THE KNOWING GARDEN is a community Elementary school in Los Angeles’ Southbay neighborhood. It was founded in 2011 by a group of parents who believe that school should be a place where students, teacher and parents alike can develop their passions, learn to be in relationships, nurture personal purpose and be catalysts for social change. Our school was built to provide a safe environment where empowered citizens can learn to take ownership of their learning and can practice problem-solving and conflict resolution within the culture of connection.
No two people are the same, and we live in diverse circles of community that intersect. We recognize that it is impossible “make” our children live happily or successfully in any of the circles they will enter. TKG was built to help our children develop the tools they need to enjoy the ride of life – the ups, downs and arounds. To give them the opportunity to practice the skills necessary to advocate for themselves, stand up for others, identify and share resources, find their tribe and navigate their own path is to empower them to live a full and self-propelled life. This is possible when the surrounding community shares in the value of Listening, Learning and thus really Knowing children.
We believe that an environment that uses a model of “Listening, Learning and Knowing” as the foundation for interaction supports people in truly adopting the multi-layered practice of lifelong learning. The framework for this model is supported by these pillars:C
Cognitive Development – Academic offerings, which align with Common Core, are accessed through multiple methods including: interdisciplinary studies, constructivism, project-based, and emergent curriculum. Multiple forms of assessment are used to document growth and evolution.
Cooperative Learning/Social Justice – We are always learning from each other. Teaching others, in mixed age settings, helps us understand more deeply and practice empathy. As we gain personal confidence, we feel more comfortable to share our success, knowing that all people can achieve personal success.
Brain Research – By understanding how our brain works, we can give ourselves the best chance at learning and we can experience the full range of normal and healthy feelings and emotions.
The Triangle – For deep learning to really flourish, student, teacher, and parent are fully committed to learning and problem solving, together.
Conflict Resolution – We encourage children to solve problems on their own, with guidance from parents and teachers – effectively providing a safe environment to practice negotiation, take responsibility, become self-aware of desired outcomes, and be involved in resolving conflict.
Nature + Environmental Stewardship – It is vital to connect our students to nature and address the nature deficit facing our community. The main objective is to foster a personal bond with the natural world through familiarity, sense of kinship, and understanding of the human experience in nature. People who are connected to nature are more likely to protect it.
Environment – Creating a personal, comfortable, and commercial-free environment using as many natural materials as possible encourages hands-on exploration, relaxed cooperation, physical movement, and the freedom to develop original ideas.