Please welcome our newest member to the Via Vita team - Ms. Yolanda McLean! We are excited to announce the hiring of Ms. Yolanda and formally welcome her to the Via Vita family. She has been working with us now since mid-January and is already deep into new projects with her students, while quickly getting to know each family. Please take a read and learn about her first week observing the busy halls of Via Vita. We are lucky to have such a passionate and caring educator join our school!
Photo: Ms. Yolanda posing for a picture with her students in Kisii, Kenya.
The words “Via Vita”, meaning way of life, fully encompasses what I have observed student’s experiencing during my first week here at Via Vita Academy. Walking through the doors on my first day, I saw students busy working together with the support of their teachers, encouraging them along the way.
The community built inside this small school is like nothing I have ever experienced in a school before. Seeing students supporting one another throughout the day - during a math activity, learning a new sport, standing up in front of others, opening a snack, putting on boots - honestly, the whole day - it warmed my heart. These kids have learned the skills to to speak up for themselves, motivate each other, and help others through tough times. They've really created a feeling of safety and acceptance.
What strikes me the most about this environment is really getting to see how much each child cares deeply for each other. In such small class sizes, these students accept one another for who they really are, the things that they have in common and even more so, the things that make them different and unique. The feeling I got from working with the students was that they could feel more relaxed and free to make mistakes and take risks because they were not being judged.
Their engagement and attitude is fantastic! They create questions, find information on the topic and teach the class. Seeing the students take the lead in their learning is inspirational! Their curiosities are explored and they have the opportunity to see their own success.
As a teacher, I feel that students having a blend of responsibility and independence are necessary to develop confidence and a desire for individual growth. Students at Via Vita are given this responsibility through every day. Older and younger students are paired together to help clean the school and work in buddies throughout the week. Seeing older students being so compassionate with younger children’s needs during break times, outings, in the kitchen or during chores reminds me why I love teaching so much. These younger students see the older students as role models and love getting to spend time with them, while the older students gain a multitude of skills that are so difficult to teach. It's a great balance and support network for all students involved.
From my observation, Via Vita is fostering a learning environment where students can feel safe to be themselves while continuing to challenge themselves each day to grow and develop. The skills these students are learning will help them not only today, or throughout their schooling, but for the rest of their lives. There are so many responsible, kind and inquisitive young minds at work at Via Vita and I’m so excited I get to be a part of it!
Please welcome our passionate and hard working guest blogger, Lyss Casey, a grade eight student here at Via Vita. We are so pleased to hear Lyss' thoughts on Via Vita, as we have enjoyed supporting and inspiring her through life and junior high. Hope you enjoy the read!
Being a student at Via Vita is such an amazing experience, and that’s not just me pulling a bunch of compliments out of my mouth!
Every day is entertaining in its own little way.
Most nights I go to sleep thinking to myself that I won’t be satisfied but when I wake up I get that little spark of excitement to get everything done and wait to head to school.
I’ve never been a fan of big projects, I found them to be a waste of time because you end up learning everything beforehand then making a cut and paste project by shortening notes on a boring slideshow and fall asleep on your desk listening to others… sounds horrible, right?
Not at Via Vita!
I’ve noticed every project feels so fresh and new here. It’s so fun to lead in a project that you want to do! You’re allowed to add personality to your projects, your research is all on your own, giving you so much freedom to learn. You learn as much as you are comfortable with - the project research is one of my favourite parts of doing projects here. It’s so interesting to find a medium that you can study with - videos, websites, blogs, songs, art, etc. You name it, you can do it here!
Another thing I’m fond of is leading so many wonderful displays. We do a bunch of theatre during the end of terms and it’s my favourite part of school so far. I’ve written two entire play scripts and directed both for class! It really helps boost confidence and public speaking. You can learn a lot from theatre - directing is something I’d never think I would like, I’ve always been the actor in plays, but since I’m more of a leader than a follower, being a director for a change is so fun! You get to improve your classmates, improve yourself and learn so many cool things about singing, acting, and directing. It’s such an amazing opportunity to have students lead, write, and act out entire 40 minute plays in the span of one month!
The teachers here at Via Vita are so nice and engage each student. You can trust them to listen to you whenever you need them to. It’s good to finally have a trustworthy teacher that I can talk to like they’re a close friend or relative. They listen to any complaints and change things to satisfy while also being fair. They give you freedom that you deserve, like the oldest students me and Charlotte can go to Tim Hortons at lunch! It’s such a breath of fresh air to have some freedom for once at school!
Overall being a student in Via Vita is a blast of fun, learning and personal interest squished into an amazing first year. I can’t wait for more students to join this wonderful school!
Welcome to Our Blog
Each post is written by a supportive member of Via Vita Academy, be it a teacher, parent, student, community member, who is invested in the topic of education. Take a read and comment below!