Across the world, children as young as 4 year olds, attend school for seven to eight hours a day (similar to a full work day for adults). Once they arrive at home, a whole set of school work awaits. At Academia Cotopaxi’s Elementary Division, this work has been redesigned so that children are engaging in the work of “childhood.” Traditional homework has been shifted to a home learning approach that intends to foster creativity, social-emotional growth, a growth mindset and healthy overall development; empowering children to become critical thinkers and problem solvers.
Our approach is research based. We recognize the power that reading has on academic performance and the positive effect it has on relationships. Students read at home for 20 minutes either independently or with an adult who reads to them. There is also important evidence that highlights that, homework in the elementary grades may not be as beneficial to student achievement as we once thought, and in some cases, possibly detrimental to a child’s attitude toward learning, affecting even the parent-child relationship. If you’d like to read up on some of the research, please check out the links at the end of this message.
We envision time at home to be filled with possibilities for children. Parents share that they have time to play, to explore, to create, to enjoy family time and the absence of traditional homework also allows time for them to extend their learning in areas that they are intrigued by or interested in. We know that many passions and interests are being developed at home, and have invited students to work on personal inspiration projects. Projects relate to children’s individual passions through a desire to solve a problem (big or small), make an improvement, invent or re-invent. Learning that is authentic, motivates children in powerful ways.
Students share their inspiration projects at school during showcase times. All children shine and inspire. Showcase opportunities are designed to be by students and for students. Projects are student-centered, which means the child selects the content identifying the problem or guiding question, as well as, the pace and modality of his/her own learning. Parents support students by documenting their journey through photos and videos, supporting reflection. It is exciting to watch projects evolve and to see students engage in design-based, creative, and authentic inspirations!
Project engagement aside, other benefits include more quality family time and time to pursue interests outside of school; such as sports, artistic ventures, community activism, or plain play-time. We are invested in childhood and will continue to strive to bring children the best of possibilities.
We are sharing a template for students to jot down their process:
Some research about homework: If you’d like to read up on some of the research, please check out the following links:
By Paola Torres de Pereira
Elementary School Principal