Language and communication
Language and communication are very important in the educational process of children in Duhovka and play a significant role in preparing students for lifelong learning and self-realization. The linguistic and literary skills that pupils acquire in this context are used in all other areas of education. Children at Duhovka learn bilingually, in Czech-English. Czech and English teachers and assistants are present in the classrooms at all times and for the children, communication in both languages becomes a normal part of their day.
Our primary goal is to create educational tools for the students - reading, writing, comprehension and working with text. We naturally enrich children's vocabulary, introducing them to the written form of both languages. Older children read, analyse, think critically and communicate their findings and personal attitudes to the group. This way of working with the text encourages children's interest in different topics, their desire to understand them in depth and their ability to express their thoughts and personal attitude. The children develop their cultivated speech and the ability to search, retrieve and process information from multiple sources. They learn to understand different types of texts and messages, to express their feelings and reactions, to communicate clearly with the outside world using means appropriate to the situation. Literary education contributes to the development of children's aesthetic sensitivity, helps them to understand interpersonal relationships and contributes to the recognition of artistic values.
A community circle is part of the daily life of the classroom, where children have the opportunity to share their experiences, discuss, comment on problems, rules, present information, and evaluate their work. We see grammar teaching not as a goal, but as a way to develop communication skills through learning about the structure of language.
We foster an environment where children learn to communicate respectfully, to interpret their reactions and feelings, and to work in partnership. We want children to understand their role in different communicative situations and to be able to navigate their perception of the world around them and of themselves.
Some topics, especially in the field of literature, are implemented in the form of short-term projects. Other ways of expanding language skills are, for example, visits to libraries and museums, working with texts on the Internet, and working with computer tutorials.
In the Middle School (grade 6-9), we extend language teaching to include Spanish or German. We offer language clubs for Chinese, German and Spanish for the Lower and Upper Elementary (grade 1-5).
Teachers mainly use the Montessori methodology when teaching mathematics and its application. Children work with specific illustrative Montessori materials. These materials guide children in a natural and concrete way to understand numerical operations and formulas. From concrete materials, children move on to abstract materials and then practice what they have learned in workbooks or worksheets. Mathematics is also taught through project-based learning so that children soon see mathematics as a part of our lives and its use is meaningful to them.
The educational content is divided into four thematic areas. These are
- numbers and numerical operations (where children learn and consolidate arithmetic operations)
- dependencies, relationships and working with data (recognising and becoming aware of certain types of changes and dependencies and analysing them from tables, diagrams and graphs)
- geometry in plane and space (identifying and representing geometric figures and modelling real situations, exploring shapes and space); and
- non-standard application tasks and problems (applying logical thinking, solving problem situations and everyday life tasks).
Information and Communication Technologies
The Montessori method respects the developmental needs of children at different stages, so children of younger school age work mainly with specific tools and computer work takes up minimal time during the child's working week.
In Grades 4-5, it is already useful for children to become familiar with the benefits, environment and safety of the digital world. They learn to work with, sort and evaluate different sources of information. Working with computers, children form their algorithmic thinking and strengthen their systematic approach to problem solving. They process the acquired information in a creative way, both in terms of content and graphics. The subject focuses on practical work skills and habits and complements the whole basic education with an important component necessary for the application of a modern person in later life and in society.
The skills acquired help children to present the results of their work in other subjects in both written and digital form. Children share their knowledge and projects in different subjects through interesting and entertaining multimedia presentations.
Cosmic education is an integrating element of Montessori pedagogy. It is designed as a coherent comprehensive subject from 1st to 9th grade.
In the lower grades, it defines educational content related to man, family, society, homeland, nature, culture, technology, health and other topics. It takes a historical and contemporary perspective and aims at skills for practical life. The children's own experience based on concrete or model situations is important in acquiring the necessary skills, ways of acting and making decisions. The process moves from the whole to the particular. Teachers introduce each topic step by step and children have the opportunity to explore in more detail those topics that interest them.
We emphasise the connection to real life and to the children's practical experience. For this purpose we use thematic projects - the story of the origin of the universe and solar system, the planets of the solar system, the story of the origin of life on Earth, the story of the origin of man, the story of writing and numbers and the world.
In them, Montessori pedagogy is put into practice, which conceives of language and mathematics as a means of learning about the world, the cosmos. Children have the opportunity to know it in context, which enables them to have a global view of the world. They apply their knowledge of reading, writing, grammar, create stories, letters or other literary works, construct word problems and count. They have access to encyclopedias, books, Montessori materials, as well as real-life materials.
In Middle School classrooms, space education links the fields of science and social studies, specifically history, civics, physics, chemistry, biology, geography and man and the world of work. The main goal of this subject is to understand our world in a holistic perspective - from historical, social and natural science perspectives. The lower and upper elementary thematic projects are deepened to include the story of the great river - the human body and a national history project.
The main methods of work are the research approach and the use of scientific methods. The exploratory nature of the curriculum enables students to acquire important skills, in particular to observe systematically and objectively, to experiment and measure, to keep records, to form and test hypotheses, to analyse results and draw conclusions from them. We also encourage working with information resources and collaborative projects among students, developing logical reasoning, the ability to ask questions and seek answers, and to solve practical problems.
We supplement the lessons with trips, theme days, excursions, talks, visits to museums, zoological or botanical gardens. We also pay attention to exceptionally talented pupils and try to make children find topics that interest them and want to explore them in more depth.
Art & Culture
The Montessori method leads children to a creative and imaginative approach to education and to life in general. It does not kill children's creative spirit and ability to perceive the world in different perspectives and ways. Art education and music are important means for us to develop human creativity. We link the arts with other subjects in all areas of education.
We encourage children to perceive images and sounds independently, to understand them and to express themselves. Children are introduced to different art techniques and learn to understand the artistic process as a way of knowing, communicating and expressing their perceptions and feelings. In art classes, children explore a variety of art media, from drawing and painting to ceramics and sculpture. They learn about the art of different cultures and the history of different art movements.
Children have access to an art studio and we offer a range of creative and music clubs beyond the classroom.
Physical Education and health
We give children plenty of natural exercise. Whether in PE classes, in the school garden in the after-school center or during lessons. Children in Montessori classrooms can move freely, walk, sit and study on the floor or at a table or lie and work on the floor or in a rest area.
In PE we focus on developing gross motor skills, coordination of movement, confidence, cooperation, team building and good sportsmanship. Children learn to warm up properly, understand their bodies and have control over them. They are gradually introduced to the basics of many disciplines - gymnastics, athletics, conditioning and rhythmic exercises and movement games. They try individual and team sports, hiking and outdoor activities, learn to ski, skate and swim.
We motivate the children to improve their speed, endurance, strength and agility, while encouraging empathy and a willingness to help less able classmates. The instructors also teach children about safe exercise and hygiene in a relaxed way.
We want to encourage children to develop a lifelong habit of sport and exercise in general and to become aware of its connection to a person's mental health.
Duhovka Elementary School is a Montessori school with a Czech-English educational program accredited by the Czech Ministry of Education. The pedagogical approach is based on Montessori philosophy and teaching in all subjects is based on Montessori methodology. At the same time, we fully meet the requirements of the Czech educational plan and children leaving Duhovka Elementary School are very well placed in the entrance exam results for Czech high schools.
Our school is a part of the Czech school system and fully respects the Czech State Framework Educational Program for Elementary Education. This means that at the end of grades 5 and 9, children have at least the same outcomes as at other schools. This is important for opening up their future educational paths and the possibility of continuing their studies at high schools.
We draw from the international Montessori curriculum which significantly enriches planned outcomes in most subjects. This is most evident in the so-called Cosmic Education, in which both Natural Sciences and Humanities are interconnected. Great emphasis is also placed on the social skills of children in the Montessori curriculum.
The curriculum of our school is demanding for children, which is mainly due to the bilingual nature of teaching, which aims to ensure that all content (including technical terminology) should be gradually mastered in both languages. However, the teaching is individualized and therefore always respects the current assumptions of each child. At the same time we can still face reasonably demanding challenges for the child, regardless of the grade they formally attend. This is also supported by the concept of mixed-year classes, where children can join higher or lower-grade lessons at any time.