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!
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!