WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY “EVERY CHILD CAN CHANGE THE WORLD”?
We believe each of our students will find a passion — something they love and have a gift to do. They will use this gift to serve others and fulfil a need they are passionate about in the world. This may be by becoming a shoe-shiner who tells stories and makes people’s day just by doing his job with love and vigour; it may be by becoming a coach who sees the light in a child’s eyes and guides her to pursue a dream; it may be by becoming a father or mother who leads a family on a Hero’s Journey; it may be becoming an entrepreneur or business leader guided by compassion and integrity; or it may be by becoming an artist or writer who brings beauty to people’s lives.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY A HERO’S JOURNEY?
We believe that each of us has a special calling in life, and a series of trials and tests that must be faced with integrity and purpose, in order to live a satisfying and fulfilled life. Our mission is to prepare your child for his or her journey. The hero’s journey is inspired by the work of Joseph Campbell–please click here to read more.
WHAT GRADES WILL WE CATER FOR?
For the 2021 school year, we are accepting applications for children to these programs:
Early-Learning Studio (ELS) – ages five to seven. (Approx. Gr R and Gr1)
Elementary Studio (ES) – ages roughly eight to twelve.
Middle School (MS) – ages twelve/ thirteen to fourteen.
The age ranges are not fixed because children can move up through the programs as they finish the work regardless of how old they are. For example, there is a ten-year-old in Ontario who is almost finished the ES program and will be starting the MS soon.
Launch Pad (LP) – ages fourteen to seventeen. This program will begin once the need arises.
WILL CHILDREN BE GROUPED INTO GRADES?
We believe that children learn best when working with children younger and older than themselves rather than split up into groups based solely on age. In addition to individualized curriculum, all ages of students work together in groups.
IS THE ACTON ACADEMY A MONTESSORI SCHOOL?
Acton uses the best of Montessori methods: mixed-age classrooms, student choice within limits, large blocks of work time, learning through “discovery,” and freedom of movement in the classroom. Then we go two important steps further by using the best 21st century eLearning tools and adhering to the Socratic method of instruction which emphasizes asking and answering the right questions to stimulate critical thinking. Our students don’t just memorize facts, they learn how to know, learn how to do, and learn how to be.
IS ACTON A RELIGIOUS SCHOOL?
We are a Christian organization. We expose children to the importance of mindfulness, ethical principles, and the significance of religion in history and the development of society, and we value and respect each individual’s beliefs.
DOES ACTON SERVE SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN?
Acton’s flexible approach to learning is a great fit for many kids who need something different than the traditional school environment. Students who have trouble sitting still through a standard school day often flourish in our classroom, which provides space for breaks, comfortable and flexible seating, and room for individual self-regulation. We are also willing to work with therapists within the boundaries of our environment.
We are not trained or staffed to serve children with serious learning disabilities, special needs, or who need specialized attention. If you are interested in Acton Academy and believe it is a great fit for your family, please inquire and we will personally assess your unique situation and the fit of your young learner.
WITH THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY AT ACTON, HOW MUCH SCREEN TIME DO THE STUDENTS HAVE?
Technology is a useful tool and we are excited for our students to learn how to use computers to access information, communicate effectively, and learn independently.
Our Elementary students will use computers during some of their morning core skills time and for portions of their afternoon projects, averaging no more than two to three hours per day. A student-created Internet Use Policy ensures technology tools are used appropriately.
Computers are introduced to the students in the Early learning studio but time spent on them as a resource will be minimal.
HOW MUCH EXCERCISE, OUTSIDE OR GYM TIME TO THE STUDENTS GET AT YOUR SCHOOL?
Fresh air and exercise is very important to us! We will have scheduled PE classes twice a week. There is a long lunch break and during a second longer stretch of lunch on Friday afternoons, we will often try and head outdoors to the nearby fields to play games like soccer or frisbee or go for a hike on the farm.
We plan on offering sports like swimming, volleyball, horse riding, athletics and more.
Our students are able to take “brain breaks” during their core skills time where they could go outside into our attached, fenced in play-yard to run around or toss a ball around.
HOW DO YOU MEASURE HOW A CHILD IS PROGRESSING AT ACTON ACADEMY?
We measure student progress in several different ways:
· We set Daily, Weekly, and Session goals between the student and the Guides.
· We utilize robust real-time data for each of our online learning tools. At any given time both parents and Guides can find out exactly what their student is learning. It easily allows us to track progress, identify areas of struggle and close any learning gaps. The staff is alerted if a student gets any more than 2 wrong in a row. Having a small class size, we are able to work one on one with the student to make sure that we can close gaps and help them master the skill. The web based programs don’t allow the student to move on to the next skill until it has been mastered.
· We utilize individual paper portfolios where each student showcases and adds their best work. We can measure their growth in things such as History, Writer’s Workshops, and any Quest use projects we have.
· Though we never “teach to the test”, standardized tests given each year provide useful benchmark data.
Seven Acton resources that provide hard evidence of trans-formative growth:
· – review them in depth; ask questions; praise effort; and encourage more effort and focus.
· – see your Eagle’s hard work displayed to the outside world.
· – ask to see 360 Feedback and Quest Feedback sheets.
· – track your Eagle’s goals day by day and week by week; learn where encouragement and tough questions can help.
· – analyze hard data in incredible detail, available to see 24/7/365 as often as you wish.
· – dig deeply into evidence of the development of real world skills.
· – We will administer these at the same time as Government Schools, just as a measure of the level our Eagles are working at.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY A “RUNNING PARTNER”?
Running Partners are classmates who meet together regularly to set goals and hold each other accountable for meeting those goals. Running Partners encourage and inspire each other by asking good questions, listening and providing affirmation.
WHAT IS AN” INDEPENDENT LEARNER”?
An independent learner is someone who can research questions and follow instructions to solve problems: someone who can admit that they don’t know something and figure out a solution when they hit a roadblock, without asking an adult for help. An independent learner also participates in discussions, and strives for mastery.
WILL ACTON HELP ME GET INTO A POST SECONDARY SCHOOL?
Our promise at Acton is to have our students well prepared for any selective University or college.
Universities are changing so rapidly that it’s difficult to imagine what admission requirements will look like in ten years.
Our Eagles leave with a rich portfolio of work. For some US Universities applicants with portfolios have far higher acceptance rates than traditional school transcripts.
We have ascertained that Universities in South Africa will be willing to accept the Acton Transcripts for University exemption.
Even more importantly, with multiple apprenticeships, real-world experience, and excellent interpersonal skills, our Eagles will stand out from the traditional college crowd. We are aware of the use of standardized testing (like the SAT) and will ensure our heroes are well prepared for any exam they wish to do, be it Cambridge, the GED or the IEB.
Our students will be equipped to shine in the real world, whether they choose to go to college full time, part time or not at all. You might be interested to read this post: How My Project-Based School Prepared Me For Columbia.
WHAT IS THE TRANSITION LIKE FOR STUDENTS GOING FROM A 21st CENTUARY FORMAT BACK TO A TRADITIONAL ONE?
The students and families who have moved from schools with our format back to a traditional one have reported a relatively seamless transition.
Our students learn problem solving skills, respect for their peers, the how & why of rule formulation, perseverance, resilience and empathy. This is in addition to honing their skills of: focusing, listening, personal organization, setting their own goals, and management of their own time — all of which are a recipe for a good transition into any new environment.
HOW MUCH AFRIKAANS WILL THE STUDENTS LEARN?
Learning an additional language is very important to us. Although we are not an “immersion” program, our students will be given Afrikaans-language time from age five onward. We do have an Afrikaans guide who will be focusing on conversation skills during two fun and interactive forty-five minute sessions per week along with speaking to our children as much as possible in Afrikaans during daily life at our school. This learning will be supplemented with the use of online tools during “core skills” time as well.
SCHOOL GOVERNANCE/DECISION MAKING
There are policies in place for most of the day to day decisions, final decisions will be voted on by the board of directors in accordance with the Trust deed or Memorandum of Incorporation and the School constitution.
Eagles design and commit to their own classroom contract
We have registered the company Acton Village Academy (Pty) Ltd. Who will then own the school Acton Village Academy Swellendam.
REGISTRATION WITH THE WESTERN CAPE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT
We have to submit our application to register with the Department, no later than 30 June 2018,
Our Eagles will spend a few weeks at the start of each year, suggesting and debating rules and code of conduct for their studio for the year, this will then be finalised and written into a contract that each of the Eagles will sign. If the need arises the students (Eagles) can petition to amend the contracts during the course of the year.
Here is an example of the process in action: http://eaglesofacton.com/broken-windows-at-acton/