Creating Connections, an ideal school in a place like Val d’Orcia

The concept for the Bilingualism Project first occurred to me while sharing a cup of tea with an educational psychology professor in Cambridge, UK. I was describing my vision of an ideal school in a place like Val d’Orcia, where children could embrace their cultural heritage while preparing for a global future.

“It sounds like you should pay a visit to School21 in London,” she suggested. Intrigued, I followed her advice. School21 turned out to be a dream come true for anyone interested in education. The school’s core idea revolved around oracy, the ability to think critically and speak effectively. They believed this skill would become increasingly vital in our society, benefiting children socially, mentally, and professionally.

Sitting in School21’s classrooms in London and witnessing the young children speak confidently in front of a group of adults, defending their opinions and skillfully presenting what they had learnt I started pondering how this innovative approach could be adapted to my hometown, a place quite unlike the bustling metropolis of London. Could we work with parents and teachers to offer children in our area a chance to learn in a way similar to their English peers?

Fast forward eight years, and the Creating Connections team finds themselves in a pivotal moment, addressing a gathering of parents to articulate our vision for the students we nurture: to cultivate them into global communicators. We achieve this through three fundamental pillars.
The first pillar involves the instruction of subjects such as international history, literature, and geography, all taught in both English and Spanish. This bilingual foundation forms the cornerstone of our approach.
The second pillar revolves around the cultivation of oracy and effective communication skills. We understand that the ability to express oneself articulately is a critical life skill, and we prioritize its development.
Lastly, our commitment extends beyond the classroom. We offer comprehensive support to our students across various facets of their lives, aimed at enhancing their relationships, both with themselves and others. This support plays out at multiple levels, from adolescent coaching and psychological counseling to trips to summer camps, full immersion weekends and trips abroad. We also support our older students in their first work experiences, as well as helping them to make key choices in their educational journey, assisting them in selecting secondary schools and universities.

Recognizing the indispensable role parents play in our students’ lives, we have devised group workshops to assist them in navigating the challenges of parenting. These workshops address critical questions and challenges. These range from managing a child’s use of technology and determining the appropriate balance between freedom and responsibility to managing children’s stress and anxiety and offering strategies for improved parent-child communication.

At Creating Connections, we believe that our students are extremely lucky in growing up in such a rich community like the Val d’Orcia. Our mission is to complement such wealth of tradition and natural beauty with an international perspective, foreign languages, and giving children the tools to broaden their horizons.

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