This Mira Education Micro-school concept was part of what originally got Miraed started. The school is based on up to 60 students ages 10-15 working together in a very flexible form of schedule. Each teacher mentors a number of students, but also chooses a passion project to teach about for the month. The students select courses purely based on their interest.
If you want to see the original website, please check it out here.
Inspiring passionate learning
Our principles are based on the premise that education is best done through providing opportunities for experience in an autonomous setting. A school should allow students to explore a wide variety of subjects. A child is born with a natural curiosity of the world. Our job as educators is to provide a learning environment in which children feel safe to explore and experiment with ideas.
The Educator’s Role
The educators do not fulfill the traditional role of teachers, rather they provide two essential roles. Firstly, they are in charge of a set of students, often of multiple ages, ensuring they are maintaining a healthy balance that suits them and their parents. Educators create experiences that reflect their individual passions, and support a group of students in exploring.
Covering the Fundamentals
Here is how a Mira Microschool would handle learning as we are most familiar with:
Tried and tested programs for Mathematics, coupled with real world application.
Some disciplines need a certain amount of practice to master, and follow a logical process from the fundamentals up to the most complicated forms. Maths is a prime example of this. There already exist excellent programs to learn Maths in a logical and step by step format independently and at your own pace. These include Sumdog, Matheletics, and Khan Academy. Students would enroll in these programs, and follow through these at a pace they determine with guidance from parents and their learning counselor. Maths also needs to be applied to be real though, and in this Maths principles can be addressed in two fashions. It is integrated into Passion Projects where different applications of the student’s knowledge is reinforced through real world practiced.
Speaking: Having a strong proficiency in communication is fundamental to much of education. While communication is integrated into our everyday lives, learning to read and write is something that comes with practice. In reading abundantly, students pick up core constructs and expand their vocabulary. In writing regularly, students learn to process their ideas. In discussion, they hone their communication and critical thinking skills.
Discussion Groups: Discussion groups are an important aspect throughout all learning experiences, whether it be a novel study, passion project, or maths. The intention behind these groups are to foster the critical skills, and can be student led, educator facilitated, or even driven by a member of our extended community such as a parent or local expert.
Novel Study: Reading opens windows to new worlds and perspectives, and through regular reading one’s mind entertains increasingly complex and challenging ideas. For these reasons, students in Mira schools explore a variety of novels, and discuss these within groups of students working of the same book. Our recommended readings cover many signature pieces of literature.
Lab Time: A special part of the “Mira mix” is our lab time. Students are encouraged to sign up for multiple labs each week, looking for set experiments that meet their interests and experience level. These are arranged in boxes that are self contained kits to perform the experiment the students select. They may also select experiments that are beyond their aptitude, to experience a real challenge. Failure is encouraged, and channels are present to allow students to reflect on their failure and what they learned from it.
Passion Projects: Science also enters the passion projects frequently. Whenever applicable concepts from Science are integrated into the real world projects, and a more holistic understanding is sought out. Here, our flexible scheduling affords us time to visit sites when studying ecology, agriculture, and other topics.
Technology: A connection to nature is critical to becoming a well rounded individual, although an understanding of technology is equally important to a citizen of the 21st century. With independent labs that range from simple design project to complex programming of controllers, technology is addressed in an exclusively hands on fashion.
Community Engagement: While learning about history and geography are important for background, having interactions with authentic characters within our community are formative. A huge part of how humanities manifests itself is through the community outreach projects students are engaged in, either as a once off or a continual commitment.
Passion Projects: Like Science, humanities cover passions brought in by the educators and students. These can focus on an epoch, or trace concepts throughout history analyzing them for change. These passion projects often emphasize a multimedia output, an artifact to share what has been collectively uncovered.
Big Questions: Why stick to mundane dates and names in history when so many fascinating questions can be explored. To really get to the meat and bones of humanities, big questions need to be addressed. Mira is not alone on feeling this is the way to address these subjects, as you can see through the Big History Project.
Moving beyond traditional school
Arts and Movement
Segregating Arts and Physical Education from other subjects does neither justice. While Art ad PE are subjects in themselves, they can easily be connected to so much more. Why stop at showing painting strategies when you can write explorations contrasting surrealist artists, or use maths to create more perfect circles. When building passion projects, both the Arts and PE are taken into account to address the topics of these projects.
For students who have desires that follow a certain sport, Mira allows them to flex their schedule around ideal practice times so they are not cramming more into a day just to get those moments of enjoyment.
Building a student community
Mira goes beyond by fostering friendships and mentorships throughout our school’s population. An integral part of teh school day is that young students learn from their seniors, and the older students learn the value of providing a helping hand.
Mira also provides a framework for experiential learning excursions to challenge our students physiscally and build social-emotional skills while introducing them to self sufficiency in the wilderness. Mira fosters the transition to young adults through activities such as a rite of passage.
AgilesScheduling to meet needs as they arise
A school year is a highly artificial construct, as are the grade bands students are placed in. Mira addresses each student as an individual on their own progress pattern, and creates agile strategies to respond to the needs of the student instantly. If a Mira student has issues with a concept in Maths, upon learning this the learning manager can adjust their schedule to ensure they are getting the help they need sooner rather than later.
Some key elements of what makes Mira Education different from regular schools
Aside from the fundamentals, the projects student experience are largely based on the interests of their teachers and themselves. A key part of our education mix is to have all parties unconditionally interested in what they are doing.
Your time is your time
Not everybody is a 9 to 5 type character, and our flexibe schedule allows for exactly this. Surfing or sleeping in might encompass a morning for one student, while another may be done before lunch.
Our system hire people which allow us to teach a wide diversity of subjects, and students can readly select what they are interested in, or be exposed to new ideas.
With regular mentorship from other students and systematic checkups from their teachers, students stay on track and learn at a pace that suits them.
A child educated only at school is an uneducated childGeorge Santayana