As the time flies along until opening day next year, our team has been flying through meetings and researching key elements of our approach to learning. This has meant visits to other schools who are doing great things, but also taking a transdisciplinary approach to finding the best ways of working and learning. With this in mind, Fred and Kelly visited NUMA: National Urban Maori Authority to investigate the roots of Restorative Practices and contemporary approaches to Restorative Practices in schools. The Ministry of Education's restorative practice initiative, Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) describes restorative practice as is "a social science that integrates developments from a variety of disciplines and fields — including education, psychology, social work, criminology, sociology, organisational development and leadership — in order to build healthy communities, increase social capital, decrease crime and antisocial behaviour, repair harm and restore relationships."
Having this approach to social and emotional learning at OJC means that we will endeavour to learn and develop a culture in which this philosophy and the strategies that support it are met to the highest standards. To this end, working with experts such as NUMA, and others, will help to support our learning and deeper understanding of how to embed restorative practices in the culture of our school.
Fred and Kelly also took a trip to Hamilton to talk about Restorative Practice and Justice in Schools and looked at the Pilgrim model at Bankwood Primary school. This school has taken a beautifully responsive and caring approach to social and emotional learning and the knowledge that Fred and Kelly have brought back this week are invaluable to setting the course for OJC culture right from the get go.
Viv, Kat, Kelly and Fred also attended a day of professional learning hosted by The Learning Network on Monday. Over the course of the year, a variety of neuroscience research and developmental psychology considerations have been explored which have led us to spend time researching how incorporating Mindfulness as a learning approach can benefit our young people and improve their ability to learn.
Guest speaker Graham Wattts shared with us different approaches to Mindful schools, stress management for young people, positive psychology, neuroscience, mindful practices and strategies for learning, and excellent approaches to the science of happiness. Shawn Achor brilliantly sums up some of his research in this field in the following Tedx Talk.
The learning from our community and consultation process also highlighted our parents, board and community's awareness of ensuring that we nurture and foster learning around personal and collective wellbeing, kindness, empathy, and how to support kids to feel safe and happy. To see more of what our community feels is important, check out the padlets on our website.
Viv, Kat and Cilla also took some time to visit Summerland Primary School to talk specifically about approaches to supporting rigorous reading and literacy acquisition and adapting this for OJC learners. We also enjoyed a second visit to Amanda Signal's class and her amazing approaches and success in developing self-managing learners using Reggio Emilia provocation and empowering student management. Amanda's year 5/6 class develops their own timetable each day and week which always includes working on their personalised literacy and numeracy skill goals, advancing their class learning projects, and completing massive personal learning projects. At the moment, the class has been learning advanced financial literacy skills using the Banqer program. The learners' understanding of money, interest, investment, tax, property, capital gains, income and debt management is truly astounding, and it was equally impressive to see them direct their own personal learning at such depth.
Our eBoT came for a visit early in the week to help us refine and develop our vision for our leaners. We are particularly lucky in that our establishment board is made up of people who are experienced and knowledgable in their respective fields as well as education, and the richness that comes from talking and working alongside them certainly adds to the quality of what OJC is striving to achieve. Our board really highlighted the importance of learner wellbeing and having a well rounded approach to learning at a Junior College. It was great to dig deeper into how this impacts on learning and life long outcomes, and it was an enjoyable catch-up and work session all around.
Enrolment interviews with Luke have continued on most days keeping him very busy! Luke's approach to meeting with learners and whanau individually will also help us all to ensure that the OJC Learning Journey is personalised right from the first conversation.
Kat visited with OrmPS to gather specific info about some of our future learners - this process will be repeated regularly with our learners from other schools as well as in an ongoing way to help co-design learning experiences, supports, needs, wishes, etc. It was so great to see the kids so engaged in thinking about the specifics of what learning might look like for them at OJC. While we didn't quite finish the survey this time around, the learners are able to continue to add to their surveys anytime they want at any stage this year. This information will help us to ensure we know our learners backwards and forwards. It will be used to support crafting programs and also to help pair up learners with their Learning Coach for the best possible fit to support their learning during their 4 years at OJC.
OUR ENVIRONMENT - THE THIRD TEACHER
The team also traveled to both Albany Junior and Senior Colleges in order to check out their approaches to learning. Of particular interest was Albany Senior's work around Impact Projects and their collective approach to staff professional learning. Albany Senior College's staff are committed to staying informed and aware of the latest educational research and their detailed use of shared reading and strategies is really stunning and an aspirational approach for us and our staff. Albany was also one of the early Innovative Learning Environments in Auckland, and it is amazing to see how they have approached their curriculum of impact projects and Senior College level learning.
Our next Community Info Night will be held on November the 16th at Ormiston Senior College. We will be sharing with you all the need to knows about starting school at OJC in 2017 and will look forward to seeing our future school community all together for the first time