Check out our FAQs to find answers to the most commonly asked questions we receive.
What sort of people does Village School appeal to?
Village School parents are a diverse group who cannot be categorised into a particular occupation, educational background or lifestyle. There are professionals, academics, artists, students, teachers, trades-people, writers, stay-at-home mums & dads, executives and small business owners (just to name a few!).
Village School parents do share some common beliefs. For example: they want an educational environment that adapts to the individual needs of their child; they are interested in life skills as well as academic skills; they want their child to discover and never lose the wonder of learning; they are looking for a sense of community and the opportunity to be meaningfully involved in their child's school.
At what age can children start at Village School?
Children can join the primary group from the age of 4, and children can stay until the age of 13 years. We talk in age rather than grade at Village School because interest and ability rather than the familiar age/grade format, group our students.
What if my child isn't ready for school at the beginning of the year?
At Village School, your child can start school at any stage throughout the year. If your child isn't ready for school in February, he may be ready in May. Unlike mainstream schools, you don't have to wait until the commencement of the next school year.
At Village School, you can ease the transition to school by tailoring the week to suit your child's needs. Young children can become tired and overwhelmed with the demands of a new environment and a five day school week. Many families give their child a mid-week break to recharge their batteries.
If my child starts school mid-year, won't he miss important learning?
No! Each child at Village School is allowed to learn and progress at their own pace. Learning experiences for your child would be planned around his own individual needs, interests and abilities.
Research shows that learning is a developmental process. It is unrealistic to expect children to learn to walk or talk at the same time. It is just as unrealistic to expect children to learn to read and write at the same time.
By not focusing on traditional age divisions our children have more time to develop skills and competencies without judgement or alienation. This freedom allows students to surpass the average expectation for the grade/age or to spend time to increase confidence.
Is it true that children can play all day at Village School?
Play IS highly valued at Village School. But don't worry - the good news is that your child can play and learn at the same time! Traditionally there has been a separation between play and learning in our schools. Learning happened in the classroom. Play happened in the playground, after lunch. This separation of play and learning goes against all the theoretical principles of child development and learning.
If you study education or child development today you learn that play is essential to learning. For example, it is through play that children construct knowledge; refine their learning; develop creativity and imagination and gain control and confidence. If we have this knowledge it makes sense for a school to embrace play as part of it's curriculum.
Unfortunately, implementing theory into practice takes time. When Village School led the way over 30 years ago, mainstream schools were still not giving children much opportunity for structured or unstructured play.
Today, most schools recognise the importance of play. However the wheels of change are slow in a big machine like the Department of Education so they still have some catching up to do! Consequently you will notice a greater emphasis at Village School on things like:
- Active, hands on learning
- Meaningful, relevant learning experiences
- Interactive teaching and co-operative learning
- Creating indoor and outdoor environments rich in opportunities to explore & create
It should also be said that at Village School children cannot spend every day playing, isolated from their friends or their learning needs. While we value play, it is used as a means of achieving the Victorian curriculum outcomes and learning valuable life lessons and skills. At Village School, we aim for balance and harmony and the individual needs of the child in everything we do.
If the children have so much fun, will my child still learn to read, write and do maths?
Yes. Everything that happens at Village School is grounded in a strong knowledge of how children learn and develop. We are coming from a place of established educational theory and research so we are not too 'out there'.
Village School children achieve the same Victorian Curriculum outcomes as mainstream schools do. But by making learning fun and letting children learn at their own place, we have kids who love coming to school, love learning and tend to learn quickly and easily. Many of our students take on leadership roles and achieve high scores at both private and state secondary schools after leaving Village, proving that our methods work.
So will I see lots of worksheets and homework?
You will see worksheets (varying from class to class), and you will even see homework, but it wont be in the same format as mainstream schools and it is not as important to us. You see, we know that no-one has all the answers, that there are often many ways to solve a problem, and that one day many of our children will be working in jobs which haven't yet been invented. By making learning fun, and by allowing children to explore, to think and, with support and encouragement, to find their own answers to problems, we are preparing them for whatever their lives bring in the future. Mountains of worksheets and tiresome homework will not prepare them for the world beyond school. At Village School we believe the best way to prepare children for the future is to give them the skills to solve problems and to find the answers they are seeking, and we believe children with a strong sense of self and the confidence to think for themselves will be far better prepared for adult life.
How does Village School help children in the transition between preschool and primary school?
Village School has a strong transition programme for young children entering the primary school. It is our aim to make the transition a gentle one which supports the children and their families and takes care of their very individual needs.
Children start primary when they are really ready.
Unlike most schools, children can start at Village School at any stage throughout the year. Often children aren't quite ready for school at the beginning of the year, or perhaps they aren't old enough. Rather than having to wait 12 months until the beginning of the next school year, they have the opportunity of starting when their parents and preschool teacher agree they are ready to make a successful transition.
Children visit the primary extensively throughout Term 4.
Most schools have an orientation day at the end of the year to help children become familiar with the school environment. At Village School the preschool children who will be moving to the primary visit the primary classroom for short periods of time on almost a daily basis. In this way, they get to know their future teacher and classmates and become familiar with the rhythm of life at school. This makes for a gentle transition period.
Parents can help their child settle in at school
There is no drop, kiss and leave policy at Village School. Parents are encouraged to stay in the classroom for as long as they need to to help their child feel safe, settled, and secure in the classroom and the daily routine.
Children can start with a shorter week
Starting school can be an overwhelming and tiring experience for some children. Tired children will not have the energy or motivation to get the most from their school day. A day at home to recharge their batteries helps to make the beginning of school a happy, positive and successful experience.
How can Village School do things that other schools can't?
We have small classes that tailor individual learning programmes for each child. We don't expect that all children will be learning and achieving exactly the same thing at the same time. So if they take a day off during the week, they won't miss out on learning the letter "m" or if they start mid-year they won't have missed addition!
Why does Village School have mixed age classes?
School is one of the few places in society that divides us from our peers on the basis of age. Village School creates a more authentic and traditional social environment where classes are structured in a similar way to that of a family or workplace.
In the “community classes” children of different ages, experiences and abilities work together in small groups and engage in learning activities planned with their teacher. Learning occurs in a variety of surroundings from the whole class to small groups and individual settings. Children work with each other, developing and sharing knowledge, testing theories and reflecting on their learning. Teachers work as facilitators of this social learning process, monitoring group and individual development.
- Children learn to work collaboratively; they can take the role of ‘student’ or ‘teacher’ with their peers.
- Research indicates that children who have participated in mixed age classes continue to be more pro-social and less aggressive.
- The children are grouped flexibly according to the needs of the learning community e.g. their interests, competencies, a specific learning need or social skills development.
- The child’s individuality is met through small flexible groups which allows the teachers to build on children’s competencies and interests.
- The children have the chance to learn in a way that meets their own learning style rather than a one size fits all approach to education.
- Children learn from one and other, the teacher, parents and the environment. Rather than a sterile silent classroom, a child’s environment and learning is enhanced by movement and interaction.
What happens to students after Village School?
Village School provides children with a strong academic, emotional, and social foundation. Along with the important basic skills, Village School children take with them a love of learning, a strong sense of self and well developed thinking and communication skills. Following their Village School education students select a wide variety of high schools to suit their individual needs and interests, and adapt to different settings extremely well.
Many Village School students have chosen to continue their education in colleges and universities all over the country, and abroad. Many have entered directly into the worlds of business, trades, arts, crafts, and technical vocations.
Former Village School students see themselves as confident and competent members of society, capable of defining meaningful goals for their lives and finding ways to achieve them. You can read the stories of some past students, describing their experiences at Village School and their acheivements since leaving the school.