Classroom Connections: New Village School
“When we learned about Nainoa Thompson, the Hōkūleʻa crew and the mission of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, we knew we had found kindred souls…. Our school was grown to give opportunities to students to understand the past and the repercussions of behaviors that influence our present so they can navigate in a completely new way toward a future that has the agency to affect positively.”
The New Village School in Sausalito, California reached out to the PVS Education Team and Network to find out how they could get involved in sharing and supporting the message of Hōkūleʻa and Mālama Honua in their school and community. We learned so much about their amazing school, and asked if we could share with all of you. Please read on for the story they shared with us, and check out the New Village School Blog to see what other inspiring things are happening at the school.
If you have a story you want to share of a School, Organization or Community that is doing their part to live the values of Mālama Honua, encourage them to contact our Ed Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The New Village School, located in Sausalito, California is transforming education for children in the Bay Area. The New Village is more than a school; it’s an extended family community that “cultivates an atmosphere in which children can remain inquisitive and are allowed to become deeply capable and responsible (http://tnvs.org).” The School community strives to create an environment where everyone feels safe to be vulnerable, honest and authentic (http://tnvs.org).” The New Village School is a place where all community members — faculty and staff, parents and students, — feel responsible for everyone’s well-being and learn together. Children and adults engage in deep and meaningful relationships, and all the children Kindergarten through 8th grade interact in purposeful and intentional ways throughout the day. As a result, teachers are better able to help students in developing and flourishing as human beings.
The School’s curriculum, inspired by the work of Rudolf Steiner, focuses on human development and meeting the needs of children who will grow up in a 21st century world. A very strong emphasis is placed on the relationships that exist within the school community, and how relationships can make learning truly meaningful. Students are encouraged to be and supported in becoming intrinsically motivated in their learning. Content is taught through integrated and interdisciplinary units and is embedded in real-life learning.
One amazing aspect of their curriculum is the individual projects students work on starting in the 3rd grade. In the early years the project, students are given the necessary guidance and support to allow them to be successful. As they move through the program students are encouraged to take on more and more responsibility and seek out resources in the greater community. By the 8th grade, students are often able to initiate their individual project based on their own field of interest.
Another unique aspect of the New Village School is the Classroom Without Walls Program. Through this program, each child spends one day a week outside the classroom learning through hands-on exploration, inquiry, discovery and experience. Students engage in environmental science and service projects; visit local farms, gardens and ranches; travel to places of cultural and historical interest. During these weekly learning journeys, students also have opportunities to go kayaking, hiking, sailing and rock climbing. As one teacher put it, “We believe that school is an actual extension of home; school is a part of life and learning takes place everywhere (http://tnvs.org/akademeia/classroom_without_walls_program).”
The Classroom Without Walls Program helps the students to get to know their place and the natural phenomena that exist there. The students also learn to feel comfortable and capable in their bodies and in nature. The opportunities offered by the program also enable students to develop the skills and confidence they need to be engaged in the real world.
The New Village School community is also committed to connecting with other schools and learning communities. This past year, the New Village School invited 8th graders and high school students from around the Bay Area to a two-day youth conference, Now Is The Time. During the conference, students engaged in conversations about empathy, understanding and compassion; what it means to be personally engaged in the world; authentic giving and service. With the help of local community experts, students developed personal action plans for themselves moving forward.
The School’s teachers and leadership recently learned about Hōkūleʻa and the mission of the Worldwide Voyage, and was inspired to reach out and connect with the crew. “When we learned about Nainoa Thompson, the Hōkūleʻa crew and the mission of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, we knew we had found kindred souls” said Meinir Davies, head of the New Village School. “In a very deep sense, our school was grown to give opportunities to students to understand the past and the repercussions of behaviors that influence our present so they can navigate in a completely new way toward a future that has the agency to affect positively. With an awareness of our interdependence/inter-reliance amongst all living beings, an absolute reverence for all living beings and by allowing ourselves to feel our compassion and connectedness as we steadfastly remain open and sensitive are, we believe, absolute requirements in order to be able to do this.”
Check out the New Village School Blog to see what other inspiring things are happening at the school. If you have a story you want to share of a School, Organization or Community that is doing their part to live the values of Mālama Honua, we encourage you to contact our Ed Team at email@example.com.