A Day at The Barn SchoolAlthough our aim is to offer learners choice in every possible way, we do have some routines in place so that we can create some cohesion as a community and meet the guidelines to be a school as outlined by the Ministry of Education. Below is a brief outline of our main routines.
Students arrive between 9-9:45 and participate in a group activity in the silo basement. Once a small group of learners has gathered, they head upstairs to the main floor silo to do a check-in with a facilitator. This check-in involves a project management check-in and a review of offerings (classes) for the day. If learners need resources to do the things they want to do that day, the facilitator will help them make plans and problem solve. After check-in, learners are free to go about their day.
Scheduled offerings begin at 10am with the last offering at 2pm. They include “Poetry in the Garden”, “Newton’s Laws using Balloons”, “Farm Plot Planning”, “Building words with Lego”, “Yoga in the field”, “Harry Potter Bookclub”, and whatever other class suggestions learners wish to see and there will be regular offerings of Language and Math. Children may also create their own impromptu offerings that may sound like this; “I am working on my project and would like some volunteers to act in my movie”.
End of Day
There is no scheduled lunch time (at least for the learners above the age of 6). At 3:00 we do a tidy up and a large scale check in where learners can share about their day. Then they break into smaller groups and do a feelings check-in. At 3:30pm, learners who are leaving for the day do so. Learners who are with us for an extended day enjoy a group snack to connect as a smaller group, then play outside and do activities of their choice until 5:30pm pick up.
Every Friday, learners do a large clean up at 1pm and then reflect on their week and add to their portfolios. At 3pm, the group convenes to do a community activity such as group sing song, yoga, meditation, dance party.
Learners are in charge of their own learning projects and work on them throughout the day as they wish. The process of managing their projects is reviewed daily and reflected upon weekly and as they “complete” their projects. The general work flow is; brainstorm ideas, gather info, produce, and reflect. They may spend as much or as little time in each portion of the cycle as they wish. They can invite others to learn with them or pursue their learning solo.
Once a term, learners over the age of 8 lead a portfolio review meeting with at least one facilitator and any other members of the school or community that they wish to include. Learners present what they have done and reflect on what they would like to learn in greater detail moving forward. The invitees of the portfolio review meeting might make suggestions about how the learner can best meet their learning goals. The Barn School also hosts an “Open House” once a term where parents and community members are invited to see what we have been up. It’s a chance for kids to showcase their hard work and celebrate their learning with a larger support network.