June 2, 2022 – Harfa International School in Split opened in the fall of 2020 as the city’s first international primary school. TCN discovers the simple philosophy of Harfa – to develop the potential.
The name ‘Harfa’ may already remind some of you of Split because it is the same local publishing house specializing in literature that stimulates the emotional and intellectual development of children from an early age.
Harfa International School takes this idea to the next level.
Located in the premises of a Franciscan monastery in Split, the Harfa International School was created by entrepreneur Irena Orlović, neurolinguistic therapist and one of the main protagonists of Mastercard’s short documentary FIVE, which addresses the challenges of female entrepreneurship in the world while promoting the greater involvement of women in the economy. Irena was chosen to represent Europe in the documentary, and her inspiring story has been watched by millions around the world.
Based on the philosophy of the Harfa publishing house, Irena and the Harfa International School strive to encourage the early emotional and intellectual development of children and to educate parents to push their children to their maximum potential. . All content is adapted to the child’s neurological age, while classes are taught by native English speakers. Promoting comprehension rather than memorization, students independently choose a weekly learning schedule with access to games, videos and digital learning content.
Harfa is a champion of empowered creators and creative explorers, founded on the principles of non-violence and diversity. It’s next-level learning in an environment where children feel comfortable and relaxed; where time outside in nature is just as important as inside the classroom.
“Learning models in which students passively learn facts and quote them out of context are no longer sufficient, as the brain remembers what is important to it. Neuroscience has proven that if we want children to learn new knowledge, we need to make sense of the knowledge, and for the brain to understand it, we need to include its emotional parts. Through socio-emotional programs, students have the opportunity to express their emotions, learn to empathize, accept differences, feel the environment in which they live and develop their potential for what can be discovered and created in the world,” said Irena Orlović.
In Harfa, classes are small, with a maximum number of 18 students. Classes are taught in English, with an emphasis on the Croatian language. The school embraces individuality through various teaching and learning methodologies while closely following the globally recognized International Baccalaureate educational programs starting at age 5 and anticipating through high school graduation. .
The IB PP curriculum model enables students to develop the knowledge, attitudes and skills they need to participate effectively in life in subjects such as language and literature – English/Croatian, acquisition Language – English/Croatian, Science, Social Studies, Mathematics and Arts – Music, Visual Arts. Students will master these topics by thinking creatively yet critically, learning through individual work, group work, workshops, presentations, plenum, movement, rest and relaxation to ultimately acquire the knowledge needed to approach the next phases of life. Each student is celebrated for their talents in a welcoming climate that allows them to discover their best learning practices.
The primary program focuses on holistic learning, cross-cultural awareness and communication, using a constructivist and inquiry approach to teaching, learning and assessment. Students make practical connections between their studies and the real world and are well equipped to undertake the IB Intermediate Studies program which follows the PYP programs at Harfa.
A variety of modern and didactic materials enhance the Harfa learning environment, designed to inspire, spark interest and curiosity, and encourage research and experimentation, allowing students to observe and reason while standing aware of the latest technological trends.
“By a learning culture that encourages the development of potential, we mean a culture that allows for diversity and enables the development of individual potential and skills. It is a culture of learning in which each child receives the message that their uniqueness is perfectly fine and that they are needed just as they are.
Overall, Harfa educators apply a learning culture that practices individual, self-organized, experience-based work, while students are encouraged to question and evaluate information, using their knowledge, experience and logical thinking to solve problems in various situations. Harfa parents are also celebrated as protagonists in transforming their child’s potential.
Built on a culture of connection, trust and respect, Harfa is a close community where comparisons do not exist; where progress is measured individually while fostering teamwork. An educational society where every child matters.
Harfa International School is located at Poljudsko šetalište 2, 21000 Split. More information can be found on its official website here.
All photos by Sara Miller
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