Last Friday Jan, Mark and I attended a Curriculum seminar in Gore facilitated by Professor Lester Flockton on the direction and implementation journey of our school curriculum. This day was a great opportunity to reflect on what we are doing regarding the key four point direction of the New Zealand Curriculum and has given me cause for some continued reflection on the following questions:
1. What are the learning priorities for our students in a balanced curriculum? We want to ensure that we give value to both the foundation areas of Maths and English and the enriching areas of the curriculum; Science, Social Sciences, The Arts, Health & PE and Technology.
2. What are the characteristics of effective teaching that we choose to uphold in our school? As a teaching team our staff spend a great deal of time sharing and reflecting on the individual programmes that happen in each room and what we can do both in and outside of the classroom to further support the learning needs that are identified.
3. How will we interpret the national curriculum in ways suited to our school and its students? As a school we work to develop a localised curriculum that reflects the learning needs of our students and the goals of the local community. This is the benefit of having a self governing school with its own Board of Trustees where we can work to integrate government initiatives such as National Standards with our own school expectations without loosing the strength and engagement of a balanced curriculum that is key in giving the foundations areas real life contexts.
4. What strategies will we use to give every encouragement and opportunity to parents and whanau to engage with their children's school learning? The developments in teaching and learning has meant there is a difference between the reality and perception of what happens each and every day in a modern primary classroom. The physical environment may look the same (as we remember it) but the focus on your child and their next learning goals is more specific. Add in the new tools that eLearning brings, the recognised strength of collaboration and the recognition that identifying the different learning stages for students, rather than by the page of the book they are on, means that school today needs to brings its community onboard to share the journey!
Just some initial thoughts!