Nga mihi nui ki a koutou

A very warm welcome to our new students Mollie Gleaves, Rohan Lijo, Adam Alasad, Liam Du Toit, Maddy Wheeler, Josh Binny, Ella Younger, Arielle Duytshoff and Kimberly Dobbie.  Winter is upon us and learning is ramping up at St Mary’s with all of our teams focused on some great learning inquiries.  It is a good time of year to check in on your children as learners with the aim of gaining an understanding of where they are presently at in their learning journey.  It is important that you make contact with your child’s teacher should you have any questions or queries related to their learning.  

Reports will be circulated later this term and as the first stakeholder in their learning students will have a significant role in evaluating their learning.  This is a further step toward enhanced student agency (students in control of their own learning pathway) at our school and though it will mean progress is communicated in a slightly different way it is still related to learning progress.  Again if you have any questions regarding progress please let your child’s teacher know.

PTA Quiz Night

On behalf of our school community my thanks to all who supported our annual Quiz Night again run by our tireless PTA and in particular Michelle Pine who headed the Quiz Committee. It was great to see the number of parents participating in the fun and digging deep to support our PTA and our school.  I am sure you will all join me in congratulating our PTA on running another magnificent event.

New Build Progress - Creating Conditions for Powerful Learning

As a community we are sharing in the excitement of seeing our new learning environment nearing completion, anticipated to occur within the next 4 weeks.  It has been great watching the experts bring our design to life within the heart of our school.  However, it is the potential for educational outcomes from within this design that I would invite parents to explore as our objective as a school is to create conditions for powerful learning.

To further explore this concept it may be helpful to compare our time at school (as students).  You may recall as I do an underlying narrative similar to this; a story that many of us bought into in order to achieve the best we could within our respective schools. It may have gone similar to this.

 “If you wanted to learn something, like quadratic equations or French, then you needed to be in the right spot at the right time (your desk), with this teacher (the expert), with these kids (your class) who you had to learn the same things as at the same time.  And … at the end, when the expert had shared their knowledge, then your success would be measured by their test”.

Are you able to make connections with this? Did it work for you?  Did it work for everyone?  Learning today asks the question “How can we create conditions for powerful learning?” Answers include concepts such as the following:

  • Make environments safe and secure
  • Grow personal connections
  • Make learning fun
  • Make learning real and relevant to life
  • It should be future focused
  • It should be positive and include opportunities for social interaction
  • Adapt learning so it is personalised and so that students can demonstrate their passions
  • There needs to opportunities for autonomy and self agency.
  • Don’t constrain it to a time

If these are indeed conditions for powerful learning and these are the conditions we need to create to support our learners, then it makes sense that the way we design learning and the environment  we design to support learning has to evolve. 

At St Mary’s sitting in desks and waiting to be told what to do is no longer the norm.  Where previously students were told to be quiet while they worked independently is now a collaborative space where learning related dialogue is encouraged.  Where there were worksheets to fill time for those who finished their work early, now there areare open ended learning opportunities where children can continue to build their understanding, and there are teachers continuing to feed rather than determine the journey. 

Before School Procedures and Punctuality

Thank you to all who have been making an effort with ensuring children are at school on time.  It definitely makes a difference when a child is set up and ready to learn at the start of the day.  Equally in our colder months it is not ideal to have children waiting in the cold for classrooms to open.  All classrooms will be open and supervised from 8.30am which means children who arrive before this will need to wait in an outside area.   Ideally any time from 8.15 - 8.45 is a good time to get to school.

Ben Fuller