Our pedagogy is based on the work of Loris Malaguzzi, an Italian pedagogue and founder of the Reggio Emilia educational philosophy, which is widely considered to be the best educational approach in the world. Malaguzzi was able to bring together the best of various pedagogues such as Maria Montessori, Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, Erik Erikson and John Dewey to develop his own that places the child at the center of the educational experience.
Perhaps the best testaments to the success of this approach can be found in the city of Reggio Emilia, Italy itself, as well as the public education systems of the Scandinavian countries, among others, which are based on the foundations of the Reggio Emilia philosophy and apply across all levels of education. These countries have occupied the top rankings in quality of education for decades.
Students learn the scientific method through collaborative research projects, thereby developing their capacity for analytical thought. Any mistakes that may arise during their research are taken as learning opportunities.
Strong socioemotional foundation
The skills that our students develop are not only cognitive, but also social and emotional. A sound socioemotional foundation enables academic and artistic development to flourish.
At Hábitat Learning Community®, we recognize that children have many diverse ways of expressing themselves. For this reason, we encourage their creativity through many different channels: a wide range of audiovisual and plastic arts, music, movement, dance, and oral and written communication, among others. Our artistic, culinary, psychomotor, and music ateliers offer the children an opportunity to choose from many different “languages” to demonstrate their creativity.
We believe in the importance of pedagogic documentation as a learning tool for children and adults, and it is the most essential way that we give visibility to our work with the children. This kind of documentation allows the cognitive processes of children and adults to be understood and recorded over time. This process also allow us to conduct a reflective analysis of our metacognitive processes and our individual and collective actions. It allows us to see how we are communicating verbally and emotionally and to analyze our decisions and their effects.
Our English immersion program offers children the opportunity to learn and develop complete fluency in a second language. Students develop their language abilities by strengthening their mother tongue while learning English. We use a pedagogy based on the most recent studies, which demonstrate the importance of acquiring a foreign language from an early age.
The students learn English through the research projects and all other activities carried out during the day at our campus, where English is the language of instruction.
Our service learning program actively involves students in a wide range of experiences that benefit others and the community both within and outside our campus, while also advancing the goals the curriculum.
Learning occurs naturally
Based on those same foundations, learning occurs naturally at Hábitat Learning Community based on actual needs and on the children’s own curiosity and interests.
We are aware of the central role of play in childhood, and we acknowledge its importance as the primary tool for childhood learning. Play is the means whereby the child develops motor skills, creativity, and abstract thought. It is through play that children learn strategies for social interaction and to express their way of seeing and understanding the world.
In addition to academic and socioemotional learning, our community also places great value on the physical health of its members, fostering healthy eating habits in our culinary and garden atelier as well as through our sports program and the psychomotricity atelier.
Afterschool / Extracurricular program
Students at Hábitat Learning Community have a wide range of options to continue learning after normal school hours. They can choose from activities in our extracurricular program such as basketball, yoga, swimming, robotics, music and languages, among others.
Children are the main protagonists in the educational experience we offer. Our image of the child as a competent citizen, rich in potential, inspires our work as educators.
Our philosophy is guided by the following principles:
We respect the opinions, ideas, and attitudes of others, even when we do not share them. We see diversity as an asset that allows each member of the community to grow, acknowledging that each person is unique and contributes their own individuality to the development of the community as a whole.
We seek to understand the way others view the world by participating emotionally in a reality that is not our own.
We encourage a healthy and enriching exchange of ideas and opinions among all members of the educational community by listening with tolerance and openness. The adults practice communication that is compassionate and assertive, avoiding aggressive or passive communication and viewing disagreement and negotiation as a process of growth that occurs in a respectful environment. The children also learn to practice this type of communication modeled by the adults.
Solidarity, in its purest sense, is a central part of our philosophy. It implies building social cohesion for the good of the community and of others.
The active and ethical participation of each member of the learning community is important to creating a culture where every point of view is valued and everyone feels heard, appreciated, and respected. Every adult in our community assumes the responsibility of establishing relationships that allow them to grow as a person and contribute to a community that values the potential of every child that forms part of that community. Children are considered to be active citizens with rights that we all are responsible for upholding and protecting.
Beauty is an element present not only in the spaces where our educational experience takes place, but also in each of the decisions made by the people involved in the educational community. Beauty is found in the thoughts and everyday actions of the members of our community.
Joy and Happiness
Inspired by the words of Loris Malaguzzi –“nothing without joy” –, our educational community finds pleasure in the everyday activities of our educational duties, in the interactions between individuals, and in forming a community and learning together.
In our educational community we see play as the most important activity in childhood, as it is through play that children give meaning to the world that surrounds them. Children play as a natural way of learning, using the curiosity and joy they already possess. Through play, children teach us how to understand the way in which they learn.
One of our priorities is to raise awareness of all members of the educational community regarding the impact of our actions and decisions on other species, nature as a whole, and future generations. We use permaculture to reduce our ecological impact in light of the pressing problems relating to the deterioration of natural resources and climate change.
Organization and Cleanliness
These are essential components of the educational/recreational and administrative processes of our educational community. The cleaning and organization of the spaces, materials, project planning, etc. are essential to creating the conditions necessary for successful learning.