Learning without limits

 
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Time for change

 
 
 
 
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Conscious and accountable

We are a dedicated, socially, and environmentally conscious learning community offering individualized learning plans as an alternative education model to our future-conscious citizens, leaders, and their families. We immerse ourselves in our community, promote mutual respect between our learners and practiced learners (PLs or ‘Practiced Learners’ aka "Teachers" in traditional classrooms), and work hard to build and maintain an engaged learning environment for both our Learners and Practiced Learners.
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In this poignant, funny follow-up to his fabled 2006 talk, Sir Ken Robinson makes the case for a radical shift from standardized schools to personalized learning - creating conditions where kids' natural talents can flourish.

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Who's in?

Ages:   5-13 (Group learning according to individual learning goals rather than age or grade- roughly: 5 - 7, 8-10, 11-13) 
Locations:   Colorado - Lakewood/Englewood Area. We will temporarily use Highlands Ranch as our base while we are in the process of finalizing details on our new campus in the Lakewood/Englewood Area, however in order to make our unique school accessible to those all over Denver we provide transport from pickup locations in North, South, East and West Denver. Please contact us to learn more. 
Ratio:   Direct instruction 1:1, Free Exploration 1:10
Learning Hours:   9am-2pm, with extracurricular activities from 2-5pm Mon - Thurs, Fri = Free Learning Friday (Optional offerings - Please ask about these on your tour!)
Office Hours:   8.30am-5.30pm Monday - Friday; Please schedule an appointment if you query is likely to be more than 5 mins so we can give you our undivided attention.
Enrollment Options: 2, 3, 4, & 5 day Options. Morning / Afternoon options also available on a limited basis. Please call to discuss associated costs.
Tuition:   $4,051 - $15,005 per year. Various options as noted above. Please do not feel excluded! Scholarships, Payment plans, and Fee subsidy offered (please contact us to discuss your options)
Tours:   We'd love to meet you! Please contact us so we can connect and show you what we're all about!
Admissions  Process:   We offer an initial phone call for questions, tour of our learning space, trial day, and increased care settling in period. Please check if we have any upcoming events as we would love for you to participate!
School Calendar:   We follow our own calendar which runs similarly to Denver County Schools.
Parent Participation:   We encourage participation in our school in the form of activity assistance, ground maintenance, food preparation, administration and fundraising. Please contact us to learn more.

Tours:

We'd love to meet you! Please contact us so we can connect. 
We offer an initial phone call for questions, tour of our learning space, trial day, and increased care settling in period.
School Calendar: We follow our own calendar similar to Denver County Schools.

Read More →

 
 
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Up and above

Included in addition to our Unique & Personalized Approach:
- Organic lunch program & Nutritional education
- Transport to and from school and activities
- Expert practitioners for extracurricular activities
- Scholarships and fee subsidy

What we offer:

Academics (As offered by traditional schools but in a different format):
- Science
- Math
- Literacy
- Technology
- Engineering 

E.g. We teach foundational and advanced numeracy and literacy both directly and indirectly through hands on activities selected by the learner or introduced in a fun manner by the PL.

Extra-Curricula Activities (One-on-one learning)
- Health & Wellbeing
- Social skills
- Sports skills
- Chess
- Art
- Cooking
- Outdoor skills
- Survival skills
- Living in Paleolithic Area
- Piano (as a gateway to other instruments)
- Debating
- Sewing
- History
- Geography
- Coding
- Robotics
- Photography
- Dancing
- Martial Arts
- First Aid
- Regular field trips
- Test experience
- Many more, please send us your suggestions!

Open-Ended / Free / Unstructured learning and exploration in both outdoors and indoors.

Research has revealed what many of us have suspected all along.. Humans, like other animals, are natural born learners. We too have found that by getting out of their way, and merely scaffolding or extending on their findings and hypotheses, we nurture innate curiosity and a natural need for information.

We further amplify these learning opportunities by offering undirected and intentional play both indoors and outdoors. While we have access to rich tools inside our walls, endless opportunity for learning and risk taking lies beyond them. 

We encourage safe risk-taking behaviour so that our learners may develop the skills necessary to handle such situations and to prepare them for adveristy and challenges they are likely to encounter at some point in both professional and personal life. We offer support and mediation where necessary but allow for lessons to play out with little intervention. This is an important part of our program, and one that has profound effects on the core of our learners.

 

 

 
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Food:

The state of our health has a profound impact on our long term life trajectory. Most interestingly, our ability to learn (attend, store, and retrieve, new information) is directly and significantly effected by the food we eat (or don't eat).

With this in mind we aim to offer organic, nutritious,  and allergy free meals (breakfast, morning snack, lunch and afternoon snack) for the duration our learners are with us as well as offer education and strategies to continue these habits at home.

Please find out more here.

 

Transport: 
We think it's important to have adequate space and and an enriched learning environment in which to optimally learn and grow away from the city limits. 
Learners are transported by caregivers to one of three locations in and around Denver where they are brought to our learning space or swept out to expert learning establishments, or for field exploration. Advance knowledge and permission is always sort from guardians before such trips.


Community:
Yindyamara would not be complete without the involvement of each learner's inner circle, and greater community circle. 
We offer endless opportunities for loved ones to participate. Some examples include: 
- Parent / Caregiver workshops
- Social events
- Classroom Assistance & Participation 3 x per year with 'take homes'
- Working Bees
- Community initiatives
- Learner Honor Ceremonies
- Field Trip Participation

 We always welcome new ideas and suggestions, so please don’t hesitate to contact us with more.

What do we discourage or limit?:


- Standardized testing: Research has shown that standardized testing is not only limited in its ability to show accurate learner skill levels they can also be detrimental towards a learners attitude, mental health, and well being; as well as reduce the scope of learning opportunities. As a result we have conscientiously pursued other means of progress tracking and test readiness.

- Labeling: We avoid labels on our learners within our learning sphere. By labeling our learners we limit the scope of the learning to that label. If we call them 'Advanced' we limit their ability to fail, if we call them 'challenged' we reduce their potential to prove otherwise. While labeling behavior can be beneficial we are careful not to overuse or misdirect such labels should it become detrimental and unhelpful.

- Bullying aka 'misdirected sadness and / or pain': 'Bullying' often stems from deep seated pain and thus participants will receive extra attention in order to identify the underlying root(s) of the difficulty).

 
 
 

Today’s learner.
Tomorrow’s leaders.

 
 
 
 
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Dedicated to change.

Why 'uniquely personalized' learning?

It may be surprising to some to learn that our school systems, both here and abroad, were built upon foundations not to optimize learning but to standardize how we teach and test for easy categorization. Horn (2016), states:

"In the United States, the factory-model schools prepared students for the economy of of the early 20th century and helped lift millions into the middle class. In 1900, the majority of students would take industrial jobs and did not need a deep education; only 17 percent of all jobs at the time required knowledge workers. The fact that many students dropped out of high school, did not attend or complete college, or — more to the point — did not learn much academically did not cripple students when they left for the workforce nor did it significantly hurt the American economy.

But as countries are moving into an economy in which over 60 percent of jobs require knowledge workers, and we expect schools to educate all children so that they can realize their fullest human potential, it leaves too many students behind—and not just ones from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Put simply, standardizing won’t get our students, schools, and society to the next level. We need a system that is built for learning".

Horn, M (2016). "Why persoanlized learning is imperative". Retrieved from https://www.edelements.com/blog/guest-post-why-personalized-learning-is-imperative

The ability to learn is an innate process but like all skills may be improved through deliberate practice. Skills such as metacognition, critical analysis, self-reflection, to name a small few, are both explicitly and implicitly taught in order to facilitate an awareness of the processes of effective learning in order to learn self-regulatory skills which are desired by employers increasingly in the future.

At Yindyamara, we apply our experience in psychology to develop the "soft skills", a.k.a., "transferable skills", a.k.a., "21st century skills" needed for our learners to succeed in our future employment opportunities. These are "attributes that help workers adapt to new jobs, overcome obstacles, develop productive relationships with their co-workers and supervisors, and thrive in the workplace" (Appleby, 2017) which are quickly becoming preferable over knowledge-based achievements which are trainable in those that exhibit such qualities, but more difficult to acquire. 

We employ a learner-centered approach to optimize learning and retention. We are unique in that we do not resemble others using 'Personalized' learning techniques. Personalized learning has been thrown around a lot in the education literature so we would like to identify what we actually do here at Yindyamara. 'Personalized learning' is often synonymous with media heavy learning where learners follow a program battery on an electronic device such as an iPad or computer and are served up lessons based upon their resulting scores. 
While we agree there are some benefits to learning using technology, Yindyamara is careful to use electronic tools only where one on one instruction with a human Lead Practiced Learner (Lead PL) with expertise in human learning and development would not be more beneficial. We emphasize the need for 'hands on' learning and prefer an 'immersion' style learning approach; where students achieve mastery due to being intrinsically motivated and engaged.

In brief, we get to know our learners, celebrate their differences, and help them to discover pathways to mastery which maximize their learning potential and in turn develop their skills for the future. 

Come and see us in action! Schedule a tour now!

 
 
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Immersion learning at Yindyamara

Immersion learning at Yindyamara

 
Sarah with her son, Xander, 6.

Sarah with her son, Xander, 6.

 

It all started when…

When Sarah was completing her traditional elementary education she often wondered off in class and dreamed of a new way of learning. High school brought frustration by her Teachers' inability to consider individual differences among learning abilities of her and her fellow learners. She questioned why learning came so easily when one was immersed in a self-sort hands on project versus reading  similar information from a book, or explained while sitting in a classroom by an instructor at a time when the lesson was deemed unnecessary and therefore uninteresting. 

Whilst working in various capacities with learners of all ages she noted the natural curiosity and joy in young learners when learning was tailored to their interests and drove their desire to want to know more; and the attention deficit increasing as the lessons became disconnected from the real life applications. 

University only exacerbated the issue when sitting in a learning lecture her psychology professor who specialized in the topic confessed that the structure of the course and lecture were incompatible with strategies identified as optimal in the learning literature. Sarah then completed a Masters in Educational Psychology in order to specialize her Psychology interests via a scientific and pragmatic lens to improve learning. She has been determined to add her voice to the movement dedicated to optimizing our current model of education ever since.

Read more..

 

 
 

F.A.Q.

How does the Yindyamara model differ from the "traditional" School model?:
- Alternative learning model
- We empower our learners
- Student lead conferences
- Personal and professional development for our Practiced Learners (known as Teachers in the Traditional model)

In order to meet increasing demand for flexible, creative, relatable, and team-oriented personnel in the entrepreneurial or employee space an alternative learning model is required.
Our approach to learning is more holistic than traditional schools. We assist our learners to become self-directed and self-regulated with a focus on mastery. We do this using learning methods adapted from the scientific research so that our learners are able to achieve their full potential.

How we are similar to Schools who follow the traditional model?:

We believe in a robust curriculum in order for our learners to meet demands of future employers. In addition to rare but valued skills such as communication, conflict resolution, and empathy (to name just a few); academic rigor is intrinsically woven into fun yet challenging lesson plans. However, we get to know our learners on a personal level and are qualified to better tailor learning goals to maximize motivation and engagement, which in turn leads to greater retention, ability, and confidence.

Is Yindyamara an “approved” school?
Yes. Yindyamara exceeds all compulsory education requirements for the state of Colorado. We ensure that your child’s attendance at Yindyamara fulfills all state educational requirements.

Can my child access public school district resources whilst attending a private / independent school such as Yindyamara?
Private school students usually have access to some public school resources. The superintendent of each school district has authority over granting services to students enrolled in independent schools. Please contact your local school district superintendent to learn more.

What kind of learner is likely to get the full benefit of Yindyamara's model?

Learners with the attitude, and support of his / her family, to learn and develop within a safe and encouraging community to reach his or her full potential. 

What is a 'PL'?:

PL's are 'Practiced Learners': As the title implies they have previously learned and practiced the information they are teaching but the name is deliberately unassuming to emphasize that there is no upper status in learning as the only thing necessary for a learners to become 'practiced' is to do so.

Discipline a.k.a. Opportunities for learning:

We believe every action of the learner is an opportunity for learning - that is why we are in a learning environment after all! Therefore we don't support traditional disciplinary action. Instead we improve communication skills, work on conflict resolution, and empathy. Drawing attention to emotions and self regulation skills. On extremely rare occasions we may require exclusion for activities if the safety, and or participation, of other learners is considerably interrupted continuously without evidence of improvement but this is only under se
specific circumstances and after working plans have been implemented over a period of time.

Special Needs:

We believe all learners have special needs when it comes to learning. While it is our future goal to cater for the needs of Individuals which require more specialized attention we are not yet equipped to do so. But please check back regularly to find out when we do!

What do we discourage or limit?:
- Standardized testing: research has shown that standardized testing is not only limited in its ability to show accurate learner skill levels they can also be detrimental towards a learners attitude, mental health, and well being; as well as reduce the scope of learning opportunities. As a result we have conscientiously pursued other means of progress tracking and test readiness.
- Labeling: We avoid labels on our learners within our Learning Sphere. By labeling our learners we limit the scope of the learning to that label. If we call them 'Advanced' we limit their ability to fail, if we call them 'challenged' we reduce their potential to prove otherwise. While labeling behavior can be beneficial we are careful not to overuse or misdirect such labels should it become detrimental and unhelpful.
- Bullying aka 'misdirected sadness and / or pain': 'Bullying' often stems from deep seated pain and thus participants will receive extra attention in order to identify the underlying root(s) of the difficulty).
 


 

 

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Our Learning Space


College View, CO, 80236