A basic principle of democratic education is that every child is unique and has a natural craving for knowledge. At a democratic school every child develops their own learning path. In addition, students take shared responsibility for the organisation of the school.
Staff members and students are part of the school meeting, the heart of the school. Members of the school meeting can introduce topics, discuss them and make decisions. Decisions are made, based on the CONSENT method. You don’t have to fully agree with the proposal, like with consensus, but an agreement can go through as long as you don’t have an objection. If you do, the proposal no longer stands and it is your responsibility to come up with a new proposal.
LIFE! offers a challenging, inspiring and powerful learning environment. Safety is key. To ensure this our team acts from Nonviolent Communication (NVC). This method of compassionately communicating enables people to connect with themselves and others and act accordingly. Among other things people learn by copying and NVC enlarges the ability to act from empathy. The giraffe is the symbol of Nonviolent Communication and this makes LIFE! the first giraffe school in the Netherlands!
21st Century Skills
At LIFE! students get a firm start in the 21st century since children today will end up in a society that is currently unpredictable. For example, there will be professions that don’t yet exist. So, besides cognitive skills like language and math, other skills are expected from younger people like social and communicative skills, creativity, problem solving abilities, collaboration, critical thinking and ICT literacy: the so called 21st Century skills. These are eminently the skills students develop at LIFE!
Bilingual education with room for differences
Besides Dutch, English is an important second language. Students who choose to take lessons will be taught in Dutch. Outside of the classroom both Dutch and English are spoken with the children. Children who do not speak Dutch are welcome at school. However, the intention is that they will learn Dutch.
Sustainability and nature
Sustainability and conserving nature are affairs that LIFE! participates in actively. The products that we use are organic and sustainable as much as possible. We separate plastic, paper and glass. Second LIFE! is our school/learning shop. Currently a partnership with Landschap Noord Holland and a local organic farm, De Marsen, in Twiske is being established.
Staff members are independent professionals. Annually staff members give a presentation at the school meeting (a thesis), containing their plans involving the way they want to be useful to school in the coming year. The school members decide which staff and teachers are welcome at school. Entrepreneurship among students is also encouraged. For example, in the shop or by organising activities.
is a licensed NVC-trainer and one of the founders of the school. He functions as soundboard for the team, advises them in NonViolent Communication and organises trainings.