Are children grouped together by grade?
We believe that children learn best when working with those younger and older than themselves rather than being split up into groups based solely on age. Learners at ARC follow an individualized curriculum, as well as work in groups of all ages.
How long is ARC Studio School in session each year and what is the school calendar like?
ARC runs from early September through the end of June. The school year is organized into seven 4 to 6-week long sessions, each followed by 1 to 2 weeks off for rest. Each session invites learners to step into the shoes of real-life heroes across a variety of disciplines; for Studio 1 learners, stories serve as an introduction to the Hero's Journey, while for Studio 2 learners, these are opportunities to embark on a grand adventure, asking challenging questions and solving complex problems. Studio 1 learners will invite parents in to view their work three times per year, while Studio 2 learners will demonstrate their learning through public Exhibitions for family and friends at the end of each Session.
What kind of learner thrives at ARC Studio School?
Kids who love to learn and are curious, self-motivated, and respectful thrive at ARC. Our environment is an accelerator for the independent learner who can tackle challenging questions, follow instructions, and solve problems.
Why a learner-driven classroom?
At ARC, we believe in Learning to Learn, Learning to Do, and Learning to Be; we encourage kids to take responsibility for their own behaviour and to hold those around them accountable as well. When something isn’t working, learners work together to solve the problem, not look for an adult to solve it for them. This creates a sense of independence and confidence that will serve them well in all areas of life.
Is ARC similar to the Montessori method or the Reggio Emilia approach?
ARC uses the best of Montessori and Reggio approaches: mixed-age studios, choice within limits, large blocks of work time, learning through inquiry and discovery, freedom of movement in the classroom, and inclusion of the “100 Languages” of children in our learning design. Then we go three important steps further by using the best 21st Century e-learning tools, immersing learners in real-world projects, and adhering to the Socratic method of instruction, which emphasizes asking and answering questions to cultivate critical thinking. Our learners don’t just memorize facts; they Learn to Learn, Learn to Do, and Learn to Be.
Is ARC similar to Forest School?
ARC’s vision is aligned with that of the Forest School Movement: repeated time spent in the natural environment, risk-taking, problem-solving, trusting the child, and a focus on process over content; we couple these fundamentals with the use of e-learning tools, a variety of real-world projects, and an emphasis on the Socratic method, helping to build critical thinking. ARC learners will cultivate a love and responsibility for the natural environment and be given opportunities to come up with creative solutions to real environmental problems.
Is ARC Studio School a religious school?
While we guide children to explore mindfulness, ethical principles, and the significance of religion in history and the development of society, we are not a religious school and do not provide religious instruction. We value and respect each individual’s beliefs.
What resources do you have to support learners with special learning needs?
We are not trained or staffed to serve children with serious learning disabilities, special needs, or those who need specialized attention. If you are interested in ARC and believe it is a great fit for your family, please inquire and we will personally assess your unique situation and the fit for your young learner.
How do you use technology in the classroom without learners getting too much screen time?
We see technology as a useful tool, allowing for self-paced learning and information access when asking important questions. Learners in ARC 1 rarely use computers, while learners in Studio 2 may use individual Chromebooks during some of their morning Core Skills time and during portions of their afternoon projects. A learner-created Internet Use Policy ensures technology tools are used for learning rather than entertainment.
Without homework and frequent test-taking, how do you measure progress?
Learners celebrate mastery of specific skills, development of character, and collaborative problem-solving by earning badges, assembling portfolios, and taking part in public exhibitions. Parents use a specialized online platform to monitor progress in Core Skills (reading, writing, and mathematics), while electronic and hard copy Portfolios capture rough drafts, photos, videos, and other creative work. Twice-yearly Journey Meetings between learners and parents allow learners to discuss their growth and learning with their parents and plan the next step on their learning journey.
Is ARC Studio School accredited?
Yes, ARC is accredited by the International Association of Learner Driven Schools.
ARC Studio School is listed as a private school on the Ontario Ministry of Education's Website