A FOCUS ON DEMOCRACY
Since 2011, Morningstar Preschool and Kindergarten has helped children acquire the knowledge, skills, and values they need to become responsible members of a democratic society. In order to nurture democracy, Morningstar fosters “a genuine form of active community life, instead of a place set apart in which to learn lessons” (Dewey).
Morningstar focuses on democracy: the values, practices, freedoms and responsibilities of democracy, and the effectiveness of democratic education in promoting a lifelong love of learning. Morningstar’s governance, organization and justice systems are democratic. In daily life, the individual characters and passions of children are appreciated and supported. Yet, in the social atmosphere, Morningstar children find that they must think of others as well as themselves. Through daily interactions, they learn what English educator A. S. Neill referred to as the vital difference between “freedom and license”. Morningstar children learn respect through being respected. Daily life offers many opportunities for adults as well as children to question or to be questioned.
Morningstar Preschool and Kindergarten belongs firmly to the long tradition of learner-centered education that sees a child’s curiosity as the primary driver for knowledge acquisition. Long before they arrive at school, children demonstrate their drive and capability by learning their first language, imitating, exploring and asking questions. Morningstar respects children’s desire to become competent and participate in the greater world.
At Morningstar, learning is respected as an intrinsic aspect of living: it is not isolated from sociability, physicality, creativity, play, or any other necessity. The parents and educators ofMorningstar act on the belief that learning requires consensual, holistic involvement. The differing talents and learning styles of students are respected: children gain skills at their own pace, without judgment. In Morningstar’s non-competitive environment, learning is both social and cooperative and individual and personal. Much learning at Morningstar is conversational. Literacy educator Paulo Freire emphasized the importance of “dialogue… as an indispensable component of the process of both learning and knowing.”
While staff provide students with ongoing opportunities to engage with literacy, numeracy, the arts and the physical and social sciences, children and families bring their skills and interests to school to share.
What makes Morningstar Preschool and Kindergarten a truly unique alternative? It is the manner of learning, not so much the subjects learned, that sets Morningstar apart. We recognize that everyone learns differently, at different rates, and has different interests. We cater to each child with a holistic, arts-infused, experiential and collaborative approach in specific contexts within a democratic framework. At the heart of Morningstar's approach to early childhood education is that it promotes imagination, inquiry and integration. Perhaps Ayers’ definition of curriculum best describes this approach: “curriculum is an ongoing engagement with the problem of determining what knowledge and experiences are most worthwhile. With each person and each situation, that problem takes on unique shadings and different meanings.”
Discovery and learning at Morningstar is never complete, and no guide to programs will illustrate what we are truly about in the way that our students can. The following pages describe our programs, approach and curriculum, but the vibrancy and creative leadership our children bring to school everyday cannot be captured in words. We hope you will come for a visit.
Block 2, G/F, Chi Fu Fa Yuen, Pokfulam, Hong Kong
(p) +852 6993 7157 (e) hello@MorningstarSchools.com