It varies. Our schools have a maximum of 60 children, which means that there are several mixed age groups within a school – a group can consist of 8 or even 16 people.
At the same time, how many teachers/adults supervise the children in the school?
The number of adults present at one time varies from 2 to 4. We count on a large average of 2.5 permanent people per 16 children, and this is further complemented by outsiders who assist in various fields (e.g. speech therapy, or various other specialties like wood carving or programming) – they are so-called satellite teachers.
What is the daily routine like?
The daily routine is set by each school’s own teaching team, based on the children’s age. In general, you can expect the following time frames: opening hours from 8:00 to 17:00, arrival from 8:00 to 9:00 in the morning, while breakfast is available.
Mornings in most schools start with a kick-off conversation (this is called a morning round), when it is possible to discuss what happened the day before, the plans for the day, and what interests the children at the moment. The day is divided into modules, which can vary in length depending on the decision of the group and the teacher. We provide four meals a day and also make sure we have enough time for movement. We include individual learning time for the older ones, and in the afternoons, there are also classes and projects that give the children opportunity to play, move around, refresh, and achieve their own goals.
Is there a schoolyard, garden, or a gym? Do the children move enough?
This varies from school to school. At BPS, we provide daily exercise for the children. We have schools with their own gym; we have others with their own yard, garden, or is located in an environment where you can start walking and hiking in nature immediately upon exit. Others go to a nearby sports facility for swimming, gymnastics, football, wall climbing, etc. There are yoga classes in the classrooms, and we regularly organize outdoor activities (hiking, roaming around, exploration games) as well.
How do you provide meals?
We provide meals 3-4 times a day for the children – contracted food suppliers deliver fresh food to our schools every day.
How can we as a parent make the initiative a success? Do you expect active participation from families?
We believe that only by working together and getting to know each other can we best help the children develop. One of the most important parts of this is that the children’s own learning goals are determined together by the child, the teacher, and the parent. Therefore, you can help by being actively involved in this process. Or if you communicate with us openly as a partner, even if you feel bad about something, as this is how we can find a solution to any problem that arises.
COSTS AND FEES
What contribution are families expected to pay at Budapest School?
The average cost of parental contribution varies from school to school. It is up to everyone to decide how much they can contribute to our operation. We can enroll children with a lower amount in a scholarship category only if there are families who support with an amount more than average. We operate on a non-profit basis.
How much is parental contribution in case of siblings?
You decide how much you can or want to pay. Taking group costs into consideration, it does not matter whether the children who go there are siblings or not, as we need to manage the operating costs for the whole group from the total amount we receive from families for the given group.
Can families apply to your school with a lower contribution?
In order to accommodate families from as diverse financial backgrounds as possible, we have defined fixed numbers in four categories, with the result that 80% of the families help the other 20% to learn. Applicants in each contribution category can participate in the application process.
How much do you have to pay for the meal in addition to monthly contributions?
Meal costs are included in monthly contributions.
How and when can I join this year's or the 2022/23 application process?
You can read more about the application process of kindergartens, primary schools, and high schools in the 2020/21 school year under ‘Admission’ on our website.
I read the application process on the website; it seems quite complicated. How long does it take for us to go through all the steps?
If you want to start right away, expect the whole process to take roughly 3 weeks. For first graders applying for the 2021/22 school year, we will try to provide feedback as soon as possible, before the official application period in April.
If my older child gets into the school, will the younger sibling be able to join automatically?
In case of siblings, you can choose whether we should handle multiple children from the same family together or separately. Since each micro-school operates with 2-3 groups and will not be larger in the future, we recommend that you apply with kindergarteners and school-age children at the same time. We cannot promise that there will be a vacancy in 2-3-4 years in a said micro-school, as the groups will continue to develop together after the start or the upload procedure, and we will not start new groups every year where the local maximum number of places are taken. As we are a rapidly expanding organization, there is of course the possibility that another micro-school can be started not too far from the existing schools, with the right age groups for you, in case the families already present require it due to the many smaller siblings.
QUESTIONS ABOUT PRIMARY SCHOOLS AND HIGH SCHOOLS
At BPS, does my child learn what NAT requires?
Yes. At BPS, we conduct interdisciplinary learning. The modules cover the development goals, learning outcomes, and key competencies required by NAT.
I have read in several places that at BPS, learning is not organized into traditional lessons, but there are modules. What exactly does this mean?
At BPS, learning units are made up of modules. These are pre-planned series of sessions that develop children's specific skills and knowledge. The learning outcomes obtained during the modules are recorded in a portfolio. The modules are designed by teachers to support subject-based learning outcomes (as defined by NAT) along with the students’ individual learning goals defined per trimester. What could make up a module at BPS? Projects, theme days, theme weeks, subject groups combined in one session, individual learning, etc. The modular system provides an opportunity to learn in an agile way tailored to the needs of the group. A module can cover the content of several subjects at once. For example, a session titled ‘The Spread of the Coronavirus’ can simultaneously include basic knowledge of mathematics, natural sciences, and social sciences.
You write on the website that children study in mixed age groups. Does this mean there are no classes here?
At BPS, we determine learning outcomes not by classes, but across them. For example, NAT requires the achievement of 136 learning outcomes from Hungarian Language and Literature by the end of the 4th grade. Therefore, the program aims to achieve 136/4 = 35 learning outcomes for children in the first grade. Children collect their learning outcomes into a portfolio, allowing the teacher and the family to keep track of the child’s education. At BPS, learning outcomes are achieved by children in groups of varying composition. For example, 8-year-old Lujzi and 9-year-old Bori may learn Math together because they have the same level of knowledge, but they are already in a separate group in English because Lujzi spent 2 years living in Bristol with her parents, so she already speaks English much better than Bori. Therefore, the question of ‘Which grade (class) are you in?’ is not as relevant to us as ‘What are you learning?’.
You say that children are focused on learning outcomes. Do they not receive grades?
At BPS, feedback is more complex than the traditional grading system from 1 to 5. Children achieve the learning outcomes envisaged by NAT through projects and modules, which are collected into their portfolios and then converted into subject grades according to a specific framework. Why do we follow this system? Because the grades only reflect the level of knowledge acquired from subjects. However, what we consider important at BPS is more than that. Our unique feedback system can continuously track: 1) where the children stand now and what they know now; 2) what they wish to achieve, i.e., what their goal is; 3) what it takes for them to reach their goal. It helps children to be able to learn more effectively and purposefully, develops self-reflection, and teaches that making mistakes are okay, as we all learn from our mistakes.
Does my child receive a certificate?
Budapest School Primary and High School has been operating as a state-recognized school since September 2020, so yes, we have the right to issue a certificate for our students.
What is the school’s educational philosophy and its relationship to children?
You can read about BPS’s principles here. We encourage children to learn on their own initiative and on their own, but also to know when to ask for help. Our job is to increase and maintain their curiosity, make them fall in love with challenges, and develop their social sensitivity and emotional intelligence. We do not want them to memorize everything we are talking about. We want them to understand the connections and be able to apply what they have learned – even outside the school walls. This prepares them to respond appropriately to complex challenges at all times.
We see school as a safe environment where children can develop at their individual pace, according to their needs; where the teacher, the children, and the parents work together to shape individual learning goals; where we can make mistakes, as we can learn best from mistakes; where everyone receives the necessary time and space to practice enough for development.
How does education fit into any high school admission requirements?
If a child wants to enroll in high school, it will appear among their individual learning goals. They will learn and practice until they achieve it. They will learn things that others may not. But they will be motivated to do so. This will be one of their many projects already accomplished by then.
How much emphasis do you put on learning foreign languages?
It is possible to learn English for all ages, even for kindergarteners. Language learning is part of our everyday life at school: our goal is to develop children to a level where they can use English sources on their own during individual learning. In the 9-12th grades, a second foreign language of interest may appear among the modules.
Can my child take a final exam at BPS?
At BPS, children may take a final exam in the subjects included in the local curriculum. They may prepare for advanced level exams by taking faculty classes. BPS undertakes the preparation for advanced level graduation in the following subjects: Hungarian Language and Literature, History, Mathematics, Digital Culture, Physics, Biology, Geography, English, Spanish, German, and Physical Education.