The elementary school and all that are part of it follow values and principles based on the pedagogical concept of Maria Montessori, which we apply to the children’s daily lives. We teach the children through specific situations, examples, actions and values that we also live.
We accept each child as he or she comes to us, without preconceived ideas about their abilities and potential. A child’s performance at school today doesn’t have to determine how they may do in the future. Everyone gets a chance to discover all the things they need to grow inside themselves. We help them in that search in a way that’s right for them. By setting up a prepared environment and respecting the unique pace of each individual, we let everyone achieve their personal best.
We encourage and cultivate self-confidence in the children, their teachers and our other colleagues and guide them to have faith in their own abilities. Our approach to teaching means that each individual always builds on a foundation of what they’ve already mastered, while at the same time their abilities and skills are constantly being developed. Our evaluations focus solely on specific patterns of behavior, not the individuals themselves. We can’t share something with others if we don’t have it ourselves. So we need to constantly cultivate in our own lives the things we want to give to our students.
The needs of children, parents and teachers are of paramount importance to us, as are the requirements of the other parties involved. We therefore continuously identify these needs, assess them, and work with them. We strive to create an environment where children, students, parents and teachers alike feel free to communicate their needs. We encourage our teachers to develop self-reflection skills, and help them make the most of their strengths, be true to themselves, and enjoy successful lives. The quality of students’ cooperation in class is very important for us. If there are problems with that cooperation, we must first examine whether we ourselves need to make a change. Being free means knowing your limits and limitations. That’s why we have a clear system of rules that must be respected by students, parents, teachers and all of our other staff equally. We guarantee our students will achieve all the educational targets set by the government and on top of those we add our own goals based on the Duhovka system. We are continually enriching this system by incorporating the latest best practices in educational psychology, as well as philosophical approaches from around the world. We always check that the needs and expectations of new children, students and their parents match up with what we offer, so we can be sure the Duhovka approach will be the right one for them.
Interpersonal relationships at Duhovka are founded on trust and mutual support, and we nurture them every day. Honest and straightforward relationships are a priority for us. All our resources are aimed at inspiring an appetite for lifelong learning in students and adults and their desire to discover the world, both around them and inside themselves. We see teachers as guides, showing others how to find the way to their goals accompanied by the joy of discovery. We recognize that there’s no universal path to a happy and successful life and that we each have our own unique way that’s right for us. We nurture the growth of strong individual personalities, capable of establishing real relationships based on mutual respect. We have a system of simple rules that we continue to refine, which secure equal rights for everyone both in their education and in the life of the school. Students learn that rules are useful, and in many cases are vital. We take a holistic approach with students. Happiness and success don’t come from knowledge and skills alone but depend on a well-developed, rounded personality. Where there are cultural and social differences between children or students, we use them to nourish their social and emotional intelligence and their ability to be enriched by lives and worldviews other than their own.
We don’t present learners with one, definitive version of the Truth, but guide them so they can navigate through a flood of information and apply their newfound knowledge correctly. We don’t see students as empty vessels to be filled with facts, but as individuals in their own right, who can’t simply be molded into shape from outside. For us, the ideal aim of teaching is not just to impart knowledge but to show students how to teach themselves and enjoy themselves doing it. We cultivate both the ability to work with others towards common goals and the capacity for individual self-assertion. We see learning as a spontaneous and continuous human activity – children both want and need to discover the world around them. We teach them to understand the world contextually, to critically evaluate information, defend their opinions and resist manipulation. Students and teachers are partners with a common goal – the teacher is a guide who can help, support, encourage and facilitate. Each person is their own best teacher and guide.