The Skye College Thriveway is a journey of learning opportunities and interactions that will prepare your child with the competencies, knowledge and habits needed to thrive – today and in the future.
Research driven education to thrive in life
Innovation for the sake of innovation? Never. At Skye College we don’t do fads. We follow real research with a deep commitment to do what works best. That’s why we comfortably combine hands-on, wooden Montessori Math materials developed in the 50s with computer programmes that determine math-gaps and help kids catch up. They both work. They work even better together.
Our research-based methodology allows us to move beyond commitment to a single approach, or a certain methodology, curriculum or textbook. Because we have a deep understanding of what works in pedagogy as well as a firm grasp on what it means to thrive, we can craft an education that truly serves the needs of kids today and sets them up for success – not just at a job, but at real life.
When you start with what is proven to work, and you redefine curriculum objectives to no less than success at life, school looks very different.
Knowledge and competencies that set your child up to thrive
At Skye College, we will equip your child to reach their full potential. We focus on the knowledge and competencies needed to thrive in the 21st century. Life and career; information, media and technology literacy; financial and entrepreneurial literacy; creative intelligence; critical thinking – all built on a solid foundation of numeracy and literacy.
Responsive teaching of co-created curriculum
At Skye College, teachers are guided by, and work towards the outcomes of the *Cambridge curriculum and its exams. However, curriculum guidance is balanced with flexibility. Our teachers are actively engaged in co-creating curriculum that is responsive to the needs of the class and are free to incorporate learners’ interests and contexts.
Teachers also intentionally apply evidence-based strategies that help children learn as they are naturally wired to learn. In other words, our teachers don’t have just one way of teaching. Through ongoing professional development, our teachers are equipped to facilitate direct instruction, relationship-driven peer learning, enquiry-based learning, project-based learning, expeditionary learning and more. Because teachers are equipped with multiple evidence-based strategies, their teaching can be responsive to the needs of the content, task and the class.
*Skye College is in the process of registering as a Cambridge Associate School through our partnership with the GenEx Institute. We are currently awaiting our final site visit. For more information, please visit Cambridge | GenEx Institute.
Concrete, sensorially-rich learning experiences and movement
The research is clear – young children learn best through concrete, sensorially-rich experiences and movement – yet schools continue to fight to keep kids in their seats.
At Skye College Preparatory School level our children learn through hands-on manipulation of expertly designed Montessori manipulatives. These materials make the abstract world of math and language concrete and easy to understand and master – setting the child up for success by “giving to the hands” what you would “give to the mind” (Maria Montessori). Practical hands-on projects and experiential learning takes learning off the page – placing it squarely in the real world and firmly in the mind.
Movement is used to unlock learning. Sometimes movement is quiet and orderly as children respectfully move around, collect and retrieve equipment and quietly collaborate with others. At other times, movement is more exuberant as we dance, chant and march our way through our work.
Integrated learning across subjects
At Skye College children experience integrated learning across subjects, as in real life. This allows children to develop a deep and comprehensive understanding of the world they live in.
Self-paced individualised learning for deep mastery
At a typical school, the child progresses at the average speed of the class and must achieve very low levels of mastery to be “passed” to the next grade. The fact that learning is not individualized means that many kids, even if they “pass”, will accumulate learning gaps while other kids will be bored and disengaged.
At Skye College the emphasis is on truly mastering content, rather than on completing assignments or achieving a passing mark. This sets the child up for success in high school math and language and helps them develop a love of these important subjects.
Math and language are sequential subjects, and all children climb the steps of these subjects in order. However, they do not all climb at the same speed, and they don’t spend the same amount of time on each step.
Because each child moves through the learning steps at his own pace, no superficial limit to learning exists. The child may progress as fast and far as he is able – often faster and further than grade level.
Classes that maximise social and academic learning
In a typical school, children have a new teacher and new class each year and mix only with a narrow cohort of children their own age. This does not prepare children for the complexity and diversity of real-world relationships and provides little opportunity for leadership, mentorship or peer learning – a powerful predictor of student achievement.
At Skye College learners are still placed in traditional grades. However, for a part of the day they follow a self-paced learning journey, focused on math and English, in a mixed-grade classroom. Mixed-grade classrooms create the perfect environment for children to experience mentorship, develop leadership skills and experience peer learning. Children spend three years in this same mixed-grade morning classroom, allowing deep relationships to develop with friends and teachers.
During the second part of the day, focused on science and other thrive goals, learning takes place in a same-age cohort. Children also form part of a larger school community and take part in many activities with other classes, working with other teachers on shared projects.
Together, these classroom configurations maximise social and academic learning.
Nurturing family connection
In a typical school, homework places a significant strain on after school family time even though there is clear evidence that homework has a negligible impact on student achievement at primary school level, with very little impact at higher levels.
At Skye College, homework is mostly unnecessary because class-time is highly efficient and effective. We understand that after-school time is sacred for families, and so we include parents in their child’s learning journey in a way that enriches, rather than strains, this time. Does curling up on the coach together with a good book sound nice? We think so too.
Flexible real-world learning
In a typical school learning is mostly restricted to a set of square classrooms with few real-world and real-work links. At Skye College we learn everywhere and anywhere. Our facilities are flexible and expertly designed to accommodate multiple types of learning experiences. Through fieldtrips, expeditions, class visits, service trips and workplace internships (high school) we create strong links between our learning experiences and the real world.
Contributing to learn
In a typical school, the child is viewed as a vessel to be filled… The main focus is on providing learning experiences for the child, with little or no opportunity for the child to learn by contributing. At Skye College we not only learn to contribute, but we contribute to learn: Our learners know what it is to be good world citizens and use their knowledge and skills to contribute towards one (or more) of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. In the process, they learn valuable skills and a vital global perspective for a future world.
Bringing learning to life
In a typical school, content is often presented stripped of the human context and sense of wonder that would make it relevant, interesting and valuable to the child as a human being (dry facts / textbook style instruction). At Skye College we use multi-media and technology, hands-on experiences and living books to bring the wonders of our natural and human world to life. From the microscopic to the macroscopic – we love to leave kids awed.
A focus on feedback for mastery, rather than assessment
At Skye College we understand the power of effective feedback. Feedback from student to teacher keeps lessons appropriately challenging and helps the teacher to adjust her teaching now and improve her teaching over time. Feedback from teacher to student, including assessments, are always focused on achieving deep mastery and application. Tests and exams, as well as the Cambridge Curriculum exams, are still used within the context of mastery in order to benchmark results against international standards. But in addition to these tests and exams, ongoing multi-method assessments adds value to the learning process by providing the kind of immediate “just now – just for me” feedback that kids need to learn optimally.
The Thriveway difference
Education is in crisis, and the statistics are disturbing.