Da Vinci Grammar School, Primary School and Kindergarten

Czech name: Střední škola, základní škola a mateřská škola da Vinci

Na Drahách 20
252 41 Dolní Břežany
Czech Republic

Website (EN): www.skoladavinci.cz/en/aj-home/
Website (CZ): www.skoladavinci.cz/

Name of contact person: Jana Nemeckova - jana.nemeckova at skoladavinci.cz

Year founded: 2009

Number of students: 178
Age range of students: 4-19
Number of staff: 40
Type of funding: government + private

Read more abour our school here:
School Info Chart - Da Vinci

Da Vinci School is a relatively new small private nursery, primary and secondary school that was opened in 2009. The school is funded jointly by government funds and by tuition fees from the students’ parents. Most of the students are from middle-class families, but a social fund is being set up to enable students from lower socio-economical background to attend the school, in order to ensure a balanced representation of the society. At the moment, the school has about 170 students and the number is to grow to about 260 students. In every year there is one class of up to 18 students. Right now, the oldest class is the second year of upper-secondary (year 11, aged ca. 16). The applying body is the upper-secondary school (gymnázium).

Da Vinci is an alternative school based on democratic principles, inspired by schools like Sudbury Valley or Summerhill. This, among others, means that both students and teachers take part in the decision-making processes of the school, e.g. through the student council. Even though the school differs in terms of methods and approaches from state schools, it is still bound by the standards and outcomes of the National Curriculum and its secondary school students aim for the final leaving examination (maturita). The school went through the evaluation of the Czech School Inspectorate in June 2016 with good results, appreciating especially positive school climate, supportive working environment, and good quality education.

While most Czech schools focus predominantly on the development of the cognitive domain in students, da Vinci takes a more holistic approach to education and aims to develop also the affective and behavioral domains. In our school, a lot of attention is paid to student autonomy and independence in learning; internal motivation - of both students and teachers - is of greatest priority. In our understanding, school is place where both students and teachers learn constantly - it is a place for lifelong learning, but also a place where we experience the “Now”. School is not only a means of preparing ourselves for future studies or professional life (even though this is also an essential part of it), but also a place where life is being lived and where every single moment counts. Therefore, we aim to create a friendly and positive school atmosphere where acceptance is unconditional and where everybody has the freedom to be who they are.

Secondary school teachers work around subjects and subject areas aiming for subject integration and multidisciplinarity. From grade 6 up students (aged 11-19 years) can choose from a variety of electives, creating their own educational path and taking over responsibility for their own learning. Project work is also an integral part of the school curriculum - there are 5 week-long projects over the course of every school year, the last one serving as a preparation for “expedition”, a week-long research field trip. During the week-long projects, students choose their research / study group based on their particular interests and thus mixed-age groups form naturally. These projects are often lead by oldest or most experienced students, supervised by teachers. This enables students to continually develop their soft skills of teamwork and leadership, but also others, including discussion skills, presentation skills, research skills etc.