The New Learning Culture™ (NLC) School Model is a synthesis of learner-friendy practices offering a complete, replicable template and customized support for child-centered schools, adapted to preschool, K-8, and high school.
Benefits of the NLC school model
The teacher’s work as a mentor and facilitator is completely supported by the NLC system. The bureaucratic workload is drastically reduced, while the capacity to tend to each learner’s needs is enormously heightened. This basically eliminates disciplinary issues in the learning environments and frees teachers from the strain of traditional classroom management.
This model allows learners to find their individual balance between self-initiated, hands-on learning, play, and teacher-guided lessons, creating their own emerging curriculum on the go. Learners in middle and high school co-determine individual learning benchmarks, and are supported towards their next ideal learning steps.
Children learn at school, and homework is optional. Learning companions support self-initiated projects and help children explore individual learning benchmarks.
Follow-up data from exemplary schools in Europe have shown that graduates choose colleges and careers similar to graduates from public schools –with the difference of showing exceptional creativity, self-esteem, and kindness.
- are designed to meet the learner’s genuine needs for exploration, play, and interaction in inspiring, indoor and outdoor, hands-on learning environments.
- support teachers to become learning companions providing the time and resources needed to individually mentor learners, establish genuine, supportive relationships, and offer inspiring classes.
- practice supportive progress assessment in collaboration with each learner with the help of the adaptive NLC Checklist Curriculum™ (will be available online soon).
Child-Directed, Hands-on Learning Environments include:
– Interactive Language labs for English and foreign languages,
– Math Studios with Montessori and other hands-on learning materials,
– Science Lab and Social Studies Room,
– Social Studies and History Room with Extended Library,
– Arts and Crafts studios inspired by Reggio Emilia and other approaches,
– Explorative Play and Pretend Play inspired by Waldorf and other approaches,
– Fully accessible Kitchen for cooking projects,
– Woodshop and other workshops,
– Music, Stage and Movement Room,
– Emotional Safety Areas inspired by Non-Directive Play Therapy and iRest for Kids,
– Play in Nature and Wilderness Education,
– Gardens, Seed Saving, and Food Processing,
– Group Meeting Areas
– Mindfulness, Yoga, and Qigong for Children,
and more according to the skills of the teaching staff.
Examples of additional elements for Middle and High School include:
– Personal skills research,
– Co-creating learning challenges,
– Extra Emotional Support and optional Rites of Passage,
– Science, Physics, and Chemistry Labs,
– Cultural Studies Research Studio,
– Experimental Gardens and Kitchen,
– The Architect’s and Builder’s Desk,
– Woodshop and other Building Areas,
– Computer Access, Photo Lab and Film Studio,
– Theatre and Improv Space,
– Local trips and Travels to Foreign Countries,
– “Adulting” and College Admission Prep Room.
In NLC-based environments:
- Learners spontaneously create rich learning opportunities for themselves, and in collaboration with peers and learning companions.
- Children learn at their own pace, naturally communicate, play, and explore within the healthy boundaries set by NLC teachers—their learning companions.
- Each learner finds individual ways to reveal his or her natural genius as their individual curriculum emerges over time.
Carmen supports school leadership teams in combining the below 6 components with a series of flexible building blocks such as individual school lay-out and design, teacher-student ratio, and progress assessment. In a series of consecutive online sessions, the NLC model is readily adapted to your school’s needs. Contact Carmen
The Six Necessary Components of the NLC School Model
The NLC model includes six essential components derived from European Rebeca Wild-inspired schools and from the most learner-friendly practices in alternative education.
- Prepared environments
- Hands-on materials
- Healthy boundaries
- Learning companions
- Non-invasive teaching and progress assessment
- Close collaboration with parents
1. Prepared Indoor and Outdoor Environments
NLC-based schools consist of rooms and outdoor areas dedicated each to a specific purpose. Learners choose where they would like to spend time, guided by learning companions who may redirect them to another appropriate environment rather than limiting the range of their activities. An NLC-based school is a “Yes” environment.
2. Hands-On Learning Materials
NLC environments are filled with inviting hands-on learning materials that are ready to use—learning tools that can be touched and explored. They can be tools from the kitchen, woodshop, or garden, as well as materials specifically made for teaching, such as Montessori, Froebel, Nikitin, and modern teaching tools.
3. Healthy Boundaries and House Rules
In NLC environments, adults are present to accompany self-directed learners with loving attention and healthy boundaries— witnessing, mentoring, and providing all that is needed during the time at school. By establishing healthy boundaries, including specific house rules, learning companions can allow children as much freedom and independent movement as possible while ensuring that everyone feels safe.
4. Teachers as Learning Companions
Teachers, known as learning companions, are always present to inspire and assist the learners. They create a fertile field for learning and provide the emotionally safe atmosphere children cannot create on their own. Learning companions nurture the learners’ self-initiated activities, supporting each learner’s capacity and willingness to learn, grow, and be part of the community.
5. Non-Invasive Teaching and progress assessment
Non-invasive teaching represents the many ways learning companions become muses and mentors for the learners. They inspire learners to take the next step, inquire more deeply, and overall provide ongoing learning opportunities. They mentor and support each student on his or her personal learning path. All NLC non-invasive teaching techniques allow teachers to remain in continuous dialogue with the learner. All education goals are set in agreement and collboration with the learner.
6. Close Collaboration with the Parents
NLC schools are designed to support families in raising and educating their children. Schools provide support and community for the whole family: places where both children and adults meet to connect, learn, exchange resources, and establish friendships. Parents are invited to participate in various ways, including spending time in the learning environments, participating in regular meetings, and participating in educational workshops where the NLC approach is explored.
In NLC-based schools, youngsters remain in touch with who they really are. They receive a well-rounded education in alignment with their natural development and innate gifts.