Ambleside education is based on the wholistic philosophy of Charlotte Mason. It develops children of character who work responsibly, think deeply and relate with maturity; persons who can handle the challenges of high school and adult life.
Charlotte Mason shaped the work of education in hundreds of schools worldwide. Her ideas were developed in a six volume collection of her writings which provide guidance for teacher training at Ambleside schools.
The Ambleside Principle - Children are Persons
“We attempt to define a person, the most commonplace person we know, but he will not submit to bounds; some unexpected beauty of nature breaks out; we find he is not what we thought ... every person exceeds our power of measurement.” Charlotte Mason
The Ambleside philosophy which respects children as persons is radically different from most modern educational approaches which regard children as products. For example, Outcomes Based Education first defines the outcome or product; then the children are treated as clay to be moulded to conform to the desired outcome. Standardised testing - emphasised in the new CAPS curriculum - tests whether the child fits the mould. This "factory-line" approach overlooks the differences between children and often fails to recognise or develop their potential.
By contrast, Ambleside education treats children as unique persons, created in the image of God with vast possibilities. Not knowing all that they might become, we do not define outcomes for them. Instead we nourish them with a rich diet of "living ideas". We do not classify them according to perceived strengths or weaknesses, but allow them all to participate in a broad, rigorous curriculum. All children read, calculate, solve, attend, explore, ponder, recite, paint and sing. All children are held to a high standard in their relationships with self, others, ideas and work. All children are expected to learn and to grow. All children will surprise and amaze us as they respond - each in his or her own unique way.
The Ambleside Curriculum
Education properly understood is not merely the assimilation of data and technique; it is the mind feeding on ideas given expression in God’s creation, great art, beautiful music, and “living books.” Real learning occurs when students engage with novelists, poets, philosophers, scientists, mathematicians, artists, musicians, historians and explorers; when they wonder, and ask "why?" and "how?". The Vine School teachers aim to foster such engagement using the classic Ambleside Curriculum
Ambleside Schools International
The Vine School is affiliated with Ambleside Schools International which oversees fifteen Ambleside schools in the USA and four in South Africa. ASI was founded in 1999 as a model school and training centre to support educational renewal. Its staff developed the Ambleside Method of education, based on Charlotte Mason’s educational approach. Since its inception, ASI has benefited from the support and encouragement of leaders in the revival of Mason’s thought—among them Ranald and Susan Macaulay, Elaine Cooper, Eve Anderson, and Bobby Scott.
Under the leadership of founder Maryellen St. Cyr and executive director Bill St. Cyr, ASI remains committed to educational renewal and to building and supporting a worldwide community of schools and training centres that provide children a living education.
Ambleside School of Hout Bay Hout Bay, Western Cape Est. 2007
The Vine School Lansdowne, Western Cape Est. 2012
The Daniel Academy Gordons Bay, Western Cape Est. 2015
Ambleside School of Kensington Kensington, Gauteng Est. 2016