Tonight our schools amazing new entrant teachers and I hosted our new entrant family night. I wished I had snapped a photo - we had around 40 new and existing parents/couples turn up to hear a bit about our school, their child's transition into school and how we cater for each child's uniqueness once they are there. I started the night (once we had got everyone a seat!) with what turned into a very passionate (I thought) introduction about our amazing school and the environment we work hard to provide to each and every child. I talked about team work, I talked about collaboration, I talked about staff supporting each other, I talked about our school working together like a village raising a child, I talked about all our teachers working to meet the learning needs of every child - no matter what their age - at what ever level they are working at.
We then showcased the teaching and learning environment of our school with our video clip (compiled by Mark) for one of our parent workshops in Term 1. It introduced some of the ideas behind our teaching and learning philosophy- from classroom setup to programme delivery to learning tools used.
A question and answer session then followed with the opportunity for anything 'on top' to come out and be discussed around the environment that Jan, Amy and our school will provide for our children. Parents then had the opportunity to visit the two rooms with the teacher concerned and see some examples of work and the environment provided. Awesome - the night had a real positive feel to it.
Then... I couldn't help but reflect on the announcement made today by our Minister of Education about the new staffing levels and the beginning of the introduction of performance based pay - both which seem to work against everything we are trying to do and what I talked about. Who adds the value - is it the amazing new entrant teachers who ignites the learning spark inside our kids in that precious first year of school? Or, is it the next teacher who builds on that wonderful foundation - or the next teacher who strengthens it and broadly enriches it across the curriculum - who adds the most value? Which individual gets the reward?
But the positive vibe of the evening reminded me again of the importance of a strong and connected community between home and school. A community that stands together to support and resource the collaborative environment that makes such an effective teaching team for our children. Now, more than ever, we must walk together to encourage and support our children, so they get the richest learning opportunities possible. For indeed - when the village works together, anything is possible!