From 7 years old

Primary Education

Each child is an individual, bringing his/her own unique gifts into the world.

When a parent tells me that their child doesn't like school, I usually say: “Your child doesn't like school, because he is a very intelligent child.” Did the Physics Nobel Prize winner Albert Einstein like going to school? He didn't like it at all, the first years were very difficult for Dr. Einstein because at the age of 8 he still couldn't read. I think that, first of all, schools should try to adapt to the different learning styles and talents of their students.  Maths is maths, phonics is phonics; however, as a neuropsychologist I can say that we all have a different approach or attitude to learning.

At The Oak, we have small classes, allowing for lots of individual attention for each child. Often, some subjects are even taught one-on-one, or in pairs. It is important to us to tend to each child’s individual needs, educationally, developmentally and emotionally.

Our primary class is a mixed age-group of children from around the world, providing a unique opportunity for social development — the children learn to work with others of the same age, as well as those who are younger and older than themselves; they also learn to relate to people from various different cultures. Here a sense of community arises, compassion and patience is cultivated.

After a good walk to wake us up, a snack and a bit of time to “arrive”, our mornings start with singing, verses and a story.

The story introduces the main lesson theme; whether it’s maths, language, science or any other subject. The children draw and paint pictures from the story, making it alive in their imaginations. Concepts are then drawn out of this living picture, which colours the content of the academic learning and written work. This process is supported by activities such as dramatisation, beeswax/clay modelling or other forms of construction, games, movement activities, the use of props (usually items found in nature), and observations of things in the natural environment.

We believe in learning that is moved by enthusiasm, interest and self-motivation, which are essential for any meaningful work, throughout life. For interest and enthusiasm to be possible for children, we have to reach their imaginations, feelings and will. As William Butler Yeats said, "Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."

Most afternoons, after lunch and some free play and “out-breathing”, the children work on a handwork activity such as knitting, weaving and sewing projects, which are usually related to the theme with which the children are working. The primary school children have guided drawing, form-drawing and wet-on-wet painting classes. There are also opportunities for free drawing and painting.

At The Oak, the primary focus is on Language and Mathematics, especially in the early grades. We work with each child at their level, aiming to provide a healthy level of challenge with opportunities for progress, while being mindful not to overwhelm or leave any child behind.

All children are welcome at The Oak WISP.