While appearing helpless in mother's arms, a baby seems unable to learn. In fact, this stage is when the human being is more absorbed and more open. From birth he learns to stand up, talk and think. All this without receiving a single class and thanks to his instinct and ability to imitate. Imitation is the talent that characterizes this period from birth to six or seven years. The infant copies without passing judgment, not only the sounds of the language and the gestures of those around him but also the attitudes and values of the parents and partners.
Throughout the day children live a rhythm of contraction and expansion that develops healthy breathing; something vital at this stage. They participate in varied activities such as free play inside and outside, prepare lunch, work the garden, paint, draw and make crafts. They also participate in circle time, verses and songs with movement based on the seasons and festivals. During the day they listen to a story that nourishes the inner life of the child's imagination.
Towards the end of the first stage several changes occur. Waldorf teachers consider the loss of baby teeth as the most indicative. Biologists know that every inherited cell in our body takes seven years to transform. Now for the first time in his life, the child is completely himself. This is evident in a new and dynamic imaginative life. You are ready to start your formal education. During the development of this stage the faculty of thinking sequentially and logically begins to develop and will reach maturity at fourteen. However we must be careful, now we must feed the imaginative capacity. The child must learn to feel and then learn to think.
We start the day with a musical greeting to the entire Primary. The main lesson lasts two hours. In this peirod, different subjects are taught in blocks of 3-4 weeks each. At the end of the main lesson there are two classes of supplementary subjects such as languages, mathematics or music. Elementary students have lunch and then play outside. Later, they have a period of concentration activity (reading in the case of the upper grades) and finally an artistic, craft or physical class.
To get the most out of the diversity of skills, backgrounds and experience of our students, we encourage a wide variety of skills and encourage our students to learn how to learn and investigate.
Preschool groups accept a maximum of 25 students, and in Primary a maximum of 18. This guarantees good communication between students and teachers, and between the students themselves. Reports and evaluations become more complete and complex.
In Ak Lu’um the language of communication and teaching is Spanish, and most verbal and written interactions are made in this language. However, although preschool works in Spanish, we also tell stories, verses and songs in English. In Primary, starting in first grade, English is studied in formal classes, and children acquire both languages while advancing in their schooling. All teachers are bilingual or in the process of being so. We proudly take care of our multicultural nature which enriches us all.
Festivals are an integral part of our school. Some of these events are held during the school day, others are celebrated with our community to strengthen the links between school and home. The annual festivals give us awareness of the rhythms of the year and create a link between the child and their world.
The clothes that children wear should reflect their beautiful natural environment and create an atmosphere of calm and respect. They can wear comfortable and resistant clothing; shorts, skirt or pants and closed shoes or tennis shoes. We ask not to wear clothes, backpacks, towels etc. with media-inspired images such as superheroes, cartoons and trademarks and refrain from wearing makeup. For school visits, children wear the Ak Lu’um shirt.
There is no homework in Preschool. In the lower grades the task is usually for parents to tell or read stories to their children or to draw shapes and arithmetic. In the upper grades parents are expected to monitor the tasks that are usually reading, writing, problem solving or research projects.
Ak Lu’um provides lunch and snack. The food is made with fresh and organic ingredients whenever possible. The menu is balanced and vegetarian. Children prepare food as part of the curriculum. Lunchtime is a wonderful opportunity to learn good social behavior and to share. The menu is visible in the office and changes twice a year.
The school year is divided into two semesters, from the end of August to December and from January to the end of June, with three holiday periods: Christmas, Easter and summer. The school day is 8:15 a.m. at 2:15 p.m. With the support of parents, we work to together to maintain this rhythm.
In Ak Lu’um the main focus is to educate the child through creative and practical activities, recognize their individual needs and their own learning style. We seek to encourage teamwork and 'fair play'.
Our study programs based on Waldorf pedagogy respond to the different stages of the child's development and cognitive awakening.
Young children are filled with wonder. They see beauty and purpose in everything. They are curious about all that comes to meet them. It is this natural sense of wonder that opens young children to the world around them. Children learn about life first by seeing and then by imitating what they see. Therefore great care is taken to surround them with as many life-filled experiences as possible. Free play, singing games, stories, puppet shows, crafts, baking, gardening, nature walks, eurythmy, painting and beeswax modeling are natural activities for children from 2 to 6. The foundation for later learning is firmly laid through imitative play.
As children enter Primary we can see in them a new and vivid life of imagination, and alongside this a readiness for more formal learning. They both express and experience life through finely tuned and delicate feelings. As the child moves through these years, the faculty for more sequential and logical thought begins to unfold, but it needs to be handled carefully since imagination is what the child needs to develop at this time.