Transform an event
On pg 57 Beth Houf describes how she and her leadership team transformed Parent Teacher Conferences at their school. Choose an event or practice at your school that you have transformed or that you would like to transform. Discuss how you went about it or how you will go about this transformation.
Our Senior Leadership Team has been talking about how we can transform the transition to school experience for our five year olds. It is forefront on our minds at the moment because we are so aware of the research carried out by Kathleen Liberty. We have become one of her 'second wave' of schools to adopt her research based calming and coping strategies.
We are aware that we need to do things differently for many of our school beginners, who do not seem ready for school. It is an issue that has been around for many years for some new students, but the numbers seem to have increased in recent years.
So how can we make this transition smoother? Perhaps we stop expecting the children to do the same thing at the same time. After roll and prayers, does everyone need to be in their phonics groups/maths groups/reading groups at the same time? Does everyone need to do their writing at the same time and in the same way? A few short days/weeks ago they were at kindy or pre school making choices and being creative. Surely we can make the transition more like what they have come from as they settle in? At least for a time?
At the Catholic Principal's Conference this year, I was inspired by the presentation of a teacher from a Southland school about her Year 0 - 1 play based learning approach. I was heartened by the fact that she had data to support the fact that these children who still had small group teaching in all of the usual subjects, were as ready for year 2 as they would have been under a more traditional approach.
I have been doing some reading on the subject. Here is one article that supports play based learning.
It lines up really well with our school's ethos around project based learning. You could say it is the first step in project based learning for these little ones.
We want our New Entrants to be as excited about coming to school in week six as they were on day one. We want them to be inquisitive and creative. I have more questions than answers at the moment, but I am working on it. Ideas welcome...