School Type: Urban
Year Elected: 2014
The Kairos School of Inquiry is an independent and alternative school created by a group of teachers and parents — many of whom have prior experience in the citizen sector — who were unsatisfied with most educational models out there for their children. Kairos has been piloting a very innovative approach to a free-thinking, highly inquisitive and deeply learner-centered educational approach that draws from several methodologies from across the globe. Empathy, self-worth and collaboration are key values at Kairos, and learners experience and lead them in practice every day.
An essential component at Kairos is that the children have a real voice in shaping it. The students recognize that the school has ever-renewing systems and an ever-renewing curriculum, and is always in the process of exploring what works best for learning and for social harmony. Moreover, the students feel empowered to make contributions to these systems and the curriculum, such that there is scope for the curriculum to be customized by learners themselves.
Innovations that enable students to take ownership of their own learning include: (1) Marshall Rosenberg’s principle of Non-Violent Communication, including his methods of achieving it (through expressing Facts, Feelings, Needs and Requests), which Kairos uses for conflict resolution; (2) The use of facilitation techniques, based on Jungian psychology, to help teachers inquire into their past baggage, so as to work with their subconscious projections and biases; (3) Formative and continuous assessment is emphasized above grades and standardized testing, so that anxiety and academic pressure are minimized, also including self-assessment and, in-time, will include facilitated peer assessment; (4) Use of teaching rhythms, the storytelling curriculum and the playground games curriculum, of the Waldorf (Steiner) Schools; (5) Pairing children into a termly mentor-mentee relationship, and many others.
- Kieran Egan’s innovation of Learning in Depth, where each child from Grade 3 upwards receives a personal research topic to become an expert in extramurally, and the same topic lasts all their years in school.
- Use of a school currency, Kairosses, that the children use to initiate mini-businesses with each other (this was an idea created by the learners themselves).