OMNI subscribes to a constructivist approach to teaching as its primary pedagogy. Our approach is guided by fundamentals researched by psychologists Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky, who are both constructivists. The premise of this methodology is one conducive to student-centered, active, collaborative learning based on “guided and, increasingly, independent investigation of questions and problems”. Constructivist learning theory says that all knowledge is constructed from a base of prior knowledge and knowledge cannot be imparted without the child making sense of it according to his or her own level of understanding. Therefore children learn best when they are allowed to grasp or “construct” a personal understanding based on experiencing things and reflecting on those experiences. This approach allows us to engage more with the students and respect their natural curiosities, expound on knowledge and information, and foster a more analytical, evaluative, critical thinking mindset. This approach undergirds a number of philosophies that we’ve adapted for all ages such as the Montessori approach with mixed age groups, the Reggio Emilio approach of allowing the students freedom to explore their environment using their senses of touching, seeing, manipulating, etc, and Waldorf approach of bringing together all elements of development and not bits and pieces but the child as a whole. In some variation a traditional approach of teacher guided exchange will take place to strengthen arguments or provoke the student to think beyond convention.
Piaget and Vygotsky further discovered that group discussions are a great way to embrace multiple perspectives and teachers should create classrooms that encourage such discussions. Students should value their differences and feel comfortable sharing them with others without the fear of ridicule or isolation. OMNI teachers will use various styles in order to reach every student by knowing each student, knowing each student’s best way of learning, and knowing the best way to engage each student. Teachers will be able to reach visual learners, auditory learners and kinesthetic learners by keeping them all engaged and hands on. OMNI feels at many times children are each other’s best teachers. Vygotsky stated this in his idea of the zone of proximal development. Children can help or “scaffold other children by taking them a step higher than where they already are by challenging them to do more”. Children interact with each other at a level adults generally cannot and "children of all abilities should be together as they all have something to learn from one another". Our approach is a two level aging system in the classrooms for students that are developmentally appropriate for such. Many times the older student can provide leadership and coaching in a manner comfortable to all students and as each student matriculates to the next level, he/she will have an opportunity for leadership roles.