Democratic Education is an educational philosophy that utilises the powerful interaction between choice, ownership and deep learning. The more freedom to own decisions in their learning that children have the more likely they are to take responsibility for that learning. It does not mean that they decide on all aspects of their learning, it means they are very active participants in the structuring of their learning. This same theory applies across the school structure as a solid functioning community of learners, thinkers and enactors must have a strong connection forged through the balance of freedom and responsibility.
BIS is an active and robust democracy where we need to hear as many voices as possible, consequently we have a number of ways that we get everyone involved:
*students run our weekly whole school meetings, discussing the curriculum options for the term, excursions, events and their own plans and visions for the term
*association members make strategic decisions about the long term vision for our school in their role on the school board
parents vote, give feedback and attend Whole School Meetings once per term to discuss big topics and engage in visioning
*our online community engages in discussion and debate on a range of issues that informs that actions of both the Board and the Principal and Staff Council
To support this process our Cultural component to the curriculum explicitly teaches students how to run meetings, speak publicly, present ideas clearly and logically, get involved and participate in the world around them and take on social responsibility. We love seeing leadership emerge in our students. Similarly our staff are trained to support this process and our parents also supported in taking on this new role as a members of a democratic organisation.