Edu1st VESS Educational Model
VESS means Meaningful Life with Balance and Wisdom. VESS is a Visionary Educational Model that brings together the best educational programs around the world harmoniously integrated with ours and the PEP methodology (Thinking as a Pedagogical Strategy). This model understands that the school and the academic life should go beyond learning contents. Content is still important but the development of the individual with spiritual, emotional, social, personal, intellectual, and physical balance is far more important so he can reach matureness in all of these areas.
- We are committed to creating a culture of thinking and developing habits of mind using thinking as a pedagogical tool, fostering analytical, critical, and creative thinking; helping children in their task of building the mind from their childhood until adulthood.
- The VESS Educational Model is successful because it knows and works with the natural principles of the child's development and response to the needs of early childhood in a global society that faces many changes as well as social and environmental challenges.
- Its flexibility provides a frame of work which can be incorporated into any curriculum and/or educational program. It is an educational tool that supports and expands the educator’s methodological alternatives.
Our Bilingual International Educational Model was inspired by the combination of Reggio Emilia philosophy, more than 15 years of study and careful integration of a variety of proposals, and multiple methodologies that work with the concept of thinking today.
Some of the methodologies are Project Zero and Visible Thinking Focus from Harvard University, the curriculum for Early Childhood in New Zealand, Dr. Art Costa’s Habits of Mind, the Philosophy for Children by Dr. Matthew Lipman and Lateral and Parallel Thinking by Edward DeBono.With these proposals and methodologies in mind, and considering the many studies conducted by neurologists, psychologists and educators about "learning and the brain", we have combined our own research, experience and studies and have developed an educational model dedicated to the development and promotion of thought and a Culture of Thinking.
In order to achieve a Meaningful Life with Balance and Wisdom, a “VESS Life”, educators must meet a series of requirements and basic conditions in the environment where students are. This environment not only should promote learning, but also stimulate and provoke critical thinking and reasoning.
The basic conditions are:
- Wellness: Individuals need to feel physically, socially and intellectually safe.
- Meaning and permanence: Individuals need to feel they are part of a group that appreciates and values them, and that their contributions to the group have meaning and purpose.
- Communication: Individuals need to learn to share their ideas with others, they also need to learn to listen how to communicate using multiple media.
- Contribution: Individuals need to learn to work together and value the contributions of others while recognizing that their contribution is valuable.
- Exploration: Individuals need to be curious and eager to learn more and expand their mind and knowledge
- Flexpertice: Individuals need to have the ability to integrate various forms of knowledge and experiences in order to adapt to a "changing world”: Introduced by Dr. David Perkins, Harvard University.
In the Edu1st VESS School Networks children use thinking routines to learn to comprehend the way in which information is processed, how to apply this information to different situations, and to the way in which they think. Children will learn to observe, analyze, deduce, predict, and generate new ideas. This way they will establish habits of mind to develop different and better thinking processes throughout their lives.
It is important to stress that VESS and everything that involves its philosophy of working with the process of thinking, as the basis for all aspects of individual growth, is not limited to the academic abilities of the children. It also deeply contemplates the fostering of values, ethics, conflict resolution, empathy, citizenship conscience, open- mindedness, curiosity, and creativity, the importance of cultivating relationships based on a win-win premise, equality, sustainability, and peace with others and with the environment.
All Edu1st educators are highly trained in our model and learn to make questions that facilitate the learning process instead of giving the answers and expecting memorization. Having this in mind, parents will also find that their children learn to listen and find value in other’s ideas. For this reason, our facilities are a little bit different to those of other traditional preschool centers, which is evident in our documentation. All the opinions and thoughts of the children are valuable to us; not only for their sentimental value, because our teachers love their students, but also because we respect and see the potential in the minds of these young thinkers too.
We not only motivate children to draw, play and learn; we also foster them to communicate their thoughts and feelings in a new and enjoyable way. We motivate them to experiment and get dirty, to want to learn new things that they had never had the curiosity to learn before. This is how learning and creativity happen - when we generate new experiences and we connect them to our previous knowledge and experiences.
Harvard University’s Project Zero has been an essential inspiration and thinking tool source in the development of the Edu1st VESS Educational Model. Project Zero’s goal is to understand and improve the mental movements involved in the learning process in the arts, humanities and sciences.
Primarily, Project Zero recognizes the leading role students play in the learning process, while keeping in mind their developmental stages, the manner in which they learn, how each individual perceives the world and the different avenues by which ideas can be expressed. One of the most remarkable components of this project is its focus on Visible Thinking, which proposes the idea of helping students “see” the actions (movements) that take place in their mind when they are thinking. The goal is to have children internalize the processes and movements that are conducive to more critical and objective thinking. People learn better through experiences; because of this, when students “see” and experience the processes behind thinking, they learn to utilize these processes better and as result developing their brain and thinking skills further than they would have otherwise.
As a global pioneer of Visible Thinking in early childhood education and based on years of implementation and experience, Edu1st firmly believes that the Visible Thinking tools not only optimize the thinking process in adults, but also increases cognitive ability in children starting in early childhood, allowing them to develop their true potential. Accordingly, the formation of good habits of mind should commence at a very early age. Through games, thinking routines and strategies that use tools to promote thinking and stimulate metacognition, children learn to realize which thinking process is more appropriate in each specific situation.
These thinking processes are then internalized and later applied in an effortless manner to different situations in the person’s daily life. After years of implementing Visible Thinking with children starting as young as one year of age, we have seen that children do not only exceed traditional education’s preconceived notion of their metacognitive ability but also of their ability to value thinking, care about the needs of others, and execute wise actions at a very early age.