Langholsskoli is a primary and secondary school providing education for 6-16 years olds in accordance with Iceland’s compulsory school act of June 12th 2008. This act consolidated compulsory education duration of 10 years.
The school is sub-divided into:
- 1. Primary School
- 1st-4th Grade (308 pupils)
- 2. Lower secondary School
- 5th-7th Grade (179 pupils)
- 3. Upper secondary School
- 8th-10th Grade (143 pupils)
Icelandic schools are governed and operate in accordance with the national curriculum guidelines, 2013. These place central emphasis upon general education “to advance the individual’s capacity for meeting the challenges of everyday life”, to understand and realise their individual potential and fulfil their future roles with a complex society. Accordingly, each school is responsible for implementing the “fundamental pillars” of the national curriculum within the main fields of knowledge and skills available for acquisition within the school, as appropriate to individual needs and capacities. These “fundamental pillars” are:
- Health and welfare;
- Democracy and human rights;
Within this this overall framework, Langholtsskóli has two specific areas of nationally acknowledged strength: a range of initiatives supporting children’s transitions from pre-school (see below) and a specialized department for children with autism. The latter encompasses nine pupils from Reykjavik and has two special educators, three teachers and one assistant. The school provides specialised support for approximately 22 pupils with autism and also a significant number of other students with special educational needs. There are three special education centres for each grade and a special education centre for 1st-4th grade pupils, staffed by 2.5 special needs teachers, a specialized therapist and four teaching assistants.
The activities and expertise of Langholtsskoli relevant to the Project:
A current priority for our school is to play a central role in the implementation of the directives. In the 2013 national curriculum concerning transitions between pre-school and primary education. This says that:
“.....in order to accommodate the different needs of children a head teacher may authorise that a child may start school attendance before the age of six. Before such a decision is made,it is essential that the personnel of the relevant preschool and compulsory school have discussed the matter according to the Preschool act and the Compulsory School act. Municipalities are to initiate cooperation between preschools and compulsory schools. The school curriculum guide is to detail this cooperation and how to arrange efficient transfer and adaptation between school levels......... children’s preschool study, experience and competence should be the basis for their compulsory school study......Positive transfer from pre-school to compulsory school also involves the children’s preparation and adaptation...... At the completion of preschool certain information exists on the children. In order to ensure that study at compulsory school is based on the study and experience at preschool, and to optimise their adaptation, certain information on all children is to follow them to compulsory school. This can, for example, be in the form of a portfolio that the children have taken part in making. Parents are important contacts between the two school levels and give information on their children and their preschool attendance. Furthermore, they are entitled to be informed about the data that follow each child from preschool to compulsory school and have a possibility to respond to them....The connection between preschool and compulsory school is a cooperative venture for parents and teachers of both school levels where the welfare of the child is in focus.....Teachers at both school levels should study the education and working methods of each other for children to experience continuity from preschool to compulsory school. In order to ensure this, preschools and compulsory schools should work out a plan that contains the common emphases of both school levels according to the national Curriculum Guide. Such plans are to be issued in school curriculum guides at both school levels....“
Langholtsskóli has been centrally and closely involved in a national project directed towards this closer integration of children’s pre-school and primary school experience, the increased significance and sharing of after school activities within early year’s education. The project aims generally at building bridges between children’s pre-school, primary, and after school experiential learning.