Expression AIS offers a unique and alternative small scale form of education where there is no pressure or force to be something or go at the same pace as anyone else. Each child is nurtured individually and due to the small size of the groups can really benefit from being with other children in a group environment while not being over loaded. The School was started in October 2016 as a response to the need for an alternative approach to education in Portugal. With Home education being registered and regulated, and exams and testing being the priority of the mainstream system here, we felt that a genuine alternative was needed to allow children to be able to learn and grow free of this pressure. Attending the School gives children the chance to learn about new subjects, topics and concepts in a fun, imaginative, and hands on way. We believe giving children the space to learn about themselves as much as academic facts is important and strive to allow them to express themselves as individuals in their own right. We use content through Project Based Learning as a vehicle to conceptual understanding, allowing students to access their passions and cultural identities, and we promote student exploration and inquiry to allow us all to learn from each other and support each student to go beyond teachers expectations. We are open Monday to Thursday, with additional childcare available outside of the educational session time. We accept children from 3 – 18 years old.
ALC’s use specific tools and methods to allow the children to be self directed in their learning, along with full democratic say about the running of the School. Rules are discussed and decided by everyone at the Culture meetings and adults and children are seen as equal. A range of alternative approaches are adapted to suit each child’s learning style and alternative methods and materials coming from approaches such as Steiner and Montessori, along with democratic principles are blended together. The teachings of Krishnamurti are integral to the schools ethos and aims in allowing the children the time and space to not only learn about knowledge of the outside world, but about themselves, their feeling, thoughts, and inner workings. Children are encouraged to question, inquire, and explore for themselves.
Numeracy and literacy are explored through stand alone sessions to provide a solid foundation and within the tasks and projects the children are doing. Reading is not pressured, but supported. Younger children explore letters and numbers in a fun and hands on way through games and play with a focus on phonics through song. The older children look at interest led projects and activities, and learn about self awareness, critical thinking and evaluation skills. Individual support for literacy and numeracy is given according to the child’s interest, ability and their desire to learn.
We are the first school to offer an alternative form of education within the Castelo Branco region. There are no tests, learning and skill targets are set in collaboration with students and based on an ‘Approaches to learning’ continuum. We aim to become a bilingual setting, so Portuguese is spoken throughout the week in a relaxed and informal environment, and lessons are given in a natural way. Our aim is to allow the children to integrate in an informal setting while still having the back up of their own home language and mother-tongue.
We are offering a number of options for students completing their academic studies:
- as members of the EUDEC, we can supply students with a recognised Democratic Diploma. https://www.eudec.org/Home
- selected iGCSEs will be offered and supported. http://www.cambridgeinternational.org/programmes-and-qualifications/cambridge-secondary-2/cambridge-igcse/
- vocational certificates can be earned through work placement and academic support.
- school certificates will be given, detailing skills, talents and achievements.
We have children from many national, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. We strive to include a variety of abilities and skills so that there is no ‘norm’, just a diverse community of learners.
If you would like to know more, or come for a visit, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Please also keep up to date with what we are up to on our Facebook page
Also, see our Crowdfund page in order to raise funds for the School to take our philosophy forward and to meet our goals of self-directed learning .