My vision for Calliope is informed and inspired by educational models I have observed and participated in here in the US and abroad. As an anthropologist and ethnographer, my fieldwork has taken me to Africa, Hawai’i, Mexico and South America. I have lived among many indigenous peoples and have observed education expressed as storytelling, music, dance, and art. I have seen education that occurs within communities where tradition and ethics are integral to knowledge. And I have been inspired by teaching that is a direct transmission of skill and wisdom and students who acknowledge their teachers as honored elders.
As a dyslexic child, and a student of American schools, I was told that I lacked the natural aptitude required for foreign language study and that my different style of learning would impede me from mastery of Spanish and French. With equal parts conviction and defiance, I invented my own methods, which included visual, poetic and musical techniques and relationships with other cultures and native speakers. I went on to attain fluency in both languages. As a Calliope mentor, I now encourage my students to call upon their own unique gifts and passions as they approach intellectual challenges with a similar sense of adventure and creativity.
Scientific and sociological studies support Calliope’s version of holistic education and the broad-based educational practices of many indigenous peoples. We now know that some students are kinesthetically gifted, while others relate to music or visual imagery, and that a multidimensional approach to teaching can reach the greatest number of students and awaken the greatest number of intellectual and creative faculties in any one student. Calliope’s one-on-one mentorship model creates a safe environment for students to organically discover their talents, design their own learning methods and develop the passion and self-confidence needed to be life long learners.
– Christina Saint Laurent, Founder and Director of Calliope