High Expectations for All
Teachers themselves inquire into the factors that lead to improved learning outcomes for children. These factors include a differentiated curriculum to enable personalised learning (that is to say, “one size does not fit all”), an orderly environment as a precondition for both effective learning and collaborative decision-making, and the need for all of us to have high expectations for all learners. More curriculum and pedagogical documents will be published next year as we undertake our four yearly review, and as part of the staff professional learning and action research projects.
Children are at the centre of curriculum development at Brunswick East PS, therefore our learning and teaching programs are planned to meet the needs of each and every child. We value that children come to school already equipped with the desire and ability to learn. They come with an ability to think deeply, with different learning styles and a multitude of experiences and social interactions. They have been exploring and investigating their worlds to construct their own theories about how things work long before they come to school. So that their curiosity and learning continues we set high expectations for all learners across all areas of the curriculum.
How children learn at BEPS
Teacher – initiated experiences: By taking account of curriculum guidelines, children’s interests, learning styles, knowledge and understandings, teachers plan for possibilities and prepare an irresistible, ever-changing environment, full of open-ended challenges and situations that invite children to inspect and explore the world around them. Teachers then closely observe children through questioning, listening, discussion and analysis of work. They look at ways that students interpret and respond to their environment, which is then modified accordingly, to elicit deeper thinking and learning in all areas of the Victorian Curriculum. This process of learning is achieved through focused, teacher-guided projects.
Student – initiated research: Children are encouraged to bring their own objects, projects, questions and areas of interest into their classroom for further research and investigation. These investigations may or may not develop into cross-disciplinary projects but in such an interactive and respectful environment, children are highly motivated to learn.
‘Learning and teaching should not stand on opposite banks and just watch the river flow by; instead, they should embark together on a journey down the water. Through an active, reciprocal exchange, teaching can strengthen learning how to learn.’ (Loris Malaguzzi, one of the Reggio Emilia founders.)
Creativity, Inquiry, Play
If children are at the centre of our curriculum planning and we acknowledge that they are unique individuals with a powerful capacity for learning, it makes sense that learning at BEPS is child centred with an emphasis on deep inquiry, philosophy and creativity. Inquiry through exploration, investigation and play in meaningful experiences is the most effective way to engage children in the acquisition of new knowledge. Through structured and unstructured, teacher or student-led experiences, children construct their understandings alone or with others.
At Brunswick East PS children are respected for what they CAN do and participate in meaningful, real-life experiences with a strong sense of purpose. They are given opportunities to initiate and plan experiences and projects, assess options; and make their own decisions and choices. Children use an array of media through which they explore and express their thinking, generate new ideas and forms of expression. They take responsibility for their own behaviour and learning. They consider situations and make choices about how to respond, accept and deal with the consequences of their choices. They also take responsibility for communicating their own thoughts and feelings and constructively challenge inconsiderate/unacceptable behaviours from their peers.
In order to document our philosophy of education, we have created a series of Essential Agreements for teaching and learning: