How does it all work?

Livingston’s visions and values

Our pupil is a child who is self-confident, knows her strengths, is able to navigate difficult situations and is eager to learn more.

School as a place for life

Learning brings better results when it is based on a desire to discover and on inner-motivation. It means the child gets a chance to take initiative and to go his own way. If children are provided with sufficient time and space to develop this innate ability, they themselves will want to learn new things. Our school provides an inspiring educational environment that enhances inquisitiveness and the desire to learn. Part of this environment is created by respecting and holding esteem for a child as an equal partner. Children take part in setting rules for the operation of the school through open discussions. This is how the school creates a democratic environment, where everyone shares responsibility for their education and life as such.

Many studies on the brain have shown shown that what it’s inner motivation that matters for in terms of long-termime memory and effective learning is inner motivation. In other words, it is not enough to hear or see a piece of information- but theone’s interest itself in the information is equally as important. Interest is closely tight tied to children’s inquisitiveness, that which represents their main instrument tool at this age of for exploring and getting to know the world at this age. They are eager to find out new things, which is something to bethat should consistently be supported by others permanentlythose around them. What we want to tell them is often not what they want to know, but it is okay if one supplements the other. At our school, children are supported and encouraged to find and discover their interests, and to be impressed by such pieces of knowledge that are usually a part of school subjects and that are often considered a ‘necessary evil’. Children’s abilities are also developed unwittinglyunconsciously. Various activities and discussions during the learning process help them to understand the world better.
Everybody at the school makes decisions about school rules. Everybody can make a proposal that will be discussed. Every single vote has equal value during the decision-making process; it doesn’t matter if this vote is a pupil’s or a teacher’s. This democratic principle teaches children to think over various aspects and to articulate their thoughts; to implement their own proposals as well as to understand the other party and to solve conflicts and disagreements rationally. It teaches children to communicate, and not to be lost in a crowd. Communication, self-articulation and understanding are not just marginal, theoretical topics, but the essence of a team which works well.
Many studies on the brain have shown shown that what it’s inner motivation that matters for in terms of long-termime memory and effective learning is inner motivation. In other words, it is not enough to hear or see a piece of information- but theone’s interest itself in the information is equally as important. Interest is closely tight tied to children’s inquisitiveness, that which represents their main instrument tool at this age of for exploring and getting to know the world at this age. They are eager to find out new things, which is something to bethat should consistently be supported by others permanentlythose around them. What we want to tell them is often not what they want to know, but it is okay if one supplements the other. At our school, children are supported and encouraged to find and discover their interests, and to be impressed by such pieces of knowledge that are usually a part of school subjects and that are often considered a ‘necessary evil’. Children’s abilities are also developed unwittinglyunconsciously. Various activities and discussions during the learning process help them to understand the world better.
Relationships between adults (teachers) and children are based on mutual respect and friendship. We create a joyful and welcoming environment where children can ask about anything they want to know, without any worries. The learning process is then natural, and based on an equal relationship. When the child knows that she is not constantly being assessed and judged, she feels safe and is able to foster an equal relationship with the teacher. If someone understands the importance of a free declaration of their own opinions and needs, they are then better at empathising with the needs of others.
Trusting that the child is able to make the right choices is a key thing for our teachers. It doesn‘t make a difference to the teacher if she deals with a six-year-old or an eleven-year old. The child is always an equal partner in communication. Their relationship is based on mutual respect and there is no superior-inferior relationship. We believe that the child wants to learn with the same enthusiasm he learned to walk or talk without having to be urged to. The same type of trust should be given to the child by his parents as well.
Only happy children can experience meaningful learning. Our school is a school children love going to. ‘Joy’ may sound trivial to some, but we see this as our main goal. We want the children to feel that they are an integral part of the school, and that they matter. They enjoy the moments spent together when they learn something new. We believe that discovering relationships and taking care of someone is a very important experience.

Benefits of our school – why us?

Smaller groups than at state schools(maximum 18 pupils per teacher) make it possible for the teacher to get to know your child; to have some individual time with them, and to adjust the pace or talk about a topic in more detail. These class sizes also lead children to cooperate better among themselves.
We care about what children enjoy, and we watch closely if learning makes sense for them. We don’t want them to learn abstract rules by heart. We want children to know why they are learning something, and what it is good for. We let them decide about what they want to find out and what they want to discuss.
A child pursues her inner compulsions. The teacher supports this. He helps a child to find the focus of her interests; developing her areas of strength. The child gets a chance to discover and realize where her talents and abilities are taking her. She expands her knowledge in various areas, and realizes what she is good at. The child experiences success based on her satisfaction with the self, and not based on the traditional school environment which focuses on comparison with others.
Our teachers’ job is not to check on children, but to be advisors and assistants on the child’s journey of knowledge. They inspire the children, helping them to discover new things, but keeping the prescribed milestones in mind and offering them well-prepared topics, activities and games. The teachers know the children, as well as each child’s stage of development, strengths and weaknesses.
The fact that children’s results are not evaluated (marked) creates a relaxed atmosphere. We also do away with orders and time limits (e.g. no 45-minute teaching units or bell-ringing). Children do not have to be afraid to fail a test or to realize they are ‘not good enough’ because someone else can do one thing better. Children don’t need to experience a sore tummy in the morning before going to school. If they are not used to getting As or reward stickers, they definitely won’t need these things for motivation. Learning through experience is so interesting that they will enjoy it, and don’t need to be pushed by rewards or punishments.
The time and level of effort he devotes to learning is completely in each child’s hands. Thus, a child has the unique opportunity to learn how to be responsible from scratch. The child finds out that he himself influences what goes on at school, because the teacher can react to his potential and interests. And the child is able to identify himself with the learning process. The usual question: “Why do we need to know this?” is omitted, as the child can answer it himself.
Children learn to deal with others in a natural way. They have a lot of opportunities to negotiate for and defend their own opinions with others, and to take various aspects of learning and communication into account. The risk of bullying is minimized. A respectful and welcoming atmosphere reduces the risk of bullying, as opposed to an environment where performance is the most important point. Having performance as the focus, and evaluating results (marking) often results in grouping the children against weaker individuals, assuring themselves in their superiority. In teams where children are not rewarded or punished, no unhealthy habits or strategies (such as children trying to gratify or please the ‘authority’, or avoiding any kind of confrontation of their opinions) occur.
A respectful and welcoming environment is much more likely to be free from school bullying than a performance and competition-based environment. A focus on performance and its evaluation (marks and grades) often leads to situations when children group together against weaker individuals, asserting their superiority. In an environment where children are not rewarded or punished, no unhealthy habits and strategies appear whereby children try to gratify and/or please the authority figures or to avoid situations where their opinions are confronted.
We know that because this method of education is so demanding, it’s essential for teachers to have the right personality. We care about choosing the right teachers. We understand that it’s the professional outlook, as well as personal characteristics of the teacher that are important. We make it possible for the children to experience meaningful learning. We connect topics which need to be covered into greater units, making up teaching blocks of more subjects. The prevailing method is project-based learning, which is interdisciplinary. Children take part in choosing the projects, which results in exploration of topics that are popular with the children, and that make sense to them. We notice what is going on in the school’s surroundings and in public life, and we react to it.  Projects are linked to real life, and aspire to engage with it. What children learn in the classroom is thus not far removed from what happens outside.
We connect topics which need to be covered into greater units, making up teaching blocks of more subjects. The prevailing method is project-based learning, which is interdisciplinary. Children take part in choosing the projects, which results in exploration of topics that are popular with the children, and that make sense to them. We notice what is going on in the school’s surroundings and in public life, and we react to it.  Projects are linked to real life, and aspire to engage with it. What children learn in the classroom is thus not far removed from what happens outside.

Our pupils and future

Will our pupils be able to succeed later in life? Given the speed at which our society develops, and the fact that no-one actually knows now which abilities or what knowledge will be vital for people in the future, it is very difficult to answer such a question. What we are sure of is that the characteristics, abilities and skills that our school enhances in children will play an important role. These are, especially:

Staying open and interested in the world around us, and in further education

Accepting new views and forming one’s own opinions about the world

Cooperating with each other, and planning together

Being able to make decisions and think independently

Self-motivation and staying active

Being empathetic and sympathetic

What you need to know

School starts at 8.30. Children learn in ‘learning blocks’, and through projects. They work in teams, discuss things together, and learn from one another- even across different school years. Breaks are taken according to the situation and individual children’s needs.
After school, we offer an attractive programme every day until 6 pm. Children make their timetable of activities together with their parents. Activities include an outdoor programme, sports, cooking club, readers club, drumming or ‘puzzle-solving workshops, arts and crafts or music. The school cooperates with Livingston’s Leisure Centre, which offers even more courses and English programmes.
Most of the photos of the children are on our school’s Google drive, which is only accessible to our clients. Only a few of them are published on our web or social networks, always upon parents’ approval.
We go on a trip or an excursion at least twice per month. We also keep in mind how important it is to spend some time outdoors. We use the school roof when learning, and our schoolyard during breaks.
We have a speech therapist at our school every week. Children work in individual sessions with her. The school’s team also includes a pedagogy advisor and a school psychologist.
Each classroom has been fitted with tablets, and the most advanced interactive displays. The technology we have is not just used for the sake of it; it is used for concrete areas of learning, as the teacher considers suitable. The technology helps meet the set pedagogic goals.
We have an external provider of food, which is made of quality ingredients. Children can choose between two meals every day. Catering for one day includes a morning snack, hot lunch, an afternoon snack and drinks, and costs 100 CZK.
We are an environmentally friendly school, and sort waste for recycling. The school is not in the city centre, but in the healthy and clean environment of Čakovice, a part of Prague 9.
Our pupils get to meet interesting people. Every month we organise a discussion about an interesting topic with our children’s parents, which is also accessible to the public. Parents, children and employees alike come to themed events hosted by Livingston’s Leisure Centre.