Teaching methods
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Metodology
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DEC life school
Methods
Our methods is based on the principles of individualized learning, tutoring and mentoring, mixed-age groups, flipped classroom and complex assessment.
Studying at DEC life school considers every student’s interests and needs
Svitlana Zaluzhna, DEC life school co-author and principal: «Our mission is to teach children study independently and learn about the world, help every student become stronger, find their interests and unlock the potential».
Technique
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Key cooperation principles at school
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Self-organization
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We teach children be independent, help themselves in any situation, organize their daily routine and study. Children learn simple life skills: how to get around, what to do in extreme situations, how to pack a bag, wash the dishes or go to camp without parents.
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Self-knowledge
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Children have mindfulness practices, learn to be more open and present. We teach them to be themselves: understand their strengths and development zones, live in harmony with the world and environment, be honest and independent, take responsibility for their actions.
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Self-learning
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Lifelong learning school concept means studying not only at school but also outside during your whole life. In order to develop this skill, children work independently, learn time management and planning every day; learn to ask questions and find solutions without adults’ help.
School
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Schools that inspire us
We visit schools that are close to our philosophy regularly: we adopt their knowledge and best practices, admire innovation projects and methods. Some of these schools have been teaching children for more than 30-40 years and have reached fantastic results. Such experience reassures us that we are moving on the right direction.
Democratic School of Hadera (Israel)
Alt School (USA)
The Apple International School (Dubai)
Summerhill (Great Britain)
Plan
Individual Study Plan
Every student at school studies according to the individual study plan
that is based on the student’s strengths, interests, current level of knowledge, skills and competences.
In order to make up a study plan we perform tests:
determine personal and academic aims, fill in questionnaires, observe the child in different situations.
Individual study plan is a form of agreement between a student, his parents and school on the child’s development strategy.
Due to individual study plan a student develops with comfortable speed, unlocks his personal and creative potential.
How will you draw a plan for my child? How can I understand if the plan yields any results?
In order to agree on a study plan we conduct individual session with parents, student and school at the beginning of school year. Based on test results, family and child’s perspectives we agree on plans and aims for the academic year. At the end of the first semester we conduct a second meeting where we make interim conclusions, if necessary we make changes in the plan. At the end of academic year, we conduct a final meeting where students present their achievements in the form of Portfolio. We give extensive feedback and recommendations for the following year.
How does a student follow his individual study plan while studying in a group with other students?
At DEC life school children study in small groups (up to 10 students). Teachers choose learning activities, materials and tasks beforehand combining individual plans and levels of students in a group. During the lesson students can work individually, in pairs, in mini groups or together. We pick tasks, roles and material difficulty depending on every student’s aims.
Mentor
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Tutoring and mentoring
In DEC life school there are tutoring and mentoring systems:
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Tutor
is a teacher who develops and executes an individual study plan of your child. Their task is to help a child realize all individual aims and needs.
To achieve this they communicate with other teachers, psychologist, parents and children.
Tutor is an important adult who supports and cares for a child, creates atmosphere of safety for unlocking the potential.
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Mentor
is an expert in a knowledge area or skills that are interesting for a child. Children choose their mentor and build trusting and cooperative relationships, when a more experienced mentor supports his mentee, helps him grow and develop.
Mentoring is the form of one on one work. In our school students aged 13+ can choose a mentor to work with.
How does tutor interact with a child?
Tutor works with a group of children and with every tutee individually. Tutor’s task is to help a child develop in all aspects: physically, socially, emotionally, morally and intellectually. Tutor must know his students well, determine their level of studying and development, support them, unlock their talents, inclinations, aspirations. Therefore, tutors spend a lot of time with children and regularly organize individual meetings with every student.
Independence
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Individual study
Individual study We help children sustain their thirst for knowledge, teach them to develop individually and acquire new knowledge
At school, students develop time management, analytical and planning skills, learn to be responsible and independent.
Children do individual tasks, maintain a personal journal, individually plan their day at school and in group, have everyday reflection and independently evaluate their progress.
Does the school have homework?
There are no tasks that are given to students to complete at home. The students do all tasks for individual study during special self-study time. There may be an exception when the students themselves want to get some tasks to complete at home, and specific tasks connected with project work.
How much time do students spend self-studying?
Depending on the age, the time span varies from 15 to 60 minutes per day.
Mixed
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Mixed age groups
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Division into groups
At DEC life school students are divided into groups based on the principles of psychological maturity, individual goals and age.
As a rule, students with 1-2 year age difference may work together in one group.
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Children of different ages
Thus, children learn to be friends and communicate with children of different ages as it happens in real society and family with brothers and sisters.
It helps children be more open, confident and tolerant.
Do children placed in the same group study the same things?
No. Lessons consist of different activities: group work and individual tasks. During individual work, students have their own tasks according to their individual study plan. During group work, students may work in general context (topic), but with different levels of tasks difficulty and functions.
Evaluation
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Complex assessment
We use the following for complex progress assessment of the:
360-degree monitoring: feedback from tutor, psychologist, teachers, students and group mates
state assessment: exams and tests by the Ministry of Education curriculum
individual meetings of teacher and student for feedback
student’s portfolio which he or she presents at the end of school year
competence-based assessment from teachers
self-assessment: students assess their own progress
How can parents control their child’s progress?
Complex assessment is quite an unusual form of the child’s success control. Але, на відміну від звичних нам оцінок, ця система дає повну картину її індивідуального розвитку Unlike familiar grades, this system gives full picture. So parents are able to monitor their child’s progress and understand the details we offer individual family sessions 3 times a year as well as on request meetings with tutors. Every week parents receive a letter from their tutor describing the events of the week.
What is competence-based assessment?
During all academic and non-academic activities we oversee the development of every child’s competences at school. There is a specific set of activities and their developmental levels in accordance with age. E.g., attention span, critical thinking, creativity, ability to cope with stress etc. Tasks aiming at such competences development are built into the school’s curriculum.
Dec Life School
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Teachers
Teachers and Administration
Dec Famyily
Do you want to become a part of DEC life school team?
Our school develops constantly and the team is becoming bigger and stronger.
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If you:
are interested in alternative education;
are passionate about innovations on education;
can’t help loving children with all your heart;
Join DEC life school team! We always look for talented people!
Complete your application
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Svitlana Bulhakova
Academic Director
Profile:
I have a Master’s degree in “Teaching English, Translation”, have been working as manager in private educational projects for more than 7 years, have practiced non-violent communication with international trainers (Eva Rambala, Nayoma de Haen, Kateryna Yasko) for more than 100 hours, have studied “Integral Leadership and Practices of Teal Organizations” (Irena Pranskevichute, Vitautas Buciunas), School of Educational Coaching, “Integral theory” and human development STAGES by Terri O’Fallon, “Spiral Dynamics”, tools of “Systemic Konsensing”, “5 chairs”, “Character Strengths”; a participant and speaker of EdCamp Education Conference. In DEC life school, I manage education process. I started working at DEC in 2016 as a Program Director of education laboratory DEC lab.
My professional motto:
“Children teach adults much more than adults teach children. And very often what children need is space, trust and no interference.”

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Olga Vozniuk
Administrator
Profile:
I received a master’s degree in “Teaching Ukrainian language and literature”. З 2015 року працювала в рекламному агентстві «Doris Advertising» редактором статей для дитячих сайтів I worked as an article editor for children’s websites in “Doris Advertising” agency since 2015. I have also worked as a Ukrainian and English teacher in “Veselka” children centre and administrator in “Art Academy’. Since 2017, I have been working at DEC life school as an administrator.
My professional motto:
“It is a difficult task to find a balance in education between what a child needs and the sphere in which he or she wants to develop.”

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Svitlana Bulhakova
Academic Director
Profile:
I have a Master’s degree in “Teaching English, Translation”, have been working as manager in private educational projects for more than 7 years, have practiced non-violent communication with international trainers (Eva Rambala, Nayoma de Haen, Kateryna Yasko) for more than 100 hours, have studied “Integral Leadership and Practices of Teal Organizations” (Irena Pranskevichute, Vitautas Buciunas), School of Educational Coaching, “Integral theory” and human development STAGES by Terri O’Fallon, “Spiral Dynamics”, tools of “Systemic Konsensing”, “5 chairs”, “Character Strengths”; a participant and speaker of EdCamp Education Conference. In DEC life school, I manage education process. I started working at DEC in 2016 as a Program Director of education laboratory DEC lab.
My professional motto:
“Children teach adults much more than adults teach children. And very often what children need is space, trust and no interference.”

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Svitlana Bulhakova
Academic Director
Profile:
I have a Master’s degree in “Teaching English, Translation”, have been working as manager in private educational projects for more than 7 years, have practiced non-violent communication with international trainers (Eva Rambala, Nayoma de Haen, Kateryna Yasko) for more than 100 hours, have studied “Integral Leadership and Practices of Teal Organizations” (Irena Pranskevichute, Vitautas Buciunas), School of Educational Coaching, “Integral theory” and human development STAGES by Terri O’Fallon, “Spiral Dynamics”, tools of “Systemic Konsensing”, “5 chairs”, “Character Strengths”; a participant and speaker of EdCamp Education Conference. In DEC life school, I manage education process. I started working at DEC in 2016 as a Program Director of education laboratory DEC lab.
My professional motto:
“Children teach adults much more than adults teach children. And very often what children need is space, trust and no interference.”

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Svitlana Zaluzhna
DEC life school Principal
and Co-author
Profile:
Received MBA degree in IMI business school (International Management Institute), studied «Leadership, Competitive Management and Communication» program in Tepper School of Business of Carnegie Mellon University, USA. I have been participating in creating and managing private educational projects for more than 5 years, have practiced non-violent communication with international trainers (Eva Rambala, Nayoma de Haen, Kateryna Yasko) for more than 100 hours, have studied “Integral Leadership and Practices of Teal Organizations” (Irena Pranskevichute, Vitautas Buciunas), “Integral theory” and human development STAGES by Terri O’Fallon, “Spiral Dynamics”, tools of “Systemic Konsensing”, “5 chairs”, “Character Strengths”, Humane Pedagogy, “School of Life” by Shalva Amonashvili.
In DEC life school, I am a school ideology and philosophy carrier, organization and team leader, school principal. I started working for DEC in 2016 as an innovations director. I am a mother of two children who study at DEC life school.
My professional motto:
«Our children are creators. Of course, they are our children, but the essence of the future is in them. If we give them our paradigm, our truths, we prevent them from building new ones. Modern school should be ahead of life, learn together with students and develop constantly».

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Oksana Zaikina
Psychologist
Profile:
Has a degree in teaching, law and psychology. I had advanced training in certified programs: “Psychodrama, sociometry, psychodramatic group therapy”, «Child psychtherapy, psychocorrection and parental consulting», «Neuropsychological diagnostics and correction of children», «Visual art therapy». I volunteer as a psychologist in Psychosocial rehabilitation of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy.
Профессильное мотто
: «The biggest gift that you can give to a person is the quality of your attention».

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Iryna Pashkevych
Facilities Manager
Profile:
I have a degree in travel business administration (NAU). At DEC life school, I am responsible for all the areas that complement academic activities, i.e. learning materials supply, catering, and transportation to and from educational trips, legal issues and finance.
Профессионое мотто:
: «If you want the world to change, become this change yourself».

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Oleksandra Ilchenko
Tutor
Profile:
I have two degrees in teaching as «Math and IT teacher» and economic as «Economist, teacher of economics». I have been working in education since 2014, use unconventional approach, based on alternative education and individualized learning. I have been working at DEC life school as a tutor since 2018.
My professional motto:
«I think that alternative education is clarity for everyone in indeterminate future…».

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Oleksandra Illiushchenko
IT Teacher
Profile:
I graduated from Borys Grinchenko Kyiv University College with qualification in primary school education. I studied in “Shag” computer academy specializing in computer software engineering, system administration. I have certification from the leading IT companies of the world such as «CISCO» and «Microsoft». This year I am finishing fifth year of studies at Borys Grinchenko Kyiv University with qualification in computer science. I have been working for DEC since February 2017 as a teacher of IT junior course for children aged 6-15.
Профессионое мотто:
«A child is not a vase that has to be filled up, but they are torches that have to be lit up».

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Oleg Kaschchenko
PE and Aikido Teacher
Profile:
I have been a fan of cycling since I was 10. I am a winner of Kyiv competition, All union Youth Games, 1st place in USSR, World champion among junior in cycling at 19. I lived in Spain for 4 years and participated in competitions there. I am a winner of international cycling competition. I started practicing aikido in 2010. From 2012 till 2015, I started teaching. From 2015 till 2017, I taught in Central hall of Lawyers Academy of Ukraine. In 2017, I opened an aikido school named “Kashchenko and Co”.
My professional motto:
«As a person who teaches children aikido I believe that they will become healthier, more confident and find their way in life».

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Oksana Kyryliuk
Tutor, German Teacher
Profile:
After one year of work in DEC life school as a tutor and German teacher I got reassurance that here I can realize unbelievable plans and dreams.
Nowadays it is impossible to be a teacher who just teaches. Children are in need of teachers who study themselves along with them inspiring and confirming that the world is safe, open and it is possible to achieve all their dreams and projects. Climbing to the top starts from the first step and it is very difficult to do it. Not losing the dream and orientation is at the same time the task and aim of the way.
DEC life school I see my contribution to DEC life school in supporting every student to choose their dream and developing the skills necessary for achieving them.

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Maria Lashkevych
Art Teacher
Profile:
Professional artist. I graduated from Kyiv State Institute of Decorative Art And Design and The National Academy of Visual Arts and Architecture with qualification in easel painting. I am a member of National Union of Artists of Ukraine. I participate in Ukrainian and International art exhibitions, festivals, and creative residences. Автор персональних арт-проектів I am an author of my own art projects. I have been working for DEC since 2017 as an art teacher. I develop art programs for children in alternative education.
My professional motto:
«Alternative education gives opportunities to work with children creatively, choose and develop programs oriented at students’ interests».

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Maria Ligus
Philosophy Teacher
Profile:
I have a master’s degree in philosophy from T. Shevchenko National University of Kyiv where I continue working on my dissertation as a postgraduate student of Philosophy Faculty. I specialize in social philosophy and philosophy of culture and art. З Since 2017 I have been working at DEC life school as a philosophy teacher for children aged 8-14.
My professional motto:
«A journey of thousand miles begins with a single step».

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Maksym Liashev
Art Teacher
Profile:
I have a degree in Art and Film and TV Directing. I have been participating in art exhibitions since 1988. I am an author of more than 100 art projects and exhibitions, the recent ones are Festival of Italian artist and screenwriter Tonino Guerra in Kyiv and Yalta in 2013; Travel with Tonino Guerra and personal exhibitions in 2014 and 2016. Since 2003 I have been an author of learning program for creativity and artistic vision named “Art as freedom given to a man from birth” (it was taught in a form of a seminar on different education platforms). Since 2017, I have been teaching creativity and art course at DEC life school.
My professional motto:
«To discover a great creative world that is in every child. To help them understand what will be important in life and art, teach them do the tasks efficiently and be ready for new and interesting adventures».

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Diana Madleeva
Arts & Crafts Teacher
Profile:
I have a degree as “Teacher of Visual Art” with additional specialization as “Teacher of Ethics and Aesthetics”.
My professional motto:
«I believe that every child has their own personality and identity. And we develop a child’s personality considering their wishes and talents».

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Hanna Podushka
Tutor’s Assistant
Profile:
I have a qualification of “Practical Psychologist” from Pedagogical University of Kyiv, additionally I visited trainings and seminars in practical psychology and psychotherapy. I continuously work on my professional and personal development. I have experience working at a state school so I understand the importance of individualized learning and supporting children in their development, which DEC life school realizes.
My professional motto:
«Hearing and accepting children as they are, is the most important thing».

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Anastasia Romanchenko
Tutor’s Assistant
Profile:
I graduated from National Pedagogic University of Kyiv specializing as a teacher of geography and economics, practical psychologist. I started my career in alternative schools of Kyiv and I honestly believe that alternative education is our future. I really love experimenting and trying out different methods and technologies during my lessons. I think that there are no bad children and boring lessons, as individualized learning is the case. I love developing integrative courses such as “Millionaires club”, “Around the world”, “Young blogger”.
My professional motto:
«Love truly and inspire, that is all that is necessary for raising happy children!»

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Maria Matsiuk
Tutor
Profile:
I have a pedagogical degree as “Mathematician, Teacher of Math, Physics and Computer Science”. Since 2017, I have been working as a tutor of children aged 7-9 at alternative DEC life school.
My professional motto:
«How do you hold yourself from exploring this unbelievably beautiful and harmonious world? You should just find a way that is interesting for you».

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Maria Gorelova
Tutor
Profile:
I have a degree in psychology. Since 2014, I have been going through advanced trainings on working with children with ADHD, fairy tale therapy, play therapy, and psychodrama.
I have been working in education since 2013, I also have experience working in management and marketing, which helps me build interdisciplinary links and teach children knowledge necessary in modern world.
My professional motto:
«Every person has motivation to explore the world from birth. My dream is to save the interest for learning and creative child-like perception in emotionally mature and successful adults».

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Vlad Mogylchak
Math Teacher
Profile:
I have higher technical education from Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv with specialization in physics. I am an author of math, physics and computer science courses. I have been teaching math and “STEM math” and “Game development” studios at DEC life school since 2017.
My professional motto:
«Only after making million mistakes we can find a correct solution!»

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Oleg Vasylkov
Music Teacher
Profile:
Graduated from P.I. Chaikovskyi National Music Academy of Kyiv summa cum laude. He has been working as a teacher for more than 30 years. Many students of Oleg Vasylkov took part in and won Ukrainian and international competitions. He chose DEC life school to cooperate with due to the same vision of education based on humanity, respect of child’s identity, prevalence of creativity over didactics.
Oleg Vasylkov is inspired by his favorite music, children’s laughter, strangers’ smiles, when you have success in something that seemed unreachable yesterday. He is ready to share his attitude to life, knowledge and algorithm of its usage, music that opens up and clears the soul.

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Olga Sergienko
Chinese and English Teacher
Profile:
Graduated from T. Shevchenko National University of Kyiv specializing in “Political Geography”, studied in China at Shandong Vocational College (Weifang, Snandong) specializing in “Chinese Language”. I worked at Innovative Language Center (Surabaya, Indonesia), Qingdao International Foreign Languages School. I have certificates of English knowledge and teaching English: TOEFL, CELTA, certificate of Chinese knowledge: HSK 4. I took part in Let's do it, Ukraine 2012 ecological projects, worked as a national volunteers coordinator of Power shift 2012.
DEC gives Olga opportunities to share her knowledge of Chinese culture with children. Smart, kind and talented people who she meets on her path inspire her. Olga is ready to share he life philosophy, positive attitude to people and world and love to what she does.

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Oksana Pavlova
Biology and Chemistry Teacher
Profile:
Has a degree in psychology and teaching specializing in biology and chemistry. I have been a member of Ukrainian Association of Humane Pedagogy since 2009. I teach and develop learning courses on biology and chemistry for children aged 9-12.
My professional motto:
«A student is not a vase that has to be filled up, but they are torches that have to be lit up».

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Olena Pastoven
Education Technologist, Physics and Environmental Studies Teacher
Profile:
I have a pedagogical degree specializing as “Physics and Astronomy Teacher”, master’s degree in “IT technologies in education’, top rank school counselor. I have been working in education for more than 20 years, and have 9-year experience of administrative work as a deputy principal. I worked as a trainer in “Promoting Education” project of the Lego Foundation. At DEC life school, I am a teacher of physics and environmental studies, as well as education technologist. I develop and maintain secondary school model.
My professional motto:
«Teacher is the one who makes complex things simple».

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Alyona Povysok
Lego Instructor
Profile:
Has a degree in psychology and teaching from Borys Grinchenko Kyiv University, in the process of specializing in technical field at Sikorskyi Kyiv Politechnic Institute. I graduated from Kyiv Gestalt University and got a qualification of a child’s psychological consultant. I studied at LLC “PROLEGO” that prepares teachers to work with children with Lego. I am a practicing children’s psychologist, children development teacher and “preparation for school” teacher. Since 2017, I have been working at DEC as a Lego Instructor.
My professional motto:
«I believe that the best way to see the future is to create it».

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Svitlana Skyba
Tutor
Profile:
Holds a degree in children teaching, did advanced training at: «Non-violent communication», «Education curriculum development», «Humane pedagogy of Shalva Amonashvili», «Tutoring», «Children preparation for school». I am an author of several projects for museum pedagogy.
My professional motto:
«A school for children is environment where they should understand themselves, their value, it is a place where children must have opportunities to develop in accordance to their abilities. Having a team that leads children along the way of proactiveness and interaction is crucial for personal development of a child».

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Natalia Sushkova
Tutor
Profile:
I have a master’s degree in physics from Kyiv Mohyla Academy. I studied at Ukrainian Waldorf Pedagogical Seminar (Kyiv Department). I worked for non-governmental organization “Borysfen Waldorf Initiative”. Since 2016, I have been attending intuitive pedagogy seminars «INTU in UA” under auspices of Ditter Shwartz. Since January 2018, I have been working at DEC life school as a tutor of children aged 8-11.
My professional motto:
«The best you can do for a child is to create harmonious environment for unlocking their nature, everything else will be done by children’s potential that lives in everyone since birth».

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Victoria Tsiupak
Music and Singing Teacher
Profile:
In 2014, I graduated from R. M. Gliera Kyiv Music Institute, in 2018 – P.I. Chaikovskyi National Music Academy of Ukraine. I am a laureate of international and Ukrainian competitions and festivals, since 2016, I have been a soloist of the Associations of Variety Artists of Ukraine, soloist of vocal and choreographic ensemble of song and dance “Ukrainochka”.
I work on guidance papers for primary and secondary schoolchildren. The main task of a singing teacher is to preserve natural voice and develop vocal technical skills of a child, the task of a teacher of alternative school is to make a child happy and full of energy for learning new things.

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Tetiana Chornoochenko
Drama and Oratory Teacher
Profile:
, Director of stage mass events. Co-creator of public organization “Ecological Hundred”. I lead the groups “Collecting used batteries and light bulbs”, “Ecological hundred”, “Grandmother’s bag”. I take active part in ecological commissions of Kyiv City State Administration.
I lead and realize ecological education of youth via lessons on ecology project. I conduct oratory trainings. I am a lead specialist of the department of public relations and mass media in Junior Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.

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Vladyslav Shybetskyi
«3D-printing» Instructor
Profile:
I have a master’s degree in “Equipment of Pharmaceutical and Biotechnological Industry” from Kyiv Polytechnic Institute. In 2015, I got a PhD in “Gyroscopes and Navigation Systems”. I have more than 9 year experience of teaching hardware design in higher technical educational establishment. I have been working at DEC life school as a 3D printing teacher since 2017.
My professional motto:
«Every child needs individualized learning and possibility to realize themselves in the area they like».

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Natalia Shoturma
Ukrainian Language and Literature Teacher
Profile:
I graduated from Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University. I have 15-year teaching experience. I have my own business so I understand which competences are necessary to develop for youth aiming at successful realization, which opportunities and challenges modern dynamic world are opened for them. In my opinion alternative school is a school that creates conditions for unlocking maximum potential of a child.
My professional motto:
«Unconditional belief in a child and love to them is a basis which educational process must be built on. By default».