Dr. Brooke, Head of School at Seneca Academy, a leading and only International Baccalaureate Primary Years program in Montgomery County, traveled to Northern India in early August to forge relations with an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program. We decided to speak to Dr. Brooke Carroll about her trip and the importance of education. Dr. Brooke […]
Dr. Brooke, Head of School at Seneca Academy, a leading and only International Baccalaureate Primary Years program in Montgomery County, traveled to Northern India in early August to forge relations with an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program. We decided to speak to Dr. Brooke Carroll about her trip and the importance of education.
- Dr. Brooke Carroll, you are the head of School at Seneca Academy, can you tell me why the school stands out from other schools in the country?
We are the only International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (IB/PYP) in an independent school in Montgomery County, Maryland. We combine challenging, inquiry-based education with a safe, positive and supportive social environment. By ensuring that our curriculum and teaching methods are significant, relevant, and engaging, we make sure that our students gain the skills and abilities they need to be successful, lifelong, global learners. What really makes us stand out is our close community of dedicated, knowledgeable, energetic and kind educators, students and parents who work together to celebrate learning.
- You recently travelled to Northern India with your 12 year old daughter, can you tell me the reason for the trip?
My daughter and I were invited to work with Akal Academy faculty and students on implementing the Primary Years Program. They have recently been authorized as an IB/PYP World School and wanted to connect with other educators who have more experience with the program. My daughter is a June graduate from Seneca Academy, so was able to bring a student’s perspective on the learning opportunities the PYP offers.
- How would you say the education system in India compares to the education system in America?
I can really only speak about Seneca Academy and Akal Academy. I was quite surprised at how similar these two schools are in terms of philosophy, focus and practice. I found very knowledgeable and dedicated educators at Akal Academy who were implementing collaborative, inquiry-based education with their students. I felt right at home! The students were actively engaged in their learning and were excellent communicators. All of these elements are central to our programs and philosophy at Seneca Academy. This similarity in programming is consistent with the goals of the International Baccalaureate.
- You were invited to visit Akal Academy in Baru Sahib, Himachal Pradesh, to provide workshops for teachers and students as well as to develop a long-term relationship between the two schools, would you say the trip was a success?
Very much so! We were greeted with such warmth and generosity, and then witnessed such passionate educators and students. It was very interesting for me to see the IB/PYP implemented in another country and culture. The workshops I led with teachers were very interactive and they knew so much, I was really kept on my toes! There is also much overlap in the units of inquiry taught at Akal Academy and the ones we teach here at Seneca Academy. There are a variety of ways we can connect our schools moving forward.
- You encourage the children at your school to be open minded, why do you feel this is important?
When you only listen to or consider views that align with your own, you miss out on so many growth opportunities. Being closed-minded separates you from others’ thoughts, feelings and perspectives. This hinders learning as well as communication. We believe that everyone has something valuable to share, even if it is different from what we may be accustomed to hearing. When we are open minded (and I say “we” because I’m including adults in this as well), we allow ourselves to hear and experience so much more than when we close others out of our lives. From an academic perspective, being open-minded to new ideas, experiences and perspectives allows us to fully be knowledgeable scientists, social scientists, readers, writers, mathematicians, communicators, etc.
- How do you see the future for your relationship with Akal Academy?
I have already begun working with the administration there to directly connect teachers through email. We have shared resources back and forth, and I expect this to continue. I am hopeful that we can connect some classes, so students can email and perhaps connect with video regarding units of inquiry that they have in common. The ongoing sharing of ideas and perspectives between our two schools is my goal.
- There was recent research that found children who drink water during the day at school would dissolve more of the information they are given during lessons, would you agree with this?
I don’t have any data to support or refute this claim.
- Seneca Academy: Seneca Academy is a non-profit, independent day school, founded in 1983, serving children preschool through fifth grade, would you like to see more schools set up to follow your principles and way of learning?
As both an administrator and a parent whose 2 children graduated from Seneca Academy, I think this is a wonderful way for children to experience their early school years. I believe that we empower students to think of themselves as independent learners and of school as an enjoyable place to be. We give them the foundational skills and abilities they need to be successful in whatever next educational system they choose. The International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program has helped us enhance our programming at Seneca Academy and yes, I think this can be a successful program in many schools.
- Are there any plans for another trip to India or for a teacher exchange program to take place?
Not immediately, but perhaps in the future!
- Overall all, how successful would you say your trip to India was?
My trip was very successful! It connected our 2 schools in person, in a way that could not have happened electronically. I have strong positive contacts at Akal Academy as well as a better understanding of how the IB/PYP is implemented there that will enable us to continue a relationship into the future. I believe this relationship will strengthen both schools.
- What did you learn during your trip to India?
I learned that despite our many cultural differences, good educators and dedicated parents produce similar kinds of students- those who are actively and joyfully engaged in the process of learning.
For More Information about Seneca Academy please visit: http://www.senecaacademy.org
~ By Chantelle Walker
~ Source: http://goarticles.com/