Landakotsskóli is conveniently located in central Reykjavik. It was established in 1896, making it the oldest and longest running independent educational institution in Iceland offering comprehensive education for students in Kindergarten – 10th grade. In 2005 the running of the school was transferred from the Catholic Church and the school is now run by its parents who form the governing board of the school. Currently, there are 280 students in Landakotsskóli and 55 teaching and support staff, some of whom work part-time.
There are two departments in Landakotsskóli following two different curricula; the Icelandic National Curriculum and the Cambridge International Curriculum. This creates an interesting, dynamic and supportive learning centre where ideas, methods and materials are shared to develop an innovative teaching environment meeting the needs of all students. An emphasis is placed on creative and rigorous language education, with English, French and Danish taught as foreign languages by highly trained specialists. Furthermore, more hours are devoted to mathematics and the Icelandic language than the Icelandic National Curriculum requires and the school’s aim is to develop science education to international standards. Surrounding our ambitious academic curriculum is a rich and varied arts and cultural programme.
In recent years, the school has developed strategies to involve students in decision-making in a meaningful way, to create a more democratic learning environment. Additionally, the school has been developing ways to include the Convention on the Rights of the Child into its curriculum as well as introducing students to and working with the 17 Global Goals set by the United Nations. The school has been officially designated as a Unesco School.
Landakotsskóli is one of few schools is Iceland where students start at the age of five. The usual age for children to start school is six years old. An integral part of the school is our ambitious after-school programme where around 100 children, between the ages of 5 and 10, from both departments enjoy a variety of different classes, as well as free play. The after-school program runs from 2 – 5pm each day. Free play allows children to learn to interact, communicate and develop their creativity and relationships with others. Built into the after-school programme are classes where students can learn to play musical instruments, to play chess, and where they can participate in different workshops with an emphasis on visual arts and other subjects.
The school’s students come from a variety of backgrounds. About a third of the students comes from a family where one or both parents were born in other countries or have been brought up in another country with parents of Icelandic origin. This leads to a diverse and contemporary environment where students can develop and enhance their understanding of each others’ circumstances, culture and background.
The facilities at Landakotsskóli cover 2400 sq meters over different but connected buildings. The oldest was built in 1897 and the newest part of the buildings were completed this year. Parts of the building are protected by law. The school also rents facilities from the neighbouring pool and a well-equipped gymnastic centre.