At this stage we provide a solid foundation for what is to come. Dragon American School aims to provide a range of opportunities for an optimal individual development.
We take very much into account:
This is the most important and serious activity during these first years. Through Free Play, children “play” the world. They take the experiences from the real world to their own universe. It is a continuous rehearsal of the transformation of reality.
Each child starts a game and develops it. While children are playing, teachers keep close watch on them monitoring the game, paying attention to every step and focusing on providing the learning opportunities that they need. Teachers try not to interfere directly in their game, but yet, they manage to intervene discreetly so as not to disrupt their initiatives and self-regulation. Hence, teachers will add or take away material and prepare the space to meet their game needs. Teachers would only interfere when it is absolutely necessary, i.e. conflicts or unexpected situations of frustration caused by the development of the game.
Free Play is not about playing by themselves, as they would do when they go the park, nor playing at home without adult supervision, Free Play takes place when it is supervised by an adult who is fully present and completely focused in the process. It can only be carried out by a clam and smooth presence, through observation and being available in case they need something. Good quality Free Play evolves through different stages: sensory play, motor skills games, symbolic play and cooperative games. There are individual games and group games.
These activities are set by teachers in order to achieve specific purposes such as individual and social skills development, cognitive development and subject content learning. Always, aiming to accomplish a profound cognitive development, i.e., focusing more on teaching strategy acquisition, resources and skills rather than on teaching the content per se. Inevitably, academic contents are also part of this, but they are not our main concern.
Our guided activities or workshops are music, drama, logical mathematical reasoning (pre-math), literacy, natural science, cooking, creative expression, yoga, breathing, psychomotricity, “garbage day” (picking up rubbish around our school – gloves provided), excursions, etc…
• Emotional support
• Discovery learning
• Making a difference
• Skills acquisition
• Education based on the surprise factor
• Initiative and autonomy
• Functional development
free of conflicts, without noise or unnecessary materials. We use fine natural materials such as wood, stone, metal, cotton, wool, etc… These materials possess enriching properties such as different textures, smells, temperatures, weight and volume whereas plastic, is a very poor material that hardly changes no matter the object.
No matter what the weather is like – may there be rain, snow or wind- our garden is always part of Dragonfly´s daily plan. As the saying goes “there is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing”. With the right clothing we can make the most of nature as a great pedagogical resource.
Adults are educators who accompany the children in their processes and are considered another resource. Therefore, teachers are not the main actors, they do not impose their presence with their voice, body language or dominant position. Hence our main priority are the children.
All this takes place in a bilingual environment where English is not taught but acquired in a natural way
Our team consists of four professionals full of energy who have a great vocation for teaching: three native English-speaking teachers and one Spanish teacher with a good command of English. There is a coordinator, a main teacher and a teaching assistant.
English acquisition shows an inverse development compared to math, i.e. as children grow, our brain tends to improve abstract math knowledge and usually reaches its peak when they reach the age of 25. On the contrary, when it comes to learning English, the earlier exposure to a second language the easier it will be to learn it and the better the process of consolidation.
This system enables Spanish-speaking children to learn English in just a few months acquiring stunning results in both, comprehension and production of the language. Moreover, children acquire a great pronunciation in a short time, and they end up being capable of handling everyday living situation in both languages. This is a precious gift that they will carry forever, and it will even enable them to acquire other languages, including the technological and mathematical language.