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27 May 2016

posted 26 May 2016, 17:03 by Carolyn Brett   [ updated 31 May 2016, 18:01 ]
Some of you have already watched the documentary 'World Class? Inside NZ Education – A Special Report' by Bryan Bruce last Tuesday evening. If you missed it, I would suggest checking it out (on TV 3).

Whilst much of the content won't be exactly 'new' to you, the documentary provided an opportunity to reflect on our country's unique context. I left teaching in NZ before 'Tomorrow's Schools' and came back 7 years later to a very different world! We now had Boards of Trustees...... we now had a much greater opportunity for communities to have a voice and take on a lot of the responsibility of the old 'department'. Speaking of which - you will have received your voting papers in the post - please vote!

We often use the mantra 'If you can't learn to fail, you fail to learn". In the documentary a similar quote resonated.... "Stopping after you are wrong the first time - that is the problem". The importance of children developing empathy and strong social skills was also highlighted. The 'whole child', 'wellbeing', 'creative and critical thinking', 'curiosity', 'resilience', 'play', 'innovation', 'love of learning'. It was all there. Tick, tick, tick. This is what we pride ourselves in. Check out our curriculum:

Worser Bay School Curriculum

This does not, by any means, mean we aren't focussed on academic achievement! Oh no - it's AND. That's the exciting thing about community schools, 'Tomorrow's Schools', you, our parents and people you know, can support us to achieve our vision. 

At Worser Bay School children love learning.
  1. Valuing the whole child
  2. Knowledge building and inquiry
  3. Embracing collaborative learning
At our school, the entire school community can:
  • See achievement celebrated and children valued as individuals
  • Feel motivated and inspired to participate
  • Experience success.
and, like I mentioned last week, Respect/manaakitanga is the only 'rule'.

How exciting it was to witness a group of motivated parents meeting in the staffroom the other day to discuss wider peninsula concerns around sustainability and develop a strategy for action. This is just fabulous role modelling for our children - the expectation that they will contribute to others....... towards a greater good. Where will this 'inquiry' lead us? Learning opportunities left, right and centre.

A past parent at the school introduced me to the work of Professor Yong Zhao (back to the documentary....) some years ago. Thanks to this fortuitous conversation, I managed to get him to NZ as one of the speakers at the NZ Principals Federation Conference. I loved his messages then, I love them now........... If you are interested, please check out his website: http://zhaolearning.com/. This is another great example of a parent having a connection....... which led to a great opportunity! 

I'm jumping all over the place - but, coming back to 'the whole child', wasn't the drumming concert this morning a wonderful example of that!?