Gimnasio La Montaña is a school that seeks academic excellence to face the challenges of the 21st century.
Gimnasio La Montaña proposes an academic training program that leads to the structuring of critical thinking for the development of skills required in the 21st century in the context of high disciplinary standards and an awareness of what it is to be a global citizen.
We have designed an inclusion model that allows the above to become an objective that can be achieved by students of any condition. We view knowledge as a plural human asset that is constantly developed through the interaction of human knowledge and context, using a series of tools and skills acquired through rigorous work.
Our curricular model is part of the Schooling by Design proposal, and is developed through the design of Understanding by Design, proposals at the forefront of education proposed by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe. This is carried out with the perspective of constant innovation and reflection on student learning. Additionally, our study plan involves all dimensions of knowledge, seeking cognitive strength in all areas of knowledge, in addition to ensuring the development of aesthetics and artistic sensitivity and the generation of awareness about body care and health through physical activity. We build the structuring of thought and knowledge from conceptual pedagogy and the theory of the six readings that are worked longitudinally throughout the curriculum in each of the disciplines and from the harmonious integration of the cross-curricular training, global thinking, and innovation.
Our team of teachers is constantly updated to be able to plan, develop, evaluate and perfect an educational proposal so that the students of Gimnasio La Montaña develop into adults and professionals who, in addition to having the highest ethical and human standards, will have a solid structure of thought that allows them a flexible interaction with knowledge in the multiple scenarios that they might encounter throughout their lives.
We ensure academic quality through the consistent use of a qualitative assessment model that allows each student to know in detail their process and progress in learning, in addition to favoring metacognition and self-learning processes. This is accompanied by the use of international tests such as Map Growth, which allows us to know the learning level of the school as a whole, and of each child in each of the competencies in each area, in order to maintain a culture of permanent improvement.
On the other hand, we monitor each child’s progress and generate multiple strategies and spaces to support children in their learning challenges and promote the processes that exceed performance standards.
Our process is developed gradually and is appropriate for each stage of the child’s development, beginning with preschool, where the pedagogical action is based on the pillars of play, art, literature, and exploration of the environment. Each grade of preschool is set up, from its name, in an environment that promotes exploration, imagination, and innovation. Child’s development is considered as a maturational, cyclical-non-linear process so that the pedagogical and training practices attend to the development of the human dimensions (cognitive, personal-social, artistic, communicative, and bodily), inclusion, and differentiation. Given the characteristics of this age, transversal, disciplinary and interdisciplinary programs become a vital element of the preschool curriculum. Thus, programs such as PR1ME, Phonovisual Method, Literature Circles, Readfulness, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, and Cloud 9, among others, complement disciplinary practices, as well as formative practices.
In High School, we develop a study plan with a semester structure that serves three purposes: take fewer subjects per semester to have greater concentration and depth; progressively enter a shorter learning pace, such as the one student will face in college; and include some deepening subjects. Regarding the deepening subjects, these respond to the interests of our students and are intended to put them in contact with other dynamics of interaction between student and teacher, with evaluation methods and improvement methodologies and systems similar to university practices.
GLM is a bilingual school where our students learn both English and French languages.
We are convinced that the ability to communicate in different languages is essential in the multicultural environment of the 21st century. For this reason, since the school’s establishment, we decided to implement the acquisition of foreign languages in our academic program. La Montaña students begin learning English in kindergarten and continue through to eleventh grade. The learning of the third language, French, takes place in the Baccalaureate.
The English program is based on a semi-immersion model. In other words, although our community speaks mainly Spanish, English is used in academic processes and to reinforce communication. This language is taught as part of the language curriculum and is used as a learning medium in other areas such as Arts, Music, Mathematics, Science, Social Science, and Technology (CLIL) fields. Our students learn English through an enrichment process based on the ideas of Patricia Richard-Amato, in which academic disciplines are taught in the foreign language to simulate real communication contexts and learning environments. Students reach, at least, level B2 of the Common European Framework. However, upon graduation, they are between B2 and C2, which allows them to function competently, whether it is to study, work or live in English-speaking countries.
We currently develop a high-intensity hourly program during the last years of schooling. Our students reach a level of French that allows them to function comfortably in everyday contexts of the French-speaking world. Those who choose to continue their higher education in France, Canada, or another French-speaking country reinforce their skills in this language through summer courses and study trips. At the end of their school year, students reach level A2 of the common European framework.
As an educational institution of the XXI century, GLM is committed to the environment.
In our community, we build an ecological awareness that always aligns with social action and citizen ethics. Through an Environmental Committee, we involve the students of La Montaña with good recycling practices as well as with the environmental problems that affect the school environment. This committee has Environmental Watchers appointed in each course during school elections. However, from Second grade, all students who voluntarily want to join can also be part of this group.
In addition to attending the monthly meetings of the Committee, the Watchers are in charge of socializing and leading the campaigns that take place in the school in their respective courses. Moreover, as an educational institution of the XXI century, GLM is committed to environmental protection and preservation.
Within our community, we build an ecological conscience that always aligns with social conscience and citizen ethics. Through an Environmental Committee, we involve the students of La Montaña with good recycling practices as well as with environmental problems that affect the school environment. This committee has Environmental Watchers appointed in each course during school elections. However, starting in second grade, all students who voluntarily want to belong can also be part of this group.
The Committee is headed by a professor from the Department of Natural Sciences, who is also part of the zone committees where the College has a participatory action. We try to ensure that each ecological campaign has social projection. For example, we collect plastic caps throughout the year to help the Sol de Llos Andes Foundation, which works for children with cancer; Also, at the end of the year, our “Lookouts” collect all the sheets of paper that were not used in the notebooks. After organizing them by size and type (grid or lined), they deliver them to be turned into new notebooks that will be donated to underprivileged schools and parishes. Finally, our Environmental Committee monitors good ecological practices inside and outside the campus, because we aspire that each member becomes a multiplier in the importance of caring for the environment and the planet.
The development of the artistic dimension is fundamental within the integral formation of the Gimnasio La Montaña.
For this reason, we seek to promote an aesthetic sense in our children and young people, as well as an adequate development of their sensitivity through a permanent approach to artistic manifestations such as plastic arts and music. Our students not only receive expressive and communicative tools but through the senses, they develop facets of their affectivity and spirituality.
With the idea of meeting these objectives, the GLM Arts area has the same structure from Preschool to Sixth grade. Our students receive training subjects, both in art and music, and when they reach the sixth grade, they must opt for one of the two programs, with which they will continue until their graduation.
For adequate musical training, we have incorporated into our program different approaches and pedagogical strategies aimed at the progressive development of the different components of music, such as rhythm, body expression, and singing. In addition to developing their aesthetic sense and musical sensitivity, students participate in orchestral processes and take part in appreciation classes for Colombian music and classical music.
In this program, all students receive permanent training in art history, as well as approaches to artistic techniques such as drawing, ceramics, painting, installation, assembly, and animation. These learnings reinforce in students the development of critical thinking, communication through the language of art, and a way of perceiving and understanding the world from another perspective.
In this workshop, the boys and girls have an approach to the small activities that take place in the daily life of a house and learn to fend for themselves in an independent way. The boys and girls of Middle School (in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades) rotate in three basic areas: Sewing, manufacturing, and cooking. In the sewing class, they work, for example, with recycled materials and transform them into other things:; rain capes, kitchen aprons, or T-shirts, with the intention of sharpening their imagination and creativity. In the kitchen, they learn to handle utensils, some techniques for cutting, peeling, etc., and in the end, they prepare a recipe whilst keeping the kitchen in perfect order to the satisfaction of the Chef. Finally, in manufacturing, they become familiar with some simple tools such as saws, hammers, or pliers and make some functional parts.
Our objective is to support the entire La Montaña community with the necessary resources for the development of their academic and professional activities. The CREA (Center for Educational Resources for Learning) is an interdisciplinary academic unit that promotes the development of learning skills, as well as interest in reading, culture, and research at Gimnasio La Montaña. CREA supports the students, teachers, and psychologists of the Gimnasio La Montaña through the following strategies:
It includes the general school library (for Primary, Middle School, and High School) and the Preschool library. It contains a collection of more than 15,000 publications. This system has provided dedicated spaces for reading and individual and group study. Students are also able to borrow books from Luis Ángel Arango Library. Similarly, through the school’s website, it provides the services of the “Ebsco-Explora” portal, which provides access to thousands of articles on various topics, as well as magazines from multiple areas of knowledge.
Encouragement of reading:
It focuses on a space called “Readfulness”, a weekly slot in the schedule of Preschool, Elementary, and Middle School students in which students develop their interest in reading by choosing a book of their choice. Around this space, the CREA team carries out various activities during the school year so that students develop their criteria to build their own collection of books and consolidate their love of reading.
The CREA team supports the school’s teachers in obtaining educational material (books, films, games, or digital resources)workshops, and lecturers for their classes. In addition, it accompanies them in the design and implementation of research activities in their courses based on the “Guided Research” methodology.
Publications and research:
CREA coordinates the student initiative of the Revista del Gimnasio La Montaña, an annual publication that collects the best works in all areas and schools of the college, to disseminate them both in the GLM community and in other colleges and universities in Colombia and abroad.
On the other hand, CREA supports the realization of educational research for publication purposes by the team of teachers and psychologists of the Gimnasio La Montaña.
Learning Skills Curriculum:
CREA supports the design and implementation of the transversal curriculum of “Learning Skills”, skills that are essential for our students to develop autonomy in their learning processes and be successful in their academic life.
This interdisciplinary initiative focuses on a semester program of cultural events (inside and outside the school) that promote learning beyond the classroom and complement the academic training objectives present in the curriculum.
Physical education and sports
Motor development, sport, and axiological and attitudinal training are the objectives of physical education at GLM. In Physical Education classes, we develop and reinforce the physical abilities of our students (motion, manipulation, body schema, and play) according to the needs of the stage of development in which they are. At the same time, we contribute to axiological training through the consolidation of values such as courage, discipline, honesty, and those that arise from the social interaction of sports competitions, such as teamwork, respect for the opponent, and respect for authority. All advances in motor development are put into play periodically with a sporting activity: athletics day. Vocational among the sports vocational options that GLM offers Primary school children, according to their particular motivation, is the practice of sports activities: volleyball, artistic gymnastics, soccer, and basketball. As students grow and change categories, the demand levels are higher, as from the third-grade students prepare for intercollege competitions.
The training days for the teams that compete in intercollege tournaments (the majority in UNCOLI) are developed and directed by professionals specialized in each sport: gymnastics, athletics, volleyball, basketball, and soccer. These training sessions are demanding and seek to form competitive teams that encourage the success of the school in competition in the process of also learning about healthy competition, fair play, commitment, teamwork, and courage. Boys and girls form teams in male and female categories according to their age in order to participate in various competitions: youngest, pre-infantile, infantile, youthful, and older. In the community of La Montaña, sports become an excellent strategy for making good use of the students’ energy and free time as a strategy to keep them healthy and away from harmful environments whilst they develop.