strengthened their habits and taken subjects that will allow them to make decisions about vocational issues for the semester. To this end, and taking into account the age of the students, work must be done to strengthen social and academic habits and a solid moral formation must be aimed at. By the end of ninth grade it is important that the student has the necessary habits and skills that are built from intra- and interdisciplinary work. Additionally, when working from adolescence, we must structure the student morally so that we can contribute to society with men who: “work for peace, social equity, environmental sustainability and democracy, from an ethical standpoint“. “…if the boy has not learned to study on his own in secondary education, what will he be able to do in life or in the course of his university studies,” a phrase published in the book of selection of texts by don Agustín, La Escuela Activa (Nieto Caballero, 1987, p. 82).
This section continues to cultivate a taste for learning, the development of positive attitudes towards learning, a willingness deepen in the fundamental concepts and make them more complex, and promotes the ability to develop critical thinking from argumentation, and creative exercise from the resolution of significant problems, so that the learning achieved promotes the transfer of these in real situations of use.
Now, given that at this stage in the development of students’ lives, what is fundamental is the recognition of oneself in relation to others, greater emphasis is placed on collaborative learning, group discussions, and the development of communicative competencies in interaction, since socialization and the link with others is fundamental in the construction of one’s personality, but also in the construction of knowledge, since it is recognized that the competencies of interpretation and intervention of each subject do not reside only in the individual, but in the cultural wealth distributed in each physical and social context.
The work in the academic education of the high school students of the Gimnasio Moderno raises the following objectives:
- Continue to promote a culture of thought development.
- Developing the ability of learning how to learn, since in today’s society it is more important than the content of learning itself.
- Strengthen the skills in order to inquire, select, choose and relate, as well as learn to communicate assertively, presenting arguments.
- Recognize that learning and knowledge are based on the diversity of opinions, approaches and perspectives.
- To understand the cultural contexts in which knowledge emerges, its correlations with history, economy and politics.
- Knowing in and for action. The idea of knowing in action, including bodily, experiential and cognitive interaction It is shared with Pérez (2012) that “human beings, instead of representing an independent world, act in a world, personalize it, intervene in it and accommodate it”.
- Developing creative thinking.
The formation of autonomy requires helping each person to review and reconstruct this complex world of representations, habits and beliefs. For this reason, the section promotes the development of strategies and processes to help students get to know themselves and make informed and personal decisions.
To emphasize the importance of knowing oneself is to be able to find meaning in one’s actions and to recognize that it is necessary to learn to esteem and love oneself and to know one’s own strengths and weaknesses, as well as their origin and possibilities for change. These are some of the aspects that are worked on at each level:
Sixth Grade. It is a grade that deserves special attention because it is the transition point between Primary and High School. The impact that this transition has on students is high and this means that a lot of work must be done on the imaginary of being the little ones among the big ones.
Seventh Grade. Seventh graders “play being big”. After a year of transition and adaptation, young men should enter seventh grade, provided they meet the requirements for it. On average, boys in this grade are 13 years old, adolescence is looming, and with it, their challenge to authority, their difficulty with order. Their identity crisis makes it hard to work with them. The “emotional attachment” with these boys is fundamental; a good or bad relationship with the adult depends on it.
Eighth Grade. Strengthening of learning and education structures Some anxieties are satisfied, others appear: the life of young men, the festivities and all that this implies are already present in these boys. In the eighth grade, many students strengthen their position within the group and acquire a greater degree of maturity.
Ninth Grade . The grade that ends Basic Education. Preparation for university life. Although ninth-year students are two years away from graduation, their preparation for university life begins now. What major to study? How to face the challenges of the future? This is the moment to close processes in which study habits and learning methodologies have been consolidated so that students can learn to learn by themselves.
As of the year 2000, semester schooling began to be implemented at the Gimnasio Moderno, a program that was born with the purpose of articulating secondary education (last two grades of schooling: tenth and eleventh) with higher education. The main objective of this section, through classes and morning meetings, group directions and excursions, among others, seeks to conclude the students’ educational process in the best way possible, forging leaders at the service of innovation, freedom and democracy.
Young men in this section range from 16 to 18 years of age, with many becoming legal adults in the eleventh grade. After having internalized school principles and values instilled from an early age, such as the Discipline of Trust, students think and act with freedom and autonomy within an order and ethical and moral values, which allow them to develop critical thinking, reflection and creativity.
Gradually, over four semesters, students gain more freedom, but also more responsibility. With a more flexible curriculum, driven by their interests and needs, students have the possibility to broaden their choice of subjects to be studied, allowing them to explore and deepen their vocations without forgetting some core subjects that respond to their needs and meet the expectations of the academic curriculum.
Guidelines and objectives of the section
- To follow up the educational and academic performance of the students.
- Assist and guide parents according to the needs of their children.
- To accompany and support teachers in their pedagogical work.
- Inform the educational community (students, parents and teachers) in a timely manner about the decisions made in the fourth section.
- Ensure that the academic and education programs that are led in the tenth and eleventh grades are carried out in an adequate manner.
- Establishing norms and limits having respect as a starting point.
- Design strategies for the comprehensive education of students.
- Promote spaces for dialogue between the various levels of the community (students, teachers and parents).
- Generate spaces where diverse study habits can be deepened, allowing students to appropriate crucial elements to take on the challenges of the university and of the world.
- Ensure a relevant and appropriate level of academic performance for the last two grades.
- Carry out periodic evaluations that allow reflection on self-knowledge and self-criticism regarding the teacher’s job.
- Invite families to be an active part of the commitment required for the formative development of their sons.
- To promote reading and writing processes within the section.
- To generate a spirit of collaboration.
Grade 10 (Terms I and II)
Students begin their adaptation to take on the challenges that come with the semester approach. In this first year they take compulsory subjects from the following areas: natural sciences (physics and chemistry), mathematics (calculus), social studies, English, Spanish and sports, and they choose three subjects: Professional Studies, In-depth Studies and Electives (art, music or languages).
- Professional Studies
With the support of the school’s Psychology Department, it develops a career guidance program for students to conduct a vocational exploration based on their talents and strengths. In addition, to invigorate this orientation, students take courses in various professions that allow them to expand their opportunities for selection. Most teachers are former students who return to the school to share their professional life experience
Grade 11 (Terms III and IV)
- Term III
In this termr students take compulsory subjects from the following areas: natural sciences (physics and chemistry), mathematics (calculus), social sciences, English, Spanish, sports training, research project, philosophy, text production and sports, and they choose three subjects: in-depth, electives (art, music) and languages.
- Term IV
In this last school period, students choose all their subjects and have the possibility of taking a subject of the university career that most attracts their attention, in the afternoon hours. They must also take an in-depth seminar, an elective, a basic subject, a tutorial, a technology subject, a language subject and a text production subject. The semester ends with the presentation to a jury of the research project that began in the third semester
As of 2013, the school has created a formal research space based on the development of critical thinking that aims to consolidate the spirit of curiosity of its students. Thus, in the company of a tutor, students prepare and present a research project that has their own interest at its core. In this way, the school cycle that began in Montessori ends, with those first investigations where the motivating questions generated spaces for action. The same idea of providing the student with an enriching experience, as Dewey points out, is still latent in this school period, since it is a way of continuing to enrich oneself cognitively, socially and personally.
In the preparation of the projects, in the search for the question, desire appears as the motor that drives action, the search for answers or why not, to continue asking questions, since it is in the constant search, in desire, that passions are built, but it also constitutes an invitation to put into play the knowledge built up to this point, their thinking skills, so that from them, they can recognize their environment and recognize themselves in that context as subjects who build reflective proposals on knowledge and their way of approaching it.
Standardized Tests (SABER)
With the Academic Advisory of third party experts in the field, the school has had the opportunity to evaluate, diagnose and give feedback to the students’ knowledge. Throughout the four semesters, students receive guidance and tools from the school on the structure of the State Test, as well as the performance of simulations that allow them to take the State Test with greater confidence.
Approach to the university
The school has signed agreements with universities such as Los Andes, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, El Rosario, Sergio Arboleda, La Sabana, Jorge Tadeo Lozano, among others, where our students take one or a maximum of two subjects of their interest, which will be endorsed by the corresponding university, in case they enroll there. The frontiers of knowledge are further extended with the university subject chosen by the students at the beginning of the fourth semester. This subject is optional, can be seen in the afternoon and has the purpose that students find an enriching experience that allows them to recognize if the projections and choices they will make in the immediate future are the most appropriate.
In class at the Technology Laboratory.
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