The event provided a wonderful opportunity for parents to gain insight into the innovative and progressive inquiry learning that their children are experiencing at the School.
As they entered the event, parents were greeted by the Principal, Josh Brody, who highlighted the focus on the process of learning rather than the end product. This emphasis is in line with the philosophy of the Primary Years Programme (PYP) which encourages deep engagement with big ideas and complex concepts, allowing for a deeper understanding of these ideas as children mature. Josh reminded parents that the event was not about comparing the achievements of different students, but rather about celebrating each child’s individual successes.
Every Tuesday morning, our Arlington children and community come together for Whole School Singing and during this event, we joined together to sing this special First Nations song ‘Ngarra Burra Ferra’:
We also enjoyed some musical performances by our students:
The theme of our transdisciplinary, whole-campus inquiry unit, “Who We Are”, was explored by the students through a variety of topics related to personal identity and relationships. The students engaged in deep thinking and discussion and developed their own essential agreement as a class group, which they agreed to follow in order to create a safe and supportive learning environment.
The focus on process over product was evident throughout the event, with an emphasis on the hard work and effort that each child had put into their learning. Throughout the event, parents had the opportunity to ask their children questions about their learning journey and gain a deeper understanding of the inquiry process. The students were proud to share their work and achievements with their families, and the event was a wonderful celebration of their learning success.
In the Lighthouse classroom, they are exploring the central idea of their Playworld, inspired by Bill Peet’s book “Eli”, being that family and friends play a significant role in shaping who we are. Through this imaginative play space, the children take on different roles and work together to solve problems that arise within Eli’s friendships.
To prepare for this, the Lighthouse children have been exploring the many different shapes and sizes of families and the things that connect them. They have also been reflecting on their own friendships, identifying positive qualities they look for in a friend, and exploring how to communicate and problem-solve with friends. Furthermore, they have been learning about their own feelings and emotions and how they can impact their relationships.
As a result of this Playworld, the children are developing various Approaches to Learning Skills, such as thinking, research, social, communication, and self-management skills. They are learning to observe similarities and differences, identify strengths and areas for improvement, ask simple questions to guide research, work with others while showing support and encouragement, express personal feelings, listen respectfully, report to smaller and larger groups, attach meaning to text and pictures, show respect when listening to others, prepare themselves for learning, participate in mindfulness activities, and recognise their emotions.
To involve parents in this learning journey, they were invited to ask their children thought-provoking questions, such as what a family is, what connects families, how families are similar or different, what they love about their family, what a friend is, what friends do, what they could do if they had a problem with a friend, and what is the same or different about family and friends.
LOFT ROOM CLASSROOM:
The Loft Room Unit of Inquiry has been exploring how values shape actions, using the analogy of a tree to represent the concept. The roots and trunk of the tree symbolise family and personal values, while the branches and leaves represent classroom values that stem from personal values. Through this exploration, students were able to develop a shared classroom agreement that reflected their beliefs and principles.
The unit also fostered the development of important approaches to learning skills, including reflection and understanding of different perspectives, effective communication through discussion, social problem-solving and empathy, and self-management skills such as perseverance, emotional management, self-motivation, and resilience.
Parents were invited to ask their children about their understanding of values and beliefs, the values that have guided them at school and in the community, the meaning of an essential agreement, how their values influence their actions and decision-making, and what they have learned about themselves and others through this exploration.
The Sunroom classroom aimed to develop a deeper understanding of the values that inform the Essential Agreement and Acknowledgement of Country, incorporating First Nations perspectives. The unit focused on how beliefs and values are acquired, passed down over time, and influence behaviour.
The students developed several essential Approaches to Learning skills, including the ability to compare and contrast ideas, construct open and closed questions, differentiate between facts and opinions, understand and respect differing perspectives, gather information using primary and secondary sources, and effectively communicate ideas through planning, drafting, and publishing.
Parents were encouraged to engage their children in discussions about the unit, including why the Essential Agreement was created, what the students value in Sunroom and why, and to review the “Attitudes/Behaviours I Value” document with their children. Parents were also asked to inquire about their child’s thought process, how they perceive others’ values and attitudes, and what attitudes or behaviours they believe the family values. Finally, parents were invited to ask their children about their engagement with their group’s statement in the Acknowledgement of Country.
Learning is a lifelong process, and the strategies one develops to learn and grow can significantly impact their success. The Berry Street Education Model and the concept of understanding oneself as a learner has been instrumental in helping children develop effective learning strategies. Through personal projects and logbooks, children are tracking their approaches to learning and developing valuable skills in various areas.
One of the critical skills being developed is thinking, where children learn to understand strategies to maximise their learning. Additionally, they are developing social skills like intrapersonal skills, where they describe and apply learning dispositions, and interpersonal skills, where they collaborate with peers for shared outcomes. Research skills are being developed, where children learn to use media ethically and collate information from different sources into a format that makes sense. Communication skills are being honed, where children explore options when organising information. Finally, self-management skills are being developed, where children create realistic estimates to support time management and manage setbacks in an effective way.
Parents are playing an active role in their children’s learning by participating in activities designed to help children develop these skills. At the photo wall, parents are encouraged to ask their children about the tasks they enjoyed and the ones that required teamwork. The emotion stones are another interactive tool that helps children identify their emotions and those of others. Parents can ask their children which stone represents them at their best and which one looks closest to how they are feeling today. Parents can also encourage children to imagine what the stones would say if they could talk.
Parents were able to engage their children in discussions about their personal projects or work. Children shared their chosen area of interest and how the logbook helped them with their project. Parents can ask about their child’s progress and offer guidance or support where necessary.