A WELCOME addition to the educational offerings here in the Costa, Alma Forest School will soon be expanding into Middle School year groups from its current pre-school and primary offering. During our recent visit, we had the chance to learn more about its progressive curriculum where classes are small, and where both teachers and students are enthusiastic and motivated to be there to learn, explore and discover new things together.
A progressive school with an international program fully accredited in Spain, Alma Forest makes learning come alive by drawing from the local environment as well as the outdoors, and taking students beyond their beautiful finca, to the beach, the forest or further afield to support a meaningful learning experience. And one of the things that really stood out was how much of the curriculum is co-created with the students and guided by their interests.
Students have literacy and numeracy workshops similar to those you might find in international schools around the globe. But one of the factors that sets the school apart is the explorations around topics requested by the students. At the time of our visit, the students in the Primary School were just starting their investigation of the Universe & Black Holes and there was a buzz and tangible excitement as the students recounted their experiences and discoveries to date. Explorations are very much up to the interests of the students and in the past, Explorations have focused on Salt, Photography, Evolution, and The Future, just to name a few.
In addition to these Explorations, students also spend time working on their own projects. Freely choosing these projects, they plan them and manage their own time in order to complete them. Even the youngest students quickly learn how to map out their work, use real tools, to sew and how to conduct research. Students develop resilience and perseverance while finding and following their own passions.
The foundations for the independence and responsibility that the students in the Primary School exhibit have been laid in the Alma Escuela Bosque (pre-school) years. In this part of the school for children aged 3-6, students are offered teacher-led activities, independent activities corresponding to a weekly theme, or exploration and play in the wonderful outside space full of materials, tools, trees and dens. An environment which honours the magic of childhood.
On the whole, students aged 3-14 years old at Alma Forest School seemed very much at home in their school, confident in their learning and happy to be there.
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