ACA Explorers – Blog

The ACA Community

More than just offering Explorers and Leaders a place to learn and the resources to use, we want to provide a community for them to feel safe and be able to express themselves and push their limits in.

The community we have already created with the outdoor classes and our relationships with our students and their guardians is what makes us keep wanting to do what we do. It is amazing being so accepted in a new community and we want to give that feeling back to Jardineños.

Community Education

ACA is for the whole community. We have always wanted to involve as much of the community as possible since ACA became an idea. Not only do we want to involve children (Explorers), youth (Youth Leaders), adults (Adult Leaders) and the elderly (classes/exchanges at the elderly home), our plan is to also involve the many tourists that come to Jardin.

We already have a good amount of interaction with tourists. Since we teach outside of the church in the main park, people stop, admire, and ask us questions about what we are doing all the time. Sometimes they are from Medellin or other parts of Colombia and they join in the class, other times they are English speakers, sometimes they sing with us and other times they just watch (one time an English speaking boy joined us to sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” while his mom filmed us). In the future we want to offer Spanish classes to tourists as well as volunteer opportunities with our Explorers. This is a great opportunity for us to help build bridges between cultures and to get more people involved with ACA.

Safe, Caring Community

Researching other alternative educational methods like Montessori, Reggio Emilia, and Waldorf, we repeatedly saw the community they create being stressed as imperative to the method. We feel the same way.

We want to continue to provide a safe, close, and caring community for our Explorers and everyone who gets involved with ACA. Children are a sacred and important part of every community and we will always prioritize our Explorer’s safety, comfort and feelings. We will follow (and teach) the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and strive to always push our children to understand and do their best to exert the special rights they have as our youth.

While we will always value each of our students as unique individuals, we also want to always stress community, support amongst each other and respect to whomever we encounter. 

Multi-Age Classrooms


Younger students learning from older students… the magic of the multi-age classroom.

Part of the way we form a community that spans many ages is having multi-age classrooms. The benefits of having children of different ages interacting are exponential. As seen in this picture, two of our older students are teaching two younger students how to say/act something (in this case it’s “merrily” from Row Your Boat). The age range of the ACA Explorers and those who attend the outdoor class is ~4-12. The older students quickly take on leadership roles and help the younger students pronounce something or get an action down. The younger students look to the older ones for help sometimes before they ask us. Students learning from students is perfect for us! Students learn from other students and the students teaching learn more in the process!

While we do want to do storytime and other activities for toddlers and more advanced classes for adolescents, we will always continue having multi-age classrooms. Our experiences in Montessori preschool and kindergarten proved the effectiveness of multi-age classrooms. I remember my older brother and his friends showing me around and helping me do things. The way the teaching process increases an older child’s confidence and knowledge is almost as incredible as how much a younger child can learn from their slightly older peer vs. from an authority figure.

A Warm Community

We love our students so much and love what we do. We are excited to go to class and leave laughing and smiling. We want everyone involved with ACA to feel the same way about us and each other. The solid community we will form is a sacred and necessary part of ACA and our success.

We always stress respect, no bullying, and how cool it is to be different. We act, sing, dance and perform with the kids without embarrassment and try to show them how great it is to express yourself. We will always keep safety and respect at the forefront of our methodology and rules. We also want our students to feel comfortable but that doesn’t mean we won’t push them out of their comfort zones. We want to create a safe and close community in which our students feel comfortable pushing their limits and maybe doing things that in unsafe spaces would feel embarrassing.

Learning another language with the ACA method is about pushing ones personal limits, forming new sounds our mouths aren’t used to, singing, dancing and transforming as individuals and as a community.

The ACA community will always be a place to laugh, learn, grow, question and feel safe while doing so.

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