Gimnasio Moderno is a Colombian only-boys private school, bilingual (Spanish-English), inspired by liberal and humanist principles.

It was founded in 1914 by the renowned educator Mr. Agustín Nieto Caballero, together with a group of freethinkers of the time, such as Tomás and Jose María Samper Brush, and influenced by the ideas of María Montessori, Ovide Decroly and John Dewey, among others.

Gimnasio Moderno is a pioneer in Latin America in the implementation of ideas from Progressive Education or the Active School.

It is a part of Fundación Gimnasio Moderno, a non-profit organization devoted to education and to the transformation of Colombia.

Our mission is to holistically educate children and young adults as leaders at the service of society, to foster critical thinking, individual liberties, ethical values, team spirit, love for our country, social and environmental consciousness, and a commitment towards world challenges.

By 2027, Gimnasio Moderno will be a referent in Latin America in education, culture, Positive Education (that is, education for the improvement of character and emotional well-being) leadership, innovation, ethical training, social service and care for the environment.

At Gimnasio Moderno we dream of a world:

  • In peace
  • Democratic
  • With ethical values
  • With social equality
  • Environmentally sustainable

1- “To educate and not just to instruct.” We seek excellence through the development of our two main educational pillars: character and thought.

2-  “Whatever the teacher is, the school will be.” The role of teachers is fundamental at Gimnasio Moderno. We believe that the quality of education rests on the teachers’ example, on the atmosphere they build, and in their ability to walk with the students in their growth, based on dialogue, interaction, challenging them warmly and being an inspiration.

3- Discipline of Trust

Gimnasio Moderno educates through affection and trust; with reasons, and not fear of punishment, thus allowing our students a steady development of autonomy and a personal sense of responsibility.

4- Active School

We believe that the child is a valid speaker and the owner of his learning process; he learns by doing and through experience, with the intervention of the teacher and in a warm learning environment.

5- The Spirit of Gimnasio Moderno. Our learning environment of freedom, affection, humanity, team spirit, joy and humor, the beautiful bonds that we establish, and the support network built at the school, leave an imprint in everybody that walks through Gimnasio Moderno, particularly our alumni. Our Spirit allows us to adapt to changes enthusiastically while remaining faithful to our founding principles.

1- Ethical values: A value is a measure that denotes the importance of something. Ethical values guide people’s behavior and actions towards that which is rightful and ideal. At Gimnasio Moderno our values are integrity, honesty, respect, kindness, empathy, non-violence and solidarity.

2- Autonomy: The ability to think for oneself, make sound decisions and be accountable for them.

3- Leadership: A good leader is someone who knows himself, who works permanently on his personal growth, who can relate to others and be a team player and can positively influence his surroundings through his values and strengths. Leadership can be taught and learned, and at Gimnasio Moderno is conceived as an ability that is intertwined with the construction of a better society.

4- Character: The combination of traits that include ethical values, strengths of the self, inner resources, good behavior and healthy habits. These characteristics allow us to face and overcome any situation.

5- Thought: Logical and representative processes that a student must be able to do in a specific stage of his school process. It encompasses the ability to develop different cognitive levels in order to retrieve information, understand, analyze, transfer, assess and create to enhance different dimensions of learning, generate metacognitive processes and self-regulation strategies. We understand thought as logical, critical, empathic and creative.

6- Communication: the ability to express oneself adequately and assertively in different contexts. This encompasses writing, oral, and reading skills of different forms of speech.

7- Innovation and creativity: the ability to create and solve problems in new and alternative ways.

8- Emotional intelligence: skills to raise awareness, express and regulate emotions to know and appreciate oneself relating to others properly, and sharing to cultivate well-being.

9- Social and environmental sensitivity: awareness of the impact that one’s decisions have on others and on the environment, and a permanent drive to improve.

10- Global citizenship: (see definition below).

At the end of each academic year at the Graduation Ceremony, the Board of Teachers of Gimnasio Moderno honors the best students awarding them the following individual and team awards:

  • The Personal Effort Cup is awarded for work ethics, effort, perseverance and resilience.
  • The Good Character Badge is awarded for personal strengths such as integrity, goodness, respect, nobility, consistency and empathy.
  • The Hiking Badge is awarded for outdoors leadership.
  • The Team Spirit Cup is awarded for solidarity and fraternity among classmates.

Our education model is based on the principles of Progressive Education or Active School and its latest developments, in the fundamental role of the teachers, in the Discipline of Trust, in our motto “To educate and not just to instruct”, and in the construction of a unique environment, informed by warm, affectionate, good-humored and close bonds.

We understand high-quality teaching and learning as:

  • A process that promotes empowerment, autonomy, leadership, self-esteem, joy, well-being, ethics, hope, and solidarity.
  • A process that helps students discover who they are, what are their strengths, what is their place in the world and how can they find fulfillment and contribute to building a better country and a better world.
  • A process that promotes human excellence, that is, excellence in character and in thought.
  • A process that aims for the development of the body, emotions, relationships, thought, character and spirit.
  • A democratic process in which students are highly considered, have a voice, participate actively in reaching decisions and have spaces for participation and expression.
  • A process in which mistakes are understood as a source of learning, and in which we build from reflection, dialogue, and accountability for personal actions.
  • A process that includes active teaching strategies such as cooperative learning, project-based learning, problem-based learning, thought processes, permanent interaction, self-assessment, metacognitive processes, rubrics and portfolios, and state-of-the-art technology.
  • A process in which the students are constantly challenged, connect what they learn with their day-to-day life and their context, in which they can explore their passions and talents, work on their interests and inquires, and a process in which they integrate knowledge, learn by doing and through experience, present and socialize their work, and are influenced by the example set by their teachers (learning mediators) and by the values and culture of the school.
  • A process in which they integrate areas of knowledge to foster development within the following areas of learning: Aesthetics, Thought, Language and Society, STEM, Body Growth, and Personal Growth.

To summon up, high-quality education is inclusive, equitable, and promotes development opportunities for all students, allowing learning in the cognitive, ethical, and practical dimensions. This involves the development of research abilities, cooperative learning, communication, development of critical thinking, empathy and problem-solving to question their context and interact as global citizens within other cultures.

Gimnasio Moderno is committed to an education that aims for global citizenship.

Our vision of global citizenship follows the guidelines from CIS (Council of International Schools).

For us at Gimnasio Moderno, a global citizen is someone who:

  • Knows and loves his country (this is developed, among others, through excursions and trips).
  • Acts accordingly to values such as integrity, honesty, respect, kindness, empathy, solidarity and non-violence (this is developed in the homeroom spaces and through the culture of the school).
  • Respects and values diversity in all its forms. By diversity we understand different ways of understanding the world, of thinking, feeling, acting and expressing oneself. For example, cultural diversity, religious diversity and political diversity, among others (this is developed, among others, through the Diverse Abilities Program).
  • Knows and has a critical perspective on global and local affairs (this is developed throughout the curriculum).
  • Is fluent in Spanish and English (and other modern languages).
  • Seeks to transform society through service and social awareness with a vision of equality and justice (this is developed, among others, through the Social Service Program).
  • Has emotional and leadership skills (they are developed, among others, through the Positive Education Program and the Autonomy Projects of the students).
  • Leads a life that promotes personal and collective well-being and a shared care for the environment (this is promoted, among others, through the Natural Sciences Curriculum).

Throughout a student’s school life, Gimnasio Moderno offers different experiences and possibilities of intercultural learning such as hiking trips in Colombia and abroad, language immersion programs abroad, academic, cultural and sports trips, participation in international congresses and on campus visits from international guest speakers in education, science and culture.

Gimnasio Moderno is committed to the well-being of all the members of our community: students, parents, alumni, faculty and staff.  To achieve this, we must:

  • Promote an environment of trust, care, listening and affection, guided by our Discipline of Trust.
  • Promote and sustain a safe and protected environment on campus as well as online.

Gimnasio Moderno follows the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1990), thus committing to the advancement and respect of these rights, such as non-discrimination, health care, respect for dignity and life, playing, and protection against abuse, drug use, work or sexual exploitation, among others.

Therefore, at Gimnasio Moderno we believe that to achieve wellbeing, people need to:

  • Take care of their body and health. Body health is mental health.
  • Develop character strengths and self-esteem.
  • Manage their feelings and cultivate positive emotions.
  • Know how to build meaningful relationships and rely on them.
  • Discover a purpose in life, and have goals and intentions.
  • Develop resilience and perseverance to face challenges.
  • Cultivate inner peace, conscience and creativity through art, music, literature, body language, contact with nature, contemplation, meditation and mindfulness, among others.
  • Our vision of wellbeing is influenced by the principles of Positive Psychology.

Positive Psychology, also known as Well-being Psychology, is a branch of Psychology established in the late 60s by Dr. Martin Seligman, a worldwide renowned scientist. His studies focus on well-being, happiness, fulfillment, human strengths and positive emotions, and their impact on human development. Gimnasio Moderno started applying Positive Psychology principles in 2015 and is now a leader in Positive Education in Colombia and Latin America.

Towards Bicentennial (2018-2022)

Gimnasio Moderno has a Strategic Development Plan that follows these guidelines:

  • Curricular revision
  • Faculty training at the Escuela de Maestros (Teachers’ School)
  • Faculty evaluation and teaching development through a Teacher’s Bylaws
  • Internationalization and accreditation
  • Infrastructure Master Plan

Gimnasio Moderno aims to:

  • Fulfill the value promise of its educational project
  • Thrive for human excellence in character and thought
  • Build a culture of care, safety and well-being
  • Follow all national and international education regulations and standards
  • Respect dignity and equality of every individual, group and culture
  • Promote global citizenship

For further information about our Guiding Principles, you can look at the following institutional documents:

This post is also available in: Spanish

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