Our curriculum

At Colina Learning Center we are educating change-makers.
We offer a holistic, research-based Expeditionary Learning curriculum for children and adults of all ages.

The curriculum formula

What matters in school

Great educational standards

What matters in life

Competencies for a thriving, purposeful adult

A methodology that works

Expeditionary Learning

Measuring what matters

Personal Mastery of Subjects and Skills, Impact on People and the Planet

Adults who keep learning

Developmental Approaches and Life Design

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Through individualized pathways, we support our members to ‘thrive with purpose’ in this ever-evolving world, whether at top universities or through a more entrepreneurial route.

Our curriculum is constantly evolving as we learn from research-based best practices and each other.

Features of Learning at CLC

wheel of CLC features

Success in real life, beyond exams

This is the only time learners are in school. During this precious, unique time when they are safely learning, it is our responsibility to ensure learners gain the essential life skills that will enable them to thrive as adults. So let’s make sure that time spent in school is worthwhile for the whole person and for their entire life.

Our learning model is about ‘Learning to Design a Thriving, Purposeful Life’. It is holistic and long-term, focusing on all the key areas of development in life: physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual.

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Learning pathways from 18 months to 80 years old

We see learning as lifelong, it is what serves us to move to the next step in our lives. Traditional school is about limiting learning to a narrow focus. The way we design learning is about opening up horizons and varied learning pathways for an unpredictable future. Learning is not about what happens ‘only in school’. It is about supporting each member in our community on their own personal learning journey.

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Personalization.
No more forced curricula.
No more one size fits all.

We learn more easily what we like, what is relevant to us and what is taught to us in the way we enjoy the most. In an education that works, learners are asked about their preferences and areas of interest. They can influence and choose ways of learning that suit them the most. Resources and ways of teaching are varied and allow for different styles of learning from visual and auditory to kinesthetic and social.

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Real projects with impact in the real world

Our expeditionary learning methodology uses a project-based approach which leads to real impact in the real world through every learning project. Learners get to do real work, they learn by doing and by experiencing real situations. This is much more effective to promote understanding and deep learning.

We have a triple-bottom line approach to assessing the effectiveness of all learning projects: personal mastery of skills and subjects, impact on the people and on the planet.

This changes school from a ‘grading and exam-preparation machine’ into an engine for ongoing improvement in the community.

Mastery of new skills, not memorization

Traditional education has focused on information and memorization. Although necessary, these are but a small and insufficient part of learning.
Learning is successful when you can actually use and apply what you have learned.

If you look at the neuroscience of learning, a learning cycle is complete when we have actually mastered a new skill. We do not only “know” something in theory, we are capable of using the information we have learned in practical and applicable situations. This approach to learning is focused on ‘skills’ or the wider concept of ‘competencies’ (which encompass information, abilities and attitudes).

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Self-directed learning. Learner as agents in their own learning.
“Education will take you anywhere you want to go but it won't replace you as the driver.”

The world needs people who can self-direct and manage their time, form teams and make an impact by solving challenges that matter. Our approach is geared towards learners being able to learn for themselves, a little more every day.

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An outstanding learning culture.
“It takes a GREAT village.”

Our embedded Learning Culture in every classroom and every family maximizes the effectiveness of teaching, parenting and leadership. As a school, we design learning for everyone in the community, not only children.

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High standards for every learner.
At their own pace.

Effective schools have high standards for each and every learner. The science of learning has repeatedly proven how powerful high expectations are to drive success. It is called “"The Pygmalion Effect"” and it works, but only if education is personalized and relevant for children.

Since they get to choose the way they learn, we can expect them to excel. Not all children need to excel at the same things at the same time, but they will be expected to develop areas of mastery.

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A dynamic curriculum. Learning evolves as the world evolves.

Every day around the world a school discovers a better and more powerful approach to learning.
Our curriculum constantly upgrades just like good software.

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Beautiful, diverse and green learning environments. The world is our classroom.

Our school campus will not be ‘a prison’ where children are dropped off and locked in until they go back home. Our school campus will be a “basecamp” from where they will keep going to discover and explore and will come back to coordinate, make sense and deepen their learning.

Our first campus is part of Colina Noua, an innovative residential concept with great design, communal spaces, plenty of green areas, organic farms, and nature trails.

Our methodology of 'expeditionary learning' and our learning philosophy will ensure that learners spend a lot of time 'out-of-school'. Trips and activities in nature will be a regular part of learning. As our learners grow and become more autonomous, we will encourage projects in which they will visit and learn from real-life situations and real-life professionals.

Our
standards

Our educational standards are on 2 layers:

1

What matters in school

The basis of our curriculum is a strong academic core.
We chose the New York State Learning Standards.

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2

What matters in life

Our competencies model is research-based and aligned with recommendations for 21st-century education which needs to be skill-based, not only information-based.

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Our methodology

Expeditionary Learning

Imagine a place where learning happens everywhere: in the CLC Hub, at home, outdoors, and online. This is us. Imagine learners doing the work through research, online games for mental fitness, access to mentors who help build mastery, or experiments in real life, not educators explaining in front of the class all the time.

The CLC
Expedition
Journey

Discover

  • Immersion
  • Sense of wonder and curiosity
  • Feeling
  • Using all of our senses
  • Self-awarness

Dream

  • Allowing yourself to dream
  • Setting targets
  • Being optimistic
  • Being accountable
  • Committing to achieve

Research

  • Being fascinated
  • Expanding knowledge
  • Building understanding
  • Navigating ideas
  • Building knowledge

Do

  • Manifesting
  • Moving into action
  • Making
  • Shaping
  • Using feedback frequently
  • Persevering

Transform

  • Measuring impact
  • Showcasing
  • Expading beyond the school
  • Real-world impact
  • Celebrating

A
few key
facts

about expeditionary
learning

  • Great founders
    (Harvard, Outward Bound and Ron Berger)
  • Many years of excellent research behind it (over 25)
  • Well-established: EL is currently in 400+ schools
  • Many resources available for educators
    (training, books, examples of best practice)
  • Learners build character as well as intellect
  • Learning is “by doing”
  • Real World approach: academic topics that matter and are connected to the real world
  • Self-directed: Learners have agency & responsibility
  • Learners achieve better academic performance

Expeditionary Learning is a methodology established in 1995 through a collaboration by Harvard University and a group of educators from the well-known organization Outward Bound (education in nature).

What is a Learning Expedition? Imagine learners spend most of their time engaged in sustained, in-depth studies of a single theme or topic.
The experiences, which generally last four to nine weeks, include strong intellectual, service and physical dimensions. Intellectually rigorous projects and purposeful fieldwork - the heart of each expedition - provide a vision and a strategy for assessment that is fully integrated with curriculum and instruction.

A learning expedition is a project-based approach engaging learners in an interdisciplinary, in-depth study of important topics, in groups and in their community.

Learning Expeditions set learners up to gain skills and knowledge through a context that is meaningful to them, giving them the time, resources, and opportunity to master and feel confident in their learning before moving on to a fresh expedition.

Our Colina Learning Center expedition will take learners through steps following brain-based learning to create an engaging, complex and challenging learning journey.

The expeditions are rigorously planned and they have clear sets of learning goals and targets around a compelling topic.

An expedition will take learners outside of school, into nature and the community. It will also take learners into an in-depth study of a single topic, offering plenty of opportunities for deep learning.

Our assessment

We believe in high standards for our learners. Provided that learning is personalized and meaningful, we all have great potential which can be nurtured.

Not all learners need to get to the level of mastery at the same time and in the same way. But we do expect each learner to succeed and we will provide them with the right level of challenge and support.

We have a triple bottom-line
approach to assessment:

Personal Mastery of Subjects & Skills, Impact on People & Impact on the Planet. These are our areas of assessment:

letter H

Holistic

“Thrive-with-Purpose”
assessment

We are collaborating with Brio, a well-established creator of assessments of school subjects, IQ, EQ, and personality, to develop the right metrics for our learning model with “competencies for a thriving, purposeful adult.” This will prevent us from falling into the trap of a narrow focus on exams and grades. As children grow, they will have a way to measure and work on learning the important skills which will be the basis of a rich and meaningful adulthood.

letter I

Impact

Continuously measuring our impact on people and the planet

With every project and every school activity, we always look beyond ourselves to check how the world arounds us has changed because of our actions. Or lack thereof.
Our learners will see themselves as active contributors to the people around them and the planet we all share.

letter A

Academic

mastery-based
assessment

A mastery-based grading system will be utilized, where learners will be assessed on the mastery of content/standards. Children will need to meet a minimum expectation of mastery, and once reached will receive a level of mastery. Learners advance to the next course based on mastery, not a timeline.

Our school structure

"Group children by ability and interest not grades."
(Gifted Education Research, Resource and Information Centre).

As we all know, age was an important, yet insufficient predictor of level in our school progress. Humans refuse to neatly follow the school syllabus in their development.

At CLC, age is not the most important divider in groups or rooms.
Projects, interests and levels become the links that lead to group formation. The activity and the teacher adapt to the learner, not the other way around.

Formally, we are not organized by ‘grade’ but by ‘age range’ and ‘stage of development’. It is a more organic and useful way to be organized, allowing us to take every learner from where they are and to support them to develop further.

We look at developmental approaches and we organize our learners by:

-Stages of development

(early childhood, middle childhood, late childhood, adolescence)

-Age ranges, normally spanning 2 years

(2,5-4s, 4-6s, 6-8s, 8-10s, 10-12s, 12-14s, 14-16s, 16-18s)

Stages of
Development
Age
Ranges
Grade
Equivalent
CLC
School Division
Early Childhood

2,5 - 4*

4 - 6*

Preschool*

Preschool
Middle Childhood

6 - 8*

8 - 10

Grades 1 - 2*

Grades 3 - 4

Primary School
Late Childhood
10 - 12
Grades 5 - 6
Middle School
Adolescence

12 - 14

14 - 16

16 - 18

Grades 7 - 8

Grades 9 - 10

Grades 11 - 12

High School
Early Adulthood
18 - 25
Young Adulthood
25 - 40
Middle Adulthood
40 - 64
Older Adulthood
64+
Life - Long
Learning and Development

Over 100 days
of learning

This is what adults need each year.

There is a curriculum of our society making constant demands on all adults to keep learning like never before. The need for adults to keep learning and developing is maybe even more important in schools. We know that no school can be better than the level of teachers. And research shows again and again that parents remain the first and foremost educators in children’s lives.

We don’t expect parents and grandparents to come to classes and do homework. Life-long learning is not about what happens ‘in school’. It is about supporting each member in our community on their own personal learning journey.

18 to 80
Our vision of learning at CLC is to create an integrated adult-child curriculum, with learning pathways from 18 months to 80 years long.

We won’t mandate the kind of learning adults will embark on.
Our principles for adult learning are:

  • highly personalized
  • self-directed
  • self-paced

It is up to every single person, teacher, administrator, parent, grandparent, etc. to choose how much and where they want to develop.
What we do is to provide rituals and a community that act as catalysts for our individual efforts to keep growing.

Our
plan

for Adult Learning
and Development

Using developmental approaches, we will invite all adults in our community to explore opportunities for self-authorship, life design and family and relationship design.

Everyone will be a self-leader of their own learning and development.

  • Self-Leadership entails:
  • Defining a vision of your own life
  • Setting objectives
  • Taking action
  • Creating relationships
  • Finding resources
    (information, mentors, material resources)
  • Measuring progress
  • Learning and adjusting from failure
  • Celebrating success
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The Co-Creation of an Integrated Curriculum. We are in the process of developing the adult learning and development activities that best fit our curriculum and the specific needs of the adults in our community. This is the innovation we are bringing to education, placing the school at the heart of the learning for the entire family and the entire community.

We have a great development team:

We have a design thinking approach following the steps of the CLC Learning Expedition:

  • April-May 2021: Discover (immersion, interviews)
  • May-June 2021: Dream (synthesize, make choices)
  • June-July 2021: Research (ideate and prototype)
  • September 2021-January 2022: Do (launch pilot )
  • February-June 2022: Transform (measure and report progress)

We have a co-creator view of our parents:

  • We call the first parents “Founding Fathers and Mothers”
  • We have a “Co-Creator Special Fee”
  • We have a “Co-Creator Agreement”

Through these carefully thought out processes and approaches, we will engage the collective intelligence of everyone in our school to shape the adult development program so that it best fits the needs of busy and concerned parents and teachers.

Do let us know if you want to contribute to our adult learning and development program.

Join the team