Email us at info@kaleide.org with your questions, we'll be happy to help.

Will there be a bus route? Is it easy to park close to the school? Is the school easy to access?

We are happy to arrange a minibus route if there is a minimum number of families who are interested. Promoting sustainable transport practices is one of our priorities. We would like to help families reduce their dependency on private transport and promote the use of public transport, together with cycling and walking to school. You won't find a car park at the school. Kaleide is close to several bus stops and there is a public car park in our vicinity. The tram stop is a 22-minute walk away from the school.

The following video is an example of the kind of project we would love to be involved with in the near future in relation to transport:

Are there other schools like this in Spain?

Unfortunately there are still few. It is very hard to fulfill all the financial, legal, pedagogical and space requirements. The good news is that the number of alternative schools is growing, not just in Spain but on an international level. Kaleide is connected to other alternative schools in Spain (such as those accredited by NEASC) and in other countries, such as the Agile Learning Centers (ALC), the European Democratic Education Community (EUDEC), or the Alliance for Self-Directed Learning (ASDE).

Can families be inside the school building?

Families can be with their children in the school during the bonding period. We view this period as a unique and on-going process which is different for each child. Therefore, we have no fixed timetable as to how long the separation process will take. We want to individualise the process to best meet the emotional needs of each child.

Aside from this, parents are encouraged to take an active part in the school's activities, and they are welcome to offer workshops and come to all outings.

Can my child attend Kaleide part-time?

Although in other countries it is possible to find "homeschool enrichment" centres, within the education system in Spain there is nothing of the sort.

Children who attend Kaleide do so as students, and the Law in Spain does not allow for part-time schooling. Children need to come to school every day, unless there is a justified reason not to. For financial reasons, and because it's so important to create and maintain the school culture, we are unable to offer this option.

What is your attitude towards vaccination?

Kaleide respects the current legal framework in Spain in relation to vaccines. Vaccination is not compulsory in Spain, and we will not require any vaccines before children are admitted to the school.

Do children need to be potty-trained to come to Kaleide?

No. At Kaleide we respect every child's rhythms and stages of development. Our facilitators will help children who need to clean themselves and get a change of clothes, while continuing to support children on their path to autonomy.

What are facilitators like?

Given that Kaleide promotes self-directed learning, one of the qualities we look for in our pedagogical team (our "facilitators" as we call them) is self-direction. They also need to be passionate and committed individuals, who can connect with children and understand their 100 languages (physical, musical, artistic...) and who can embody the values that we identify with: empathy, collaboration and team-work, sense of humour, playfulness, caring, honesty and authenticity, and –above all– humanity.

What does assessment look like at Kaleide?

At Kaleide there are no grades. Assessment at our school exists to benefit children, to allow educators to reflect on and strengthen their abilities to meet the needs of our children for enquiry and expression, and to effectively communicate to families and the wider community what we do at the school. We focus strongly on creating deep, trusting relationships with each child and aim to know who they are, and to understand their life circumstances. For this reason, our assessment is ongoing, process-oriented, and incorporates the emotional, physical, cognitive, social, and moral dimensions of learning and well-being.

Our educational approach is non-competitive, and eschews rewards and punishment in favour of encouraging the development in children of intrinsic motivation for learning. Activities are mainly open-ended, cooperative, encouraging exploration and creative thinking, and as such do not lend themselves to grading. For this reason, we place great value on formative assessments –which engender learning and are based on observation and documentation–, rather than summative assessment.

We understand assessment as an attitude which begins by first observing children, listening to them, talking with them and thinking about them. It is much more than gathering data: it is an ongoing collaborative process, a dialogue with the child, that seeks to uncover who learners are and what they know, and that leads to opportunities to build a shared language and create meaning together. Assessment for us doesn't happen after learning but throughout the learning process, and it is shared with the children.

We shall be using different forms of assessment depending on the child's age and maturity:

  • Leuven Scale/POMS (Process-oriented Monitoring System, based on two axis: emotional well-being and engagement);

  • Documentation through "learning stories" (including photos, drawings, transcriptions of the children's own sentences and comments, examples of interactions and observations by our facilitators);

  • Children's self-assessment.

We have also developed an ongoing whole-school self-assessment –involving children, facilitators and parents– which will help us improve our practices and establish goals that contribute to our sense of community.

How do children learn curricular contents at Kaleide?

The younger children, for example, practice reading and writing in the following activities:

  • Every day, facilitators read to the children, in small groups or with individual children.

  • There are allocated times for group storytelling within our timetable so children know when and where it will happen.

  • There are book areas in almost every learning space (including outdoors) where children can read individually and in groups, in connection with the topics they are working on.

  • Before children can write, facilitators act as scribes for them and model writing skills.

  • Children feel motivated to write for a range of purposes which are meaningful to them (writing their name on a painting, sending a postcard to a friend, using chalk to write on the playground, etc.).

  • Children begin to grasp the relationship between words and sounds, and then understand some purposes for reading, by reading signs and labels on storage boxes/trolleys/sheds/whiteboards, etc.

  • Facilitators work with individual children or in small groups, showing children how to hold pencils correctly while writing and drawing.

  • Children experiment with early writing using water and rollers, brushes, chalk, sand and paint, clipboards and pencils.

  • Children see themselves and adults using writing for a purpose, and discuss and agree the best way to present the writing (eg lists, messages and reminders).

  • Children have access to a wide range of texts (books, leaflets, catalogues, reference materials, magazines, posters, maps, charts) around the school.

  • Children write spontaneously, following their own needs, during role play and other activities.

Our children also acquire notions of maths through a range of activities:

  • In both the indoor and outdoor settings, children develop their understanding of measures, investigate the properties of shape and construct early ideas of position and movement through practical experiences by using diverse materials (construction blocks, sand, balls, foodstuffs, water, etc.)..

  • In play, children sort, match, sequence and compare objects and events, explore and create simple patterns and relationships.

  • Children identify, understand and use numbers (both cardinal and ordinal, such as numbers on parking bays, number lines, number plates, counting games, rhymes, jingles and stories).

  • Children develop appropriate mathematical language through counting games, mathematical aids such as Montessori materials, rhymes, jingles and stories.

  • Children recognise, explore and create patterns, shapes and colours (with leaves, building blocks, pebbles and 2D shapes).

  • In the outdoors, children experience and talk about the routine and the passing of the time of day, the week, months and seasons.

  • Working with recipes in the kitchen, children learn mathematical notions such as volume and weight.

  • Children investigate and talk about patterns, colours and shapes in the outdoor environment, eg shapes of trees, leaves and clouds.

  • Children use the outside spaces to explore spatial awareness through the different types of movement (balance, locomotion and manipulation).

  • In games and play, children begin to understand and use positional and directional words – forwards, backwards, in front of, behind, above and below.

  • Children observe patterns in natural and manmade objects in the environment (leaves, spider webs, fences and buildings) and make active patterns (eg hop, jump, hop jump, etc.).

  • In the Woodwork Workshop, mathematical language is regularly used in order to calculate and measure dimensions.

  • In several of the learning spaces (the kitchen, the gardens, the Psychomotor Play area…) children use mathematical language such as heavy, light, full, empty, long, short, etc., in relevant contexts.

The older children will often work through projects which encompass many curriculum areas simultaneously. The following is an example of the kind of questions that can be sparked by the observation of a bird in the school garden:

  • Science:

    • What species of birds can we find in the garden? Can we see any nests? What are they made of?

    • Shall we look up these birds in a birdwatcher’s guide?

    • Are they endemic birds? Are they migrating birds?

    • What do they feed on? Are they carnivorous or granivorous?

    • What makes birds different from humans? Are birds mammals? Are they reptiles? What class do they belong to?

    • Why do migrating birds fly so far away? How do they decide to migrate? Is climate change affecting their migration patterns?

    • How do birds fly? How is anatomy related to flying? What do birds’ skeletons look like? What creatures from the past have they evolved from?

  • Geography:

    • Where do migrating birds come from? Where do they go next?

    • Can we track their routes on a map? How many countries do they cross?

    • What different landscapes, climate zones and geographical features do they encounter on the way to their destination?

  • Mathematics:

    • How far can a bird fly? How high? How long?

    • Measuring and calculating the dimensions of a birdhouse

As well as allowing children to learn through play and self-directed activities, we want to offer them a wide range of learning opportunities to learn through "sparks" or "provocations" created by our facilitators. This offer of activities is based on the children's own interests and on facilitator's passions.

We believe children learn best when they feel emotionally safe. It is essential for us to help children achieve a state of emotional well-being. Only then can a child become fully engaged in exploring, discovering, and learning. We work closely with families in order to find ways of helping children develop in a way which is responsive to their authentic needs on a socio-emotional level.

What is your approach to conflict resolution?

Conflicts at Kaleide are tackled in various ways. Our first strategy will often be to call in a facilitator (or an older child who has accepted to act as mediator) to offer immediate help: both parties will be listened to, and the mediator will ask questions in order to facilitate empathy and reflection.

Whenever a conflict cannot be resolved in this way, through the children's own suggestions and ideas, we may resort to a mediation circle involving other children (chosen by the parties) and a facilitator. If we are still unable to reach a solution which everybody is happy with, we may bring the situation to our weekly meeting, where we will strive to find a solution based on consensus.

Under no circumstance do we punish, criticise or judge children. Our conflict resolution practices are based on restorative practice, and the focus is on repairing the harm that a person has suffered. This can be achieved through dialogue, active listening, non violent communication, and allowing the time and the space necessary for the children to collaborate in finding a solution.

We deal with cases of bullying from a no-guilt approach, and consider them as a separate issue which is essentially different to conflict. Kaleide has developed an anti-bullying policy based on restorative practice which is available to families.

We have written down a specific conflict resolution policy which has been designed to deal with issues that may arise between the parents and the school.

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