My 8 yr old gifted son is unhappy at school. The only part of the week he enjoys is ODS. Unfortunately he is not allowed in the enrichment group that has just been set up at his school as "his PAT results weren't high enough". This is the last straw for me with this school so am looking at alternatives. Would appreciate it if anyone knows ANYTHING about MindAlive. Their website sounds interesting.
Have heard very mixed reports about MindAlive - from comments about no discipline and a chaotic environment where kids seem to do as they please, to other comments about kids having freedom to explore learning on their own terms. I think you would need to check it out in person and see if the particular philosophy and environment is what you want for your child.
At one stage in the past 2-3 years, it was operating from the old Bowling Club in Newmarket and the buildings were covered in graffiti and very unloved looking. The external environment was less than appealing to my kids when we had a brief look en route to visit cousins.
Are you sure it is still going - I had heard through the grapevine that MindAlive had actually ceased operation, but this could be wrong.
Hi Charlotte, yes Mindalive is alive and well. It is still operating out of the old Bowling Club in Alpers Ave, Newmarket, and is run by Claire Aumonier.
On first appearances, it does seem a bit run down and to the uninformed, it could apear to be quite chaotic!! But their educational philosophy is fantastic and you might find it really useful to have a chat with Claire. The phone number is 529 7592.
My 10 year old son has been there since the beginning of last year, and is very happy. If you have any questions I would be happy to try and answer them for you - I believe you can email me by clicking on my name. (This is the first time I have posted anything on this forum!)
Came to post that MindAlive is still going but I see Julie has beaten me to it. Our daughter was there for a year and it was a real turning point for her. In the end she decided she wanted to be in a more traditionally structured environment but she loved her time there. It would not be for everyone, but there are certain children for whom it would probably be a lifesaver of sorts. Nothing like seeing your previously shy child coming home soaked from a waterfight or covered in mud from playing touch. The children (at least when we were there) were always very supportive and she still has great friends there. If your child is really unhappy at school then it may be worth at least checking out.
I know this is an old thread but hopefully someone can help me. We are looking at putting our son in mindalive. We have had a visit and think it could be a great fit for our child. They do not have a current website or any other documentation that they can provide me. If there is someone out there who either has or has had a child there could give us some current feedback that would be great. It is such a different enviroment that the more information we can get the better before we decide to take a leap of faith. We have already met with claire. We would be interested in hearing about it from a parent's perspective.
All three of my gifted, aspie, dyslexic, dyspraxic ,ADD (in various combinations!) kids are at MindAlive - in its new building on the corner of Greys and Mayoral Drive in the city. MindAlive, for my three, has been an enormous turning point. Sick of spending what felt like most of my day at school trying to get the school to see past the various ways my children learn, to see the bright clever witty kids underneath was a continuing struggle. My children are not globally gifted, or are twice gifted as some would say, so just didnt seem to suit the traditional look of gifted. To the uninitiated, mindalive may look chaotic, but it simply has a different philosophy, one which is different from the traditional look of 'school' that we have all grown up with. It has been a turning point for me, as I just simply let the kids 'be' at school, without needing to continually know where they are up to with things - but just letting them get on with learning the way that best suits them. That has been the hardest part of the process for me, but I have settled into it all quite nicely! As have the children! The eldest (girl 13), in particular has bloomed in the most obvious way - and feels like for the first time, that people finally 'get' her. It has been a revelation for her and us. I am particulary happy that our youngest (boy 7yrs) wont have to go thru what his brother and sister did - and he is definitely ina place that really is perfect for him. I am happy if anyone would like to talk to me about it.
My three lovely boys aged 5, 7 and 9 started at Mindalive June 2009 (Hi Anya) and it has also been an absolute turning point for our whole family.
My contact with Claire began when I had read John Taylor Gatto's "Dumbing Us Down" - highly recommended - and realised there was a reason I felt so uncomfortable with the education system as it is and I was desperate for some way to get my boys out of it. My oldest was so stressed by school he ended up with all sorts of diagnoses including anxiety disorder. My middle child was so bored but also so intent on trying to work out to be good that he would explode as soon as he got in the car each day. And my youngest didn't even have to try because we just didn't go there. I could however imagine him spending a lot of time with his friend the principal because he is the sort of child who needs to know why he is doing something and 'because it was time' or 'everyone else was doing it then' just wasn't going to cut it.
Within a couple of weeks my boys were more well than they had ever been, were happy to go to school in the morning and were becoming more whole.
It is hard to describe how children learn and how there are such excellent educational outcomes (top school for UE in NZ) because our language, particularly educational parlance, doesn't have useful language in relation to whole learning in this way. Individual knowledge of each child, socratic dialogue, life-long learners, contextual frameworks... They are all only a small part of the bigger picture. In the end, I absolutely trust these people with my boys as whole beings every day.
Thanks for all the responses, and thanks for the phone call Chris. Our son is starting at Mindalive on Monday. We feel like we are taking a bit of a leap into the darkness but we are hoping it will be somewhere where he can learn to use his natural talents and to feel o.k about being himself. Our son (9) is so excited about it all. If it was not for this forum I would never have stumbled accross the name of the school and we wouldn't know about this opportunity, so thank you to everyone who has posted.
I was told by my son's teacher during parent/teacher interview just 2 days ago that there's a school in Newmarket that's "different" and kids are allowed to be themselves. My son who's 10 has always been a bit quirky since kindy, and we've been told this many times from various people and teachers who have had contact with him since he was 3.
I am so glad to find this forum. I'll give then a call and pay a visit. Thanks soo sooo much for all very enlightening comments about Mindalive. the My son will be due for intermediate next year and I am just so concern that he won't be able to cope ending up loosing interest in education all together.
Mindalive sounds like a school out of this world. But I know that my son learns best when he applies himself rather than just reading and listening to others.
Maybe we can as parents have coffee sometime to share our views and progress of our kids.
I was so glad to stumble across this forum. My son, now 15, has been at Mindalive for 5 years. This remarkable school has been the saviour of an intelligent child who was utterly unsuited to mainstream class instruction and who suffered cruelly when subjected to it. I could not be more delighted with the school and what my son has achieved there.
Because the processes do not resemble traditional class instruction, their appearance can be superficially chaotic but the school is in fact highly disciplined and very demanding of its students. From a young age, they learn to take responsibility for their learning and for their moral choices. The school requires of each of its students engagement, intellectual curiosity, effort, and thought for others. The school's culture encourages these things and removes the barriers to them. What the school does not do is force them into a standard mould.
I know this is bad of me to admit but I'm here in the AUT library and felt like I should find something to assist me in procrastinating researching for an assignment that's due in a couple weeks, so I Googled MindAlive out of curiosity.
I've never been to 'school' before as I was brought up through MindAlive even before it truly existed. I've known Claire since before I could even walk and, even now, I find it very difficult to explain how MindAlive works to anyone who is only familiar with traditional schooling methods. Even when I discuss it with some of those for whom I know struggled with school seem to have this desire not to accept that there are different ways to educate oneself. It's one of those things that individuals must try for themselves to see whether it will fit for them. No, it won't fit every child but, as far as I know, it is very accommodating to each individual's needs and I think it's worth a 'leap into the darkness' for a little while to find out - from my experience, at least.
It is good to see some recent feedback about on the internet. It has been a little while since I was there as I'm 21 now. I know that its structure grows and changes as time passes so I expect it's quite different from when I was there.
I don't think that their website will ever be rectified any time soon as I don't think it is a high priority for them. I think it would be too difficult to communicate what needs to be communicated on it, as every child has different needs. Maybe I should go and ask them about it when I next pay a visit.
Hi, I'm just looking for a solution for my 10yo who has been refused acceleration to Y7 this year (2012), and is bored at school. I work within walking distance of Mind Alive if they're still in CBD as mentioned above. Can anyone tell me a) how the children cope going from Mind Alive to a standard secondary school or university, and b) whether they get tested on any of the 'standard tests' used in state schools so their progress can be compared to peers at state schools and c) what the fees are.
Hi Elle, yes MindAlive is still in the city. It is a brilliant progressive model of education rather than schooling/training and I would never consider going back to the traditional NZ model. There is no way I could compare it with the school system. Having said that, there was a Metro article comparing NCEA level 3 pass rates last year and MindAlive was the only school with a 100% pass rate.
I would suggest you call MindAlive with any other questions you have. Best wishes.
Just found this stream and thought I would send a reply to Elle. All my children have gone through Mindalive, one son has just completed a BA and two others will finish this year (July then December). I still have one in his final year at MindAlive. No other education system was needed and the outcome for our family has been great. As far as 'testing' goes I don't think they have the sort of tests that would demonstrate the wonderful human beings these children are developing into.
I also would like some information about Mind Alive. My children are well into Montessori Primary (which we love), and so we are no strangers to alternative routes of schooling.
I plan to arrange a visit to Mind Alive, but would really like to find a bit of background to how they operate and what the philosophy is? Is it just one individuals vision?
Would appreciate some feedback. Thanks
Hello you posted a while ago about your three kids being at the mind alive school, are you still attending?
I'm going in for a visit and I wanted to hear from people who have kids there. My son hates school and this will be my 3rd attempt of a school. Oh help!
I look forward to any feedback from parents who are currently there?
Sorry Andrea, there is nothing like Mindalive in New Zealand. Every school uses the teaching model of schooling, although some may be more 'relaxed' about the subjects 'taught' and/or their timetabling.
Not sure what Chris means when s/he says there is 'nothing like Mindalive in New Zealand', as here is precisely where Mindalive is. But anyway ... if Mindalive is too far for your son to travel from Howick, you might like to have a look at Bridge Academy as an alternative. It does have a Christian ethos, which may or may not appeal, but over the years I have known several gifted kids who've attended and thrived there. It is in the Howick/Pakuranga area and their website is http://www.thebridgeacademy.co.nz.
Sorry to cause confusion. I meant there is nothing 'else' like Mindalive in NZ. To my, reasonably extensive, knowledge of education in NZ there is no other model that doesn't use the teacher/learner model of schooling. I am happy to discuss my own experience of my children there if you wish to email me personally. Otherwise, I recommend you call them with any further questions about it.
There is a school in AK that has a similar philosophy towards learning as MindAlive. Timatanga Community School in Whenuapai. Fantastic little alternative school catering for children from year 1-8. They encourage self-motivated learning, etc, worth checking out if you're seriously interested in an alternative to mainstream school. :)
Kia Ora Koutou, Wow, what an interesting and wonderful read. I have had the priveledge of visiting MindAlive 1 week ago.' Alive' it is!! It took me a while to pick my jaw up off the floor as i couldnt believe the endless possibilities and opportunities stareing me in the face. Congratulations to all the parents who have made a stand for their child in finding them the freedom to learn in such a beautiful environment and atmosphere that recognises their individual talents, needs, and most importantly their self worth!! My visit was to find answers for Maori children of generations who were and still are being failed by a system that in too many cases cripples their self worth, positive personal growth, and pidgeon holes their learning growth. This may not apply to the few who have managed to cope with the current educational system and have successfully ventured forward, but for the many that are forced into disengagement and subdued by negative connotations. the questions now are
"When and Where...." To any of our Maori friends and whanau out there, please let each other know you have 'choices' no more trying to force the ' square peg in a round hole'. Congratulations to you Aston and your peers from MindAlive, i met 3others who popped in for the day and shared their success. Claire...you are amazing!!
It is very easy to get 100% pass at Level 3 NCEA. All you need is 1 student enrolled, one student who's results get recorded on NCEA whilst the other 2,3, 5 or whatever who did not pass just don't have their results posted by the school with NCEA. Too easy! That's one major reason why NCEA is fatally flawed.
Maori are not necessarily the square peg in a round hole. In fact, it is a racist misconception to assume that being Maori causes children less ability to pass in the NZ schooling system. We are all born with the same brain potential-colour, ethnicity, culture does not determine whether one brain has the potential to learn to pass NCEA internals and external assessments.
Whether under the old SC/UE system or the present NCEA system a student only needs to be trained in the skills and content requisite for the NCEA subject s/he is enrolled for. If nothing else, students learn the self-discipline to succeed in a prescriptive system. Whilst that may not suit some kids it does not proceed that it does not suit Maori students. To assume such is to come from a racist standpoint that Maori kids should be plonked in 'the marginalised basket'.
It is that assumption and the proceeding 'marginalisation' that is causing teachers to assume that the Maori students in their class and their school are bound to fail. This of course, gives the teachers and senior managers [and the Teacher trainers & MOE bureaucrats] 'the out' that it is not their fault that they expected less of their Maori students.
Ultimately, if you lower your expectations sufficiently, no child can fail but then NO child can succeed to the uppermost of their potential! That may suit some parents who never want their children to be challenged to rise above any challenges. Imo, such parents sell their children short.
In saying all this, I make no assumptions about Mind Alive but speak from the standpoint as a Maori parent and educator.