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St. Nicholas School applies an innovative method in the education of its students

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The international curriculum stimulates student innovation, critical thinking, and creativity

Bringing innovation and going beyond conventional thinking is one of the premises of St. Nicholas School to assist in the learning process of its students from Early Years (Preschool) to Secondary (Elementary II and High School).

The school’s pedagogical approach, which adopts international curriculum programs from IBO (International Baccalaureate Organization), allows students to build their knowledge and develop an understanding of concepts.

That is the essence of learning at school so that children can develop their talents, curiosities, and abilities to find solutions. In Early Years and Primary, the IBO’s adopted international curriculum is the PYP (Primary Years Programme).

In Secondary, students navigate the MYP (Middle Years Programme – from sixth to tenth grades) and the DP (Diploma Programme – in the last two years of high school).

“From their first years of learning, in the Early Years, children are encouraged to investigate, explore, and connect with materials and materialities of different origins and, in doing so, acquire an attitude that they can make or create something with their own hands. Everything is designed with pedagogical intentionality and curation of specific materials”, explains Conrado Ferreira Krainer, atelierista in the Early Years at St. Nicholas School. 

From the partnership between the atelierista and the educators, the last ones can continue the learning experiences in the Atelier so children can go back to their research multiple times, revisiting and deepening their knowledge. 

“St. Nicholas created a learning concept that connects the transdisciplinary units of inquiry of the PYP (Primary Years Programme) according to children’s curiosity. We also incredibly value the process that can bring results such as a painting or a sculpture, for example, but what we aim at is the learning during these investigation moments”, says Conrado. 

Natural and industrial materials like seeds, wood, leaves, wool yarns, and spools make up a vast repertoire in creating teaching contexts for children to investigate.

It all begins with an invitation, an invitation to move, touch, smell, experiment, have their hands on and, this way, get involved with that material displayed for the child, being technology an ally for the child’s research and introduced with the use of a digital microscope, overhead projector, lanterns, photography cameras, and computer programs. 

“The results obtained are many, both in familiarity that children have with the materials, in addition to the experiences, reflections, and considerations, especially during the ‘moving forward’ circles, when they reflect upon what they have done and will do. We mainly see the evolution in the children’s relationships, the way they collaborate, interact and learn from each other,” concludes Conrado.

In Primary, or Elementary School I, the school continues focusing on the development of skills and competencies, and the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Maths) project is designed by the Primary robotics teacher, Fabricio da Silveira Laurenti:

“We try to find connections between my area, robotics, and what the students are learning in the unit of inquiry of the PYP transdisciplinary program. It is an area of application. The concepts are worked on with the class teachers, and I develop with them projects aimed at solving real-life problems in an imaginary way, according to their age, using STEAM”.

At this stage, the focus is also on learning to work in groups, developing motor skills, and understanding a little about programming. “We try to show them how to make good use of resources since it is noticeable that they are great technology operators, but here we want them to learn to create their technology, making their own game and not just playing it,” adds Fabricio. 

For the older students, in Sencondary, in the Elementary II phase, STEAM becomes a subject named ‘Design’ based on the design thinking method. “In every meeting of this subject, students are challenged to solve problems of all kinds, big or small, management, architecture, engineering, and social, among others. We cover graphic design, product design, technology, programming, prototype building, etc,” observes Bob Nogueira, Design Coordinator in Secondary Years. 

And he highlights: “As a result, we notice that students understand the application of knowledge in their lives. The same model they make here an architect shows their clients in their professional lives. With that, we can say that STEAM encourages students to go beyond classroom boundaries, transferring these skills and applying them in multiple aspects of life”, concludes teacher Bob.


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