At Narnia Elementary School, we try to balance the children’s education. We utilize various elements and ideas taken from traditional schools that we believe fulfill a high standard of quality. We follow the recommended curriculum mandated by the Ministry of Education, and we fulfill the national educational standards. We also offer alternative options and features that are not usually offered by comparable schools in addition to the emphasis we put on an education based on Christian principles.
Goals of the Educational Process
We educate children in such a way so as to foster their personal perceptions, as well as to encourage them to see others as unique and valuable people. We lead them toward positive, creative thinking and toward the self-realization of their abilities and boundaries. We teach them to solve problems and to persevere in attaining their goals. Personal and intellectual growth is linked to the pupils’ education and how that pertains to knowing God in light of Bible.
Aims in the Field of Education
We aim to teach children in a way that allows education to be intertwined with joy and to inspire students to delve deep inside. We hope to foster an environment in which a child is taught and learns with ease, understands causality, and comprehends the meaning of education as it pertains to themselves in everyday life. We teach and encourage them to independently acquire knowledge from various informational sources, leading them to think critically and creatively, ultimately resulting in insights, opinions, and original works.
The specifics of our school can be divided into two basic categories:
- Integrated Thematic Education
- Extensive English language education through our Creative English project
Integrated thematic education (ITE) is a system of instruction wherein a single idea lies inherent in the background of the individual subjects.
At Narnia, our inspiration for the topics comes from the Ministry of Education of the National Educational Program. We have been using an educational platform “Man and values,” which is intrinsic in the subjects JaSOM (me and the world around me) and Religious Education.
An Example of Integrated Thematic Education
The October theme for JaSOM was Environmental Education, which, where grade-appropriate, is transformed into educational topics. One class might read and discuss a story from the Bible about creation and man’s responsibility to take care of the nature. During JaSOM, the children delve into the problems that have arisen throughout history as well as modern environmental problems and their potential solutions. During reading lessons, students read articles that are related to the topic and consider the implications. Science and geography lessons can be structured around the topic of the environment. Arts lessons involve the children creating works on or about nature; and at their music lessons, students can sing songs connected with the theme. If a math teacher is creative, he or she can create word problems that involve the monthly theme. Physical education can also include outdoor activities emphasizing the importance of a healthy lifestyle and how it is connected to nature.
Integrated thematic education is naturally intertwined with the instruction as well. For instance, at the start of a new theme, each child receives a Practice Sheet consisting of two tasks. The first task is to read a recommended book or some part thereof; the second part is more practical. For example during the environmental theme, second grade students can choose between collecting paper for recycling, cleaning a park, or sorting recyclable materials from trash.
When the theme is complete, the students celebrate their knowledge and deeds during Wonder Day, a time in which the students gather together in their Narnia t shirts and commemorate what they have learned and the heroic deeds of individual students are rewarded.
A typical feature of Narnia teaching process is dividing the whole class into two smaller groups. Each class has at least two specific, yet independent „morning“ teachers plus one „afternoon club“ teacher. Generally, one morning teacher is responsible for standard first level subjects, while the other teachers for Creative English and Religion. English lessons always run separately and simultaneously from the main subject lessons – especially Math and Slovak. This allows for a more individual approach to teaching a group of 10 students.
The Creative English project consists of three main parts of English education: compulsory, voluntary, and subconscious. It is closely related to integrated thematic education and is affiliated with the voluntary activities in the afternoon children’s school club.
The compulsory aspect of English education is that each grade has 3 to 4 English lessons per week. The students learn the English language in both traditional and non-formal ways, including games, songs, poems, and friendly competitions. The class is divided into two groups (no more than 11 kids in one group), enabling an individual approach to the needs of each student.
The voluntary part is inherent in the English school club activities. The club activities alternate between the activities provided by the English teacher and those provided by the English speaking lecturers. In the afternoon, the students have the opportunity to improve their knowledge of compulsory English and to practice it in everyday situations with American lecturers. Children can participate in the informal activities and games, which begin only partially in English with the first grade but gradually operate increasingly in English.
Another voluntary part of the Creative English project are the musicals. The children use their best acting skills to become part of an interesting story. They naturally learn the vocabulary and the songs in English. The musical is later presented to their parents, friends, or sometimes a wider audience outside the school.
The subconscious part of the English education consists of the informal language used by the school. Through the use of common terminology in English, the children subconsciously overcome the barrier between their mother tongue and the foreign language.