By Christine MacKay

There are some exciting new initiatives under way for schools and pre-schools involved in Dannevirke’s Community of Learning (Kāhui Ako), including a $102,000 contribution from the Ministry of Education Teacher-Led Innovation Fund.

And it’s all designed to ensure Dannevirke students reach their potential, Stephen Snell, lead principal for the Kāhui Ako said.

“All teachers want to provide the best teaching and learning opportunities so to review our progress we’ve partnered with Team Solutions from Auckland University who will support all our schools surveying our community, students and teachers to get a wider view as possible,” he explained.

“Rongohia te Hau is the tool we are using that will give all schools a picture of their pedagogy (the discipline that deals with the theory and practice of teaching and how these influence student learning).

”No other tool asks ‘how is teaching being done in this school?’ Rongohia te Hau co-constructs the process for understanding classroom practice across a school.

Julie Chatham, head teacher at Dannevirke’s Appleton Kindergarten with children at the early childhood centre.

”The evidence gathered tells schools how they can change their pedagogy if they want to make more of a difference for all students. It offers a snapshot – a slice in time – that provides a representative sample across the school giving a picture of what the pedagogy could look like on any given day.

“We want all our parents and whānau to become involved and complete the survey when their child’s school advises them of the process.”

To get this under way, hui have been held for all teachers, including those from early childhood centres. The process should be completed within the first two or three weeks of term 3.

“Every classroom and early childhood centre in the Kahui Ako will have an observation from trained observers,” Snell said.

“This will all give us an amazing insight into where we are and how kids and parents feel about school.

“When all the data is collated during this current term we will be able to develop a comprehensive learning framework for all schools.”

Kāhui Ako across school teacher Jenna Hutchings is working with early childhood centres and primary schools, ensuring there is a good structure in place to make the transition to primary school seamless.

“The $102,000 from the Teacher-Led Innovative Fund will allow us to inquire further into the transition process. We will work in partnership with experts from Waikato University to ensure our children in Dannevirke will have the best possible experience as they move into primary school.

”We will be developing best practise and this is a fantastic opportunity. Children will start primary school fully engaged and further work will continue to keep them engaged across primary school. We have had great support from Jo Browne, Tararua REAP and Lisa Bond from First Years ECE putting this funding proposal together.

“Kāhui Ako across school teacher, Kate Dare, is leading a team of primary and secondary teachers to provide a transition from primary to high school that allows students to reach their potential.

”Outstanding work has begun already this year and we look forward to assisting students make successful transitions. A lot of this work for the remainder of the year is centred on building positive relationships with students, parents and whanau.”

Julie Chatham, head teacher at Dannevirke’s Appleton Kindergarten, has been in early childhood education for 20 years and said the one thing she always wished for was that early childhood centres and schools could come together to work on an easier transition for children.

“Going from kindergarten to school is a big culture shock and I’ve always wanted to forge a good relationship between the two,” she said.

“But we weren’t going to take school concepts into our centres and wanted schools to understand the value of play-based learning. The CoL has solidified our relationship with Kāhui Ako leaders. Just developing such good relationships with schools is the most important thing for us as it filters down to our children.

”Children here are competent and confident and are our leaders and we previously didn’t see that continue when they went to primary school. But that has changed.

”There are a lot of passionate people involved in education here and now, through the Kāhui Ako, I know all the new entrant teachers in Dannevirke are welcome into their classes.

”It’s great to see our children’s faces light up when I walk into their new-entrant classroom.”

Chatham said the new open-door policy was great: “We want to share ideas and skills because it’s all about the children and their learning.”

Source: Hawkes Bay Today


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