Founders' Welcome Letter
We warmly welcome you to Ark Academy Taipei!
In 2019, we started looking around for a school for our oldest daughter and soon found there wasn't a super ideal choice that could blend Christ-centered, healthy, joyful learning with Christ-glorifying, world class excellence, and one that felt realistically in touch with where the future is going.
After researching trending school systems and learning models from the US, we rediscovered the deep value of Montessori for early education, and we also were overjoyed to discover Acton Academy, the Montessori-inspired, American K-12 school system with 14+ years and 300+ locations worldwide which seemed to be the most promising, innovative and proven school system, one that had already sent graduates to both prestigious universities and exciting, alternative career and entrepreneurial paths.
Rather than prototype a brand new learning system on our own (and use our children as our guinea pigs), we felt it would be more prudent and even more exciting to build on the proven shoulders of giants. Thus, Ark was born on the shoulders of Montessori and Acton Academy.
With Ark, our focus is always on maximizing the God-given potential of our Learners.
Our vision for our Learners:
1) Christ-centered life, character, and friendships from Day 1
We believe in building up our Learners from Day 1: "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” -Proverbs 22:6
2) Discovering one's own (and others') gifts, passions, calling in Christ
We help Learners see the world from a Christ-centered and mission perspective, and also to see themselves on their own Hero's Journey and path to discovering gifts, passions, and calling at an earlier age. We are cultivating a learning culture where we are all (whether learners, guides, teaching staff, leadership team) continuously growing more God aware, self-aware, and others-aware, and growing to become more independently and interdependently effective with Biblical truths, principles, prayer and the Holy Spirit's leading and empowerment.
3) Fun, healthy, wisely accelerated learning, growth, and maturity in all ways (without the traditional stress, workload, and unhealthy definitions of self worth)
When we remove self imposed, limited mindsets and disrupt traditional learning approaches with technology and innovation culture, suddenly 1.5 to 2x accelerated learning time vis-à-vis traditional schools (and without the homework even) just works naturally, even without any homework or long hours. Leveraging technology and innovation culture to speed up learning core skills creates more freedom, flexibility, and time for Learners to build deeper connections with friends and community, and further explore their gifts, passions and callings.
4) Fully bilingual in both English and Chinese, positioned to continuously learn from and impact the world
We believe an immersive English learning environment, coupled with an ultra efficient Chinese language learning methods (a la Tim Ferris and other language learning hackers) provides the best combination to balance the tradeoffs between being fully bilingual capable and effective, and stress and workload.
5) Learning how the real world works, and being impactful in the real world, from Day 1
We pursue the opposite of most of our experiences going through the traditional educational system where we finish college (or nearly finish college) and only then do we start figuring out how the world works and where we fit within the world. We tackle real world questions and projects, and even go build businesses and get apprenticeships at the most appropriate age -- when we're truly ready (rather than many years later).
For the past three years -- through our own accelerated learning via trial, error, and iteration -- we've been blessed to get to see the early realizations of this vision (yes, Ark actually works!).
When we see Learners forming their own, personal faith in Christ and character, or when we see Learners starting with no English and then becoming fully bilingual, or when we see them making close friendships and helping one another, or when we see them learning at an accelerated rate and having fun doing so without anyone pushing them to do this... we feel deeply joyful, satisfied, and alive. Paradoxically, we also feel hungry and excited at the same time to get right back to working and praying with faith to see even more of that God-given growth in our Learners.
In 2023, our focus will be increasing the quality and strength of the learning excellence (through continuous fine-tuning from our own continuous observation and feedback loops, and radically strengthening the team through both new recruiting and training), in addition to growing the diversity and size of the community (now at 40+ learners).
We warmly and excitedly welcome you to contact us and learn more, and see if Ark Academy Taipei might be a great fit and partner for your Learner and family.
Marianne & David
Co-founders & Heads of School