Editorial Team

Gimnasio Campestre La Fontana, nestled in the picturesque Eastern Plains of Colombia, stands as a beacon of academic excellence and holistic growth. This institution finds its home just a brief 5-minute drive from Villavicencio, the capital city. Embracing the region’s natural wonders, replete with flourishing flora and diverse fauna, the school’s serene surroundings provide an ideal backdrop for learning. Ann Thomson, the esteemed Director of Gimnasio Campestre La Fontana, vividly describes its origins: “Our school’s journey traces back to its humble beginnings in 1985 when Esperanza Hernandez established a small Preschool in the heart of the town.”

The school’s nascent identity as “El Principito,” paying homage to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s timeless work “The Little Prince,” marked its initial stages. Over time, the institution’s horizons broadened to encompass an elementary school. In a transformative leap forward in 2015, the school embraced the prospect of a middle school, christening itself Gimnasio Campestre La Fontana. This new moniker drew inspiration from the plethora of mountain springs surrounding its new abode. Ann Thomson and her husband, Jairo Gallo, took the helm in 2009, ushering in an era of visionary leadership. Their stewardship culminated in 2014 when the school migrated to a more expansive and eco-conscious campus. This modern and sustainable environment sets the stage for fostering 21st-century education practices.

Under Ann Thomson’s adept guidance, Gimnasio Campestre La Fontana has implemented an immersive bilingual education program. A testament to their commitment to excellence, the school is poised to introduce French as a third language, enriching the linguistic tapestry. With an unwavering belief in the value of a well-rounded education, the school has meticulously crafted a comprehensive curriculum. Beyond the pursuit of academic brilliance, the curriculum shines a spotlight on sports and arts across all tiers of education. This approach empowers students to explore their passions and hone their talents.

2020 witnessed a monumental milestone as the school secured its place in the International Baccalaureate family, offering the esteemed Diploma Program. This strategic move equips students with the tools to thrive in a globally interconnected world. Elevating its commitment to excellence, the school has earned certification from the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM), a true testament to its unwavering dedication.

Gimnasio Campestre La Fontana stands as a testament to dedication, evolution, and the pursuit of educational distinction in the heart of the Eastern Plains. Under the astute leadership of Ann Thomson, the school’s legacy of nurturing well-rounded individuals is destined to endure, igniting the paths of students, parents, and educators alike.

Where Vision Meets Purpose

Gimnasio Campestre La Fontana has carved its identity as a bastion of educational excellence, fortified by its purpose-driven infrastructure. With the wisdom of Ann Thomson, the campus emerges as a testament to mindful design. The expansive grounds house various sports facilities and open spaces, fostering an environment conducive to molding 21st-century skills. As Ann Thomson eloquently articulates, “Our commitment to creating a holistic educational environment extends beyond the classroom walls. The architecture itself is a teacher, embodying values of sustainability and comfort.”

The school’s unwavering commitment to environmental stewardship is palpable in its eco-friendly buildings. These structures offer respite even amid tropical conditions, negating the need for artificial cooling. Thomson further adds, “Our architecture speaks of our devotion to sustainability. The comfort and well-being of our students are paramount.” Within the administrative quarters, a striking green wall symbolizes the institution’s broader sustainability efforts. This, as Thomson puts it, “serves as a living reminder of our responsibility to the planet we inhabit.”

Beyond architecture, Gimnasio Campestre La Fontana demonstrates its dedication through substantial water and energy conservation investments. Thomson emphasizes, “Our water treatment plants, hailing from Slovakia, exemplify our commitment to responsible resource management. We believe in leading by example.” Solar panels grace the campus, harnessing the sun’s energy to power daily operations. Thomson’s words resonate: “Embracing solar power aligns with our educational philosophy of sustainability. It’s a tangible lesson in harnessing renewable energy.”

For Ann Thomson, the campus isn’t just a physical space; it’s a canvas where values are etched into reality. She remarks, “Our infrastructure embodies our principles. We teach not just through words but through every brick and beam.” Gimnasio Campestre La Fontana embodies purpose-driven architecture, where Ann Thomson’s vision seamlessly converges with the institution’s commitment to holistic education.

A Holistic Approach to Education

At Gimnasio Campestre La Fontana, the mission is unequivocal: to provide students with a well-rounded education that seamlessly weaves academic prowess with the development of robust moral values founded on biblical principles. Ann Thomson states, “Our goal is to shape students who excel academically and ethically, embodying compassion and global responsibility.”

The school’s philosophy comes to life in its nurturing environment, a space that holistically nurtures the growth of students. Ann Thomson elaborates, “Our approach recognizes that education is multifaceted, encompassing every facet of a person’s being. We foster an environment where every dimension is valued.” The mission goes beyond classroom walls; it’s a preparation for an interconnected and interdependent world. Ann Thomson notes, “We equip our students to flourish in an increasingly globalized world, imparting deep-seated values rooted in biblical principles.”

Central to the school’s ethos is the belief that learning should be an engaging journey. Active student participation is a cornerstone, encouraging reflection, analysis, critical thinking, and creativity. Thomson explains, “We empower our students to think independently, make informed decisions, and solve real-world problems. Our emphasis on interactive methods is fundamental.”

The curriculum, anchored in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) principles and aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is a testament to the school’s dedication. Ann Thomson emphasizes, “Our curriculum marries academic excellence with a global perspective, nurturing a sense of responsibility towards others and the environment.”

Academic and personal development intertwine seamlessly in the school’s educational approach. Ann Thomson outlines, “Our four pillars of education—learning to learn, learning to be, learning to do, and learning to live together—shape a well-rounded experience. We cater to individual needs, fostering flexibility and emotional well-being.” In this nurturing realm, resilience, and diligence are celebrated virtues. Ann Thomson encourages, “We instill a sense of purpose and self-belief. Our students embrace challenges with determination, fortified by their own capabilities.”

Building Community and Lifelong Skill

Gimnasio Campestre La Fontana stands as a beacon of innovation in education, fostering academic excellence and the development of essential life skills through its distinctive “House System.” Ann Thomson explains, “Our House System serves as a cornerstone of community building, instilling vital qualities that go beyond the classroom.”

Students partake in collaborative activities in this unique framework, cultivating teamwork and camaraderie throughout the academic year. The House System also underpins the school’s social service initiatives. Ann Thomson elaborates, “Each house adopts a specific cause, championing diversity awareness and social change. Students organize events to support these causes, fostering empathy and a sense of social responsibility.”

Empathy, resilience, effective communication, and social consciousness are nurtured through this approach, ensuring students are equipped for success in their personal and professional lives. The SEEDS research group, officially recognized by the Colombian Ministry of Science, is a testament to the institution’s commitment to innovation. This group contributes valuable research, propelling knowledge across diverse domains.

Nurturing Future Leaders through Collaborative Learning

From the earliest years, Gimnasio Campestre La Fontana champions collaborative learning as a catalyst for creativity and innovation, particularly evident in STEM projects. Ann Thomson emphasizes, “Our students engage in collaborative projects, nurturing teamwork and igniting innovative thinking from an early age.”

As students progress through their educational journey, they delve into research projects that foster investigative thinking, honing their ability to inquire deeply. The institution’s commitment to personalized attention shines through its small learning groups, ensuring every student receives the support they need. Evaluations are carried out through a standards-based system, fostering the understanding that learning is a unique voyage and highlighting areas for growth.

Aided by a dedicated staff, including the Learning Support Group, Gimnasio Campestre La Fontana holds steadfast to its core values, with each month centering on a different value. Collaborating with school counselors, targeted campaigns bolster students’ social skills, teaching assertiveness and respect for individual rights. Ann Thomson pinpoints, “Our institution is committed to crafting compassionate, responsible, and accomplished individuals equipped for global success.”

Fostering Inclusivity and Individual Growth

A cornerstone of Gimnasio Campestre La Fontana’s philosophy is a culture founded on love and respect for all, transcending differences. In this nurturing environment, the unique needs of each student take center stage. Ann Thomson emphasizes, “Everyone is celebrated here, and it’s our duty to cater to their specific educational needs.”

The commitment to academic support is unwavering. Dedicated academic support groups provide tailored assistance to students facing challenges. For social and emotional needs, counselors stand ready to offer guidance. The partnership with a speech therapist further ensures a comprehensive approach, preventing issues and bolstering parent support.

Gimnasio Campestre La Fontana’s approach acknowledges that learning is both an individual and collective journey. Emotional well-being is paramount, with counseling and pastoral services available. Ann Thomson underscores, “We’re invested in their academic and emotional growth.”

Nurturing a Love for Learning from the Start

In the early years, the foundation of learning is rooted in play and hands-on experiences at Gimnasio Campestre La Fontana. Ann Thomson highlights, “Our preschool revolves around discovery, creativity, and empathy. Children learn to embrace differences and collaborate through projects and outdoor exploration.”

Primary education carries this spirit forward, recognizing the need for movement, sharing, and enjoyment. STEAM education finds its place, providing innovative learning spaces. Ann Thomson explains, “Our flexible environment empowers children to discover their strengths while emphasizing social and emotional well-being.”

Gimnasio Campestre La Fontana’s secondary program empowers students to explore their potential. While compulsory subjects lay the foundation, ample room is given for sports and arts. Ann Thomson emphasizes, “We believe in a balanced education that nurtures personal and academic growth.”

Project-based learning takes center stage, igniting exploration across disciplines. With a strong emphasis on STEAM subjects and speech and debate, students explore diverse avenues, honing their passions for the diploma program ahead. Ann Thomson enthuses, “It’s a transformative journey of self-discovery.”

Alumni Success and Recognition

The ripple effect of Gimnasio Campestre La Fontana’s exceptional education is evident in its alumni’s remarkable achievements. Many return to express gratitude for the preparation they received, both academically and socially. Ann Thomson proudly shares, “Our graduates have become leaders in fields ranging from medicine to business, a testament to our holistic approach.”

The school’s impact is acknowledged beyond its walls. Awards from municipal and departmental entities affirm its excellence. Ann Thomson adds, “Recognition from the Ministry of Science validates our commitment. Our SEEDs GCF research group is officially acknowledged.” Gimnasio Campestre La Fontana’s accolades underscore its outstanding educational environment. From research projects to dance championships, students thrive in diverse arenas. Ann Thomson rejoices, “These achievements reflect our commitment to excellence.”

A promising future lies ahead. Ann Thomson shares, “Our focus on individual growth, exploration, and a well-rounded education ensures our students will continue to leave a positive mark on the world.”Gimnasio Campestre La Fontana’s commitment to inclusive education, holistic growth, and fostering leaders stands strong, with each student’s journey serving as a testament to its success.

Fostering a Collaborative Partnership for Student Success

Gimnasio Campestre La Fontana recognizes the pivotal role parents play in their children’s education. A strong collaboration between parents and teachers is paramount for students’ overall well-being and achievement. Ann Thomson, Director of the institution, articulates, “Our school is a family, and parents are integral members of this community.”

The bridge between parents and educators is fortified through informative workshops held throughout the year. Experts in child and teen education lead these sessions, equipping parents with insights and strategies to enhance their roles in their children’s educational journeys. Thomson notes, “These workshops empower parents to be active partners in their child’s growth.”

Engagement doesn’t stop at workshops. Parents are invited to partake in school activities, becoming an active presence in their child’s life at school. Whether attending teacher meetings or cheering at student performances, parents are encouraged to immerse themselves in their child’s experiences. Utilizing technology, online platforms provide glimpses into school life, enabling parents to celebrate their children’s achievements and progress.

An anticipated highlight on Gimnasio Campestre La Fontana’s calendar, Family Day stands as a testament to the bond between the school and parents. The campus transforms into a hub of exhilarating sports activities, creating a vibrant atmosphere. Ann Thomson shares, “Family Day celebrates the spirit of togetherness, with parents actively participating in the day’s festivities.”

The day kicks off with a remarkable car parade, where parents proudly display their commitment to their children’s education. The school market adds another layer of engagement, allowing parents to support their children’s STEAM projects. Ann Thomson emphasizes, “Parents’ involvement not only fosters financial awareness but also instills values of hard work and responsibility.”

Gimnasio Campestre La Fontana redefines parent-student meetings by adopting a student-led approach. During these discussions, students take the lead in describing their strengths and addressing challenges they’ve encountered. Ann Thomson explains, “Empowering students to voice their experiences fosters a sense of responsibility and self-awareness.”

Enhancing the Research Center for Student Exploration

Gimnasio Campestre La Fontana’s vision extends to its Research Center, a platform for collaborative exploration involving students and teachers. This initiative empowers students with critical thinking skills, encouraging meaningful contributions to their fields of interest. Ann Thomson envisions, “Our students are positioned as active contributors to knowledge.”

Embracing the future, the school integrates artificial intelligence into the curriculum. Thomson remarks, “We’re preparing our students for a rapidly evolving world, equipping them with the agility to adapt and thrive.”

Gimnasio Campestre La Fontana is committed to fostering an inclusive and nurturing environment. Recognizing parents as essential partners, the school ensures that collaborative efforts enrich students’ education. Ann Thomson concludes, “Our collective commitment supports our students’ holistic development and prepares them for success in an ever-changing world.” The collaboration between parents and the school lies at the core of Gimnasio Campestre La Fontana’s commitment to nurturing and empowering students.

For More Info: https://www.lafontana.edu.co/

About Ann Thomson, Director of Gimnasio Campestre La Fontana

Ann Thomson, an Australian woman nurtured in the vibrant culture of Colombia, boasts an impressive academic journey. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Modern Languages, a postgraduate degree in Computer Science for Education, and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership. Ann is also a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and a seasoned educator, channeling her entire life’s dedication into the realm of teaching.

Her extensive career in education spans a diverse spectrum, from nurturing preschoolers to mentoring university students. She has also held pivotal leadership roles across various schools in Colombia. She has become a beacon of inspiration for her colleagues, encouraging them to embrace continuous professional growth and demonstrate real passion for teaching. Her dedication to continuous professional growth and her genuine commitment for making the world a better place for living in community, have left an indelible mark on the educational community and future generations.  Over the past 14 years, Ann, alongside her husband Jairo Gallo, has orchestrated a remarkable transformation at Gimnasio Campestre la Fontana, weaving into the fabric of the school, their moral principles based on biblical values, their commitment to fostering academic excellence and a deliberate cultivation of artistic and athletic exploration. 


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