As part of our whole school focus on Social Justice this term, and as an acknowledgment of our deep respect for the Aboriginal people who first walked this land of ours, we invited Father Giovanni to come and bless the plaques we have just installed on each of our classroom doors.
The message on the plaques reminds us of the presence of the Aboriginal people millennia before the making of the Australian colonies and the Australian nation.
More information on current or previous Social Justice Statements is available from the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council (ACSJC) website: www.acsjc.org.au.
Thank you Father Giovanni and students for your presence and participation and may we all continue to be mindful of ways that we can contribute to reconciliation and a bright and positive future for all our Aboriginal brothers and sisters and for children everywhere.
Our Year 5 and 6 students were fortunate enough to be offered the opportunity of ‘sleeping rough’ for the night here at school, as a way of connecting to the plight of so many people living on our streets every single night.
Students were given opportunities to explore the many different causes of homelessness and to reflect upon how this was a social justice issue that continues to require attention.
Mrs Carmel Wilson (who worked as a EA here for a number of years) spoke as a guest speaker about her work assisting those living on the street, driving a mobile van and giving meals and practical support, as did Miss Simone Hilton (our PP teacher) who talked about her work with Mini Vinnies.
Photos and other responses have been captured and will be displayed at the Open Night in Week 9.
A big thank you to all staff for organising the evening and to students for the way you engaged and conducted yourself – well done and thank you.
A huge thank you to Alison and Bec in particular, as well as the special parents who supported them to run both the School Disco and the Wine & Cheese gathering on Friday evening – a really great night for all involved!
An equally special thank you to all of our very special staff, who donated a precious Friday night to support us all.
It is always wonderful to watch children having a lot of fun and experiences like the disco are a terrific opportunity for them to be with friends in a different environment, dancing with gusto, singing at the top of their lungs, laughing and zooming around! Thanks to Mums and Dads for encouraging them to come along and join in, as we know it can be a big ask on a Friday night!
To those parents who wandered over for a chat, a drink and some cheese and crackers, thank you for supporting the P&F – it was really lovely to see you and we are glad that you had an opportunity to catch up with one another. I think you will agree that our new Learning Hub space is fabulous and some of the cost of the renovation was met by the use of P&F funds, so thank you again for your valued support.
This week Stuart and I were fortunate enough to attend a professional learning opportunity with world acclaimed Professor Yong Zhao.
Professor Zhao currently works at the University of Kansas and was previously the Presidential Chair and Director of the Institute for Global and Online Education at the University of Oregon, where he is also a Professor in the Department of Educational Measurement, Policy, and Leadership.
He is a professorial fellow for Health and Education Policy and his work focuses on the implications of globalization and technology on education. He has published over 100 articles and 30 books, including Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon: Why China has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World, Catching Up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization and World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students.
His ideas and big picture thinking about education were incredibly inspiring, as was his passion and commitment to children, their learning and well-being.
Some of the take-home messages were:
Everyone can learn!
We are each born with incredible creative capacity!
Everybody is creative at a genius level at age 4 but then it rapidly declines … how can we protect and foster this creativity throughout schooling and on into our lives?
The foundation of learning is CREATIVITY!
Developing a growth mindset supports learning!
We need to help children to discover and nurture their strengths and talents – the more diverse theses are – the better for our society!
Technology is advancing at such an incredible rate, the challenge is to find our passion and to tap into our own creativity and strengths – to become uniquely great so that we can carve out a niche for ourselves!
A good education creates a very broad and diverse curriculum
Less assessment, more feedback!
Important to give children more autonomy and agency – at home and at school!
Children need to learn to ask good questions, to identify real world problems and to employ creative thinking to solving them!
We need to think more globally!
In a world and an education system driven by league tables, Naplan data, testing regimes and more, Yong Zhao’s messages really resonated with all the leaders in the room. Schools and families are being challenged to continue to support children to discover and develop the special abilities, interests and talents they each possess, so they can create a niche for themselves, in a world where technology is having an ever increasing impact, on the nature of the work we do and on how we live – now and into the future.