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READ ARTICLE IN SPANISH
Current education does not address the needs of today’s world. We cannot pretend to accomplish different results by doing what we have always done, or simply adjusting yesterday’s strategies to the world of today. Edu1st schools are convinced that, to change education, we need to look at it in a new light. Schools, teachers, educational models, and the roles they play in learning must make a 360- degree turn.
For this reason, Edu1st developed VESS, a model that rethinks schools, teachers, what we should learn and how we should learn it.
VESS is a Spanish acronym that stands for Meaningful Life with Balance and Wisdom (Vida Equilibrada con Sentido y Sabiduria). It is an educational philosophy and model that reexamines the competencies children must develop since Infancy to accomplish physical, spiritual, and mental balance in their relationships with their peers, families and communities. Thinking as a Pedagogical Strategy is the core of the VESS model, as it helps students learn in a way that is meaningful to them. An individual that lives with purpose and is conscious of his/her actions is able to give sense and reason to everything he/she does.
Project Zero, developed by Harvard University, is the seed of inspiration, as well as an essential tool, in the development of the VESS model. The goal of Project Zero is to better comprehend and improve the mental movements that influence the learning processes in the arts, sciences, and humanities.
Foremost, Project Zero recognizes students as the leaders of their learning process, taking into account their stage of development, learning preferences, personal perceptions of the world and various channels for expression of their ideas.
One of the most outstanding components of this project is its focus on Visible Thinking, which suggests that we should help students “see” the actions (movements) that take place inside their brains when they think. The goal is to have children understand and internalize the mental processes that lead to more critical and logical thinking. People learn better through experience, so that when students “see” and experience the processes that underlie their thoughts, they improve the application of these processes and develop better thinking skills than they would have otherwise.
Through thinking routines, children at VESS centers learn to understand the way information is processed and how to apply it to different situations. Children become conscious of the way they think. They learn to observe, analyze, deduce and generate new ideas. In this way, they establish habits that predispose their minds to develop different and better thinking techniques throughout their lives.
It is important to highlight that VESS puts a significant emphasis on morality and ethics as integral dimensions of children’s education. VESS works with children to instill in them conflict resolution skills, empathy, citizenship, open-mindedness, curiosity, and creativity. It assures the cultivation of relationships based on win-win premises with fairness, sustainability, and peace with others and the environment.
Rather than administering answers and expecting memorization, all Edu1st educators learn to pose questions that facilitate learning. Parents at VESS centers often describe their children as exhibiting listening skills and a superior understanding of how to find value in others’ ideas. This occurs because VESS classrooms are different from classrooms elsewhere: all opinions and thoughts are valued, not only from an empathetic or sentimental point of view, but in a way that respects and perceives the potential in the ideas of these young, thinking minds.
VESS not only motivates children to play and learn. It encourages children to communicate their thoughts and feelings in new and fun ways. Children are invited to experiment, get messy, and to want to learn about things that they would have never thought of learning about before. In fact, this is how learning and creativity are produced: through generating new experiences that we connect with previous knowledge