A DIFFERENT CLASS
The education model at Euroamerican College in Peru takes into account the difference between teaching and learning. It adopts a constructive approach that starts by looking at what the child already knows; and proceeds to develop their knowledge, skills and attitudes accordingly.
“It’s much better for children to be able to connect all the subjects together,” says Headteacher Janet Lewis, “rather than going to a history lesson and learning about Napoleon and then a geography lesson to learn about Europe.”
From the age of three to 12, students follow an inquiry-orientated method of learning based on the PYP (Primary Years Programme), part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum framework. Rather than having their day divided into subjects, students focus on six cross-disciplinary themes, including “Who We Are”, “Where We Are in Place and Time” and “How the World Works”.
“It’s very much a hands-on programme” says Lewis. Learning is structured but students can explore their own lines of investigation. Specialist teachers cover areas such as Spanish, drama, music and art but otherwise the themes incorporate history, geography and science into the overall learning experience.
units of inquiry
Having worked in international schools in Egypt, Colombia and Botswana, Lewis believes it is important to tailor the subject matter to the needs and environment of each child. “I’ve worked in English-medium schools where African or Middle Eastern children are forced to learn about Victorians and Tudors,” she says. “The PYP system is more global. Schools develop their own units of inquiry according to their geographical and cultural setting. It makes much more sense.”
In the case of the Euroamerican College, that setting is in a green valley located an hour’s drive outside Lima, away from the smog and clamour of South America’s second-largest city. “We believe that children flourish better in our environment,” says Lewis, “which is free of air and noise pollution.”
As part of a commitment to environmentalism, the school runs its own wastewater treatment plant. “We collect all used water and inoculate it with anaerobic bacteria,” says Lewis. “The grey water is then filtered through a non-chemical journey that involves stones, algae, waterlilies, duckweed, fish and fungi. The resultant clear, odourless liquid is used to water our gardens.”
providing a civil Service
As part of the IB programme, Grade 11 and 12 students take part in CAS (Creativity, Activity and Service). This includes helping to teach English with an organisation that rehabilitates adolescent street children recovering from drug or alcohol abuse. Students also participate in the Run Against Hunger and fundraise for a charity called Help Them HOPE (standing for Health, Opportunity, Progress, Education).
Many students go on to attend university in Lima, with about 10 per cent choosing to continue their education abroad, predominantly in the US. Many old alumni comment on the close relationships they had with their teachers at Euroamerican College and appreciate the individual support they received. From March 2018, the school will be offering weekly and termly boarding.
Students from outside Peru often leave the school fluent in Spanish; and the older students generally relish the opportunities they are given to travel, within Peru and overseas. Such experiences give students a chance to put their learning into practice as they continue to explore the world with the international outlook the college has nurtured in them since preschool.