Please welcome our guest blogger, Heidi, a parent at Via Vita. She shares her thoughts on our little school, or as she calls it, a "sweet little community school". We are overjoyed to have such wonderful families such as hers join our school. We hope you'll take a moment to read what she has to say. We're extremely grateful to have so much support.
Right now, Via Vita is a bit of a well kept secret.
Once word gets out, there will be a waiting list to this sweet little school community that is Via Vita.
Once you step inside, take a tour, chat a bit with Adele and Meghan, the school’s owners/teachers, it’s hard not to be won over by their passion.
I don't know about you, but I want my kids to have something interesting to report at the supper table each night. I want them to love learning and enjoy how they spend their 6 plus hours a day away from our home. And, I want to send them somewhere that I know that they are learning everything that they need to prepare them for their future. I also want to send them somewhere that the teacher’s know and really care for them. Sound about right?
Well, I’ve found it. The best new little school in town.
The best thing about Via Vita is that kids are having fun while learning. Even as an adult, I have learned that when something ignites my interest, I am much more likely to be engaged and remember it in the future. The teachers at Via Vita exude a passion for their jobs that is palpable. They are experienced in teaching methods that allow the student to bring their own interests to topics that are part of the curriculum. Now before you go thinking that this all sounds kind of wishy washy….just wait. They also teach all of the nuts and bolts that students need like Math, Science, Social Studies and Language Arts. The best part is that they do it in such a way that students are both learning and having fun.
You won’t find repetitive worksheets at this school.
One of the approaches that is woven into the schools design “Theme Based Learning” utilizes a particular topic, for instance, a social studies topic on the environment. The students may be asked to work on a project that involves research, writing, presentation skills and even Math. A theme based project my daughter worked on entitled “junk as art” required her to create something useful out of garbage. She decided on a bracelet made from pop top lids. She was required to research all of the items that would be used in making the bracelet and write a report outlining how long each item would take to break down in the landfill. She also had to describe the project in writing, and all the steps entailed in making it. In addition, she provided visual aids (photos) for her classmates to observe. She later presented the project to her class on powerpoint. This project and others like it teach many skills, but my daughter learned so much and gleaned so much enjoyment and pride for her finished product. This is just one example of how them based learning works.
Via Vita students will be moving their bodies approximately 2 hours daily. This high level of physical activity alone is something that very few private schools are able to offer, and something I am personally looking forward to. I believe kids are more likely to get out of bed in the mornings energized and looking forward to their day when they know they have gym and plenty of outdoor time every single day. In addition to the usual sports kids are exposed to, the students at Via Vita have the opportunity to try out new experiences and engage in the outdoors as often as possible. Classroom learning is often taken outside when it fits. Their interests come in to play, as well, including experiences that are driven by the students’ ideas and suggestions, like yoga, martial arts, drama, dance etc.
Did I even mention yet that the average class size will be 10 students? Yup, you heard that right -TEN. I know of no other school that offers such a strong academic environment with so much physical activity, outdoor time, and hands-on learning.
This little private school is our well kept secret. For now, at least. Us, other Via Vita parents - we know what we’ve found. A gem, really. We are proud to be apart of this little school community. For my kids and for our family, we’re looking forward to a fantastic year ahead.
Please welcome our guest bloggers this week, Julie & Amanda. These two parents from Via Vita narrowed down their reasons for choosing us for their child's education and decided to share their thoughts with you today! We are thrilled they took a moment to write it all down! Enjoy the read! Perhaps give us a call afterwards, you know, if you'd like...
Every parent knows that feeling... whether you're sending your "baby" into the world of school for the first time or it's time for a change and you want to get it right. How do you choose? In today's day and age there are many options, so how do you figure out which school is best? How can you choose a place where your child will spend the majority of his or her time ? Which school will teach them in such a way that they flourish, excel and accomplish what they need to in order to succeed and be happy in life?
Hard questions.... Unfortunately there are no easy answers but after all our lists of pros and cons, interviews, open houses, discussions and family meetings WE chose Via Vita Academy, and here's why.
SMALL CLASS SIZES!!
This was a real deal breaker for us with other schools. Upwards of 20 students to a class with 1 teacher does not work, even for the best teachers with the best intentions. What often ends up happening is behavior problems get simple discipline instead of someone working with them to figure out what happened today, kids who "get it" just get another book to read instead of being encouraged to learn beyond the class level and the ones in the middle ...well maybe they taught a bit. Via Vita Academy comes in at 10-15 students per group of multi grade levels (more on that in Reason #2!) individual attention ABOUND!!
MULTI GRADE LEVELS!!
We really don't know how this can go wrong, there are so many benefits. Children can take on leadership roles they may have never been exposed to, benefit from more review if needed or have the ability to continue to learn beyond their grade level. They can pre learn things simply by listening when the older group is being taught or reinforce skills by explaining them to the younger classmates. Another win-win for us.
INQUIRY BASED THEME LEARNING!!
What a way to learn, asking kids questions instead of delivering the information to them like a traditional classroom. Engaging the child and challenging them to think, basically learning how to learn, this is something that will be a huge asset for them in a world that keeps changing. This will give the children confidence and a sense of independence knowing that they can figure things out for themselves. Not to mention the hands on side of this, as we all know that there is no better way to learn than actually doing!
LIFE SKIILS AND DAILY PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES!!
If all of the great education they will already be getting isn't enough they will also be taught life skills that everyone could benefit from. Things like how to cook, fix basic things, how to grow your own food and the one thing I think we all wish had been taught in school; money management. Skills that will change their lives and have them better prepared to step into the "real world". Now add in physical activity everyday to help keep healthy, also helping them be focused and attentive during school time. What more could you ask for in a school... wait there is one more thing you could ask for....
Last but not least..... Reason #5
MEGHAN and ADELE!!
Ok, so we had an advantage in knowing these amazing teachers before signing up. Thankfully all anyone else needs to do is attend an open house or request a private tour to see how passionate they are about teaching. They lead by example and are truly some of the most patient, positive and enthusiastic teachers we've ever met. To hear them talk about their plans and how it will directly benefit YOUR child is worth the drive over.
Hopefully our list makes your life a little easier because whatever school you choose, you owe it to your child to make the most informed choice possible!
Sorry, if that's not what you wanted to hear.
But, seriously. That’s the answer, folks.
We said it. The key to it all. Boom. We’re done here.
No, okay, we know that’s a lot easier said than done. And we know it’s not the answer to it all. We get the mind-boggling craziness that is toddlerhood, childhood, teenagers, heck for that matter, even adulthood pickiness when it comes to eating. One day they like it, the next they don’t. It’s nuts. But stick with us here. We believe we're onto something.
What does your kid really want? Goldfish crackers? Fruit cups? Chips? Juice boxes? They won’t eat veggies cooked, but they’ll eat them raw? They won’t eat veggies at all, but they love fruit? Any of this sounding familiar? That one time you tried to make those easy 2-ingredient cookies, you had your kids excited, but the result tasted disgusting so that was the end of that. Tried. Failed. Never again. Sound about right?
Well, our thoughts on this go back to teaching. Wah, Wah, Wah – no seriously – don't go all Charlie Brown teacher talking on us. Stay with us on this one. We’ll try not to bore you.
What we know to be true about teaching, at least, is that the more a child discovers and creates a concept on their own, the more they'll take it to be true and useful. Also, the more they see the role models in their life using, learning about, investing in, and doing said concept, the more likely they'll adopt it as their own, as well.
The more they use their own knowledge and understanding, the more they figure it out or use their own ideas, the more they see what goes into something to create something else – that’s the moment they appreciate it. That’s the moment they get it. It’s then, and really only then, that they accept it, apply it, make use of it, or learn from it. It has to be of their doing. They may never register as to how much coaching, support, prompting, guiding, modeling, or outright repeating they’ve endured, but when they’ve been apart of it, it’s their experience to keep.
So what does this all have to do with eating vegetables?
Well, it comes down to this: Get those kids in the kitchen, and you get in there with them, and start cooking - A LOT! Learn to cook - WITH THEM. Be in the kitchen, use the kitchen, talk about ingredients, make it apart of your life and it will soon become part of theirs. Have them pick the meals. Prepare the ingredients. Create the meal and serve it. Learn the fun stuff like using a knife properly, adding the spices, blending the sauce, and most importantly, adding the veggies to the pot. Boost the experience by growing your own garden and have them pick and use their own harvest. Participate in the grocery list making. Learn how the kitchen tools work. Learn about why we need to eat food, what kinds of food, and how food affects us. Model trying new foods, exploring new recipes, and making healthy messes in the kitchen.
Essentially - cook more, include them, eat better, appreciate food. Bada boom, bada bing.
Food for thought: If they never see how the meal was created, learn why they should be eating it, create something of their own ideas, share in the experience of cooking and eating, or see you taking an active role in creating food – why should they eat their veggies? Would you?
HERE'S OUR QUICK TIPS FOR COOKING WITH KIDS IN THE KITCHEN:
Have recipe books available for them to look through. Leave something good up on the screen on the laptop. Have ideas for meals readily viewable to catch the interest and get the ball rolling.
GIVE THEM SOME CONTROL
Have them pick out a meal. Seriously. You can do this.
KEEP INGREDIENTS STOCKED
Make sure you have the basics always in the cupboard and fridge, so that you can make a variety of recipes, or easily adapt them.
BUY GROCERIES WITH THEM
Make the grocery list together. Follow a budget. Show them how you stick to the list, how you follow the budget, how you plan meals for a whole family. You will be teaching them lessons far beyond simple mathematics and organization - these skills and experiences with you are invaluable to life itself. An added bonus is it may just help you stay on track a little better, too.
DON'T BE AFRAID TO LEARN WITH THEM
Not a lover of cooking yourself? Afraid to mess it up? Never made this recipe before? Great! That’s the best kind of teaching because they’ll be learning with you, which means you’ll be engaged and actively trying. They will feel more useful and respected as that are able to help you and work along side you. They will quickly take more ownership and feel more empowered.
TEACH AND TRUST THAT THEY CAN DO MORE THAN YOU THINK
They’ve been watching someone prepare food since birth. They’ve got this. They just need some support when needed, helpful advice, relaxed and welcoming space to learn, and respect.
CLEAN UP TOGETHER
Cleaning up is part of the process. Again, just like the cooking and meal picking, let them do it their way. Offer your help, guidance, and support when needed, but try hard not to take over and do it for them. Responsibility roots from respect. And respect starts when you can trust their capabilities to learn and do.
GET EXCITED, BUT NOT TOO EXCITED
Don’t be over the top dorky excited, that’s not cool Mom or Dad. Come on now, get with it. But enjoy it. This is quality time. This is memories in the making. Create an experience worth doing again, and again, and again. Not over the top planned, just wing it and go for it. These are life skills and you can be their ultimate teacher in it. Don’t overthink it but don’t let it go by the wayside, either. Take an active role in preparing your child for a healthy and happy future – teach them that anyone can cook and the more you do it yourself, the happier your body will feel. Let alone the money you’ll save!
MAKE TIME FOR IT
Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, don’t rush. We know you’ve got baseball practice and dance lessons, but sometimes if life is too scheduled, there’s no time to just relax and take in the simple life experiences, like cooking a meal and eating it together with family. Trust us, the memories made while the family cooks together is worth it. Now go on, get in your kitchen and start cooking and learning together as a family.
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!