‘Learning for Life’ at Kaikōura Suburban School
Kaikōura Suburban School’s vision is ‘Fyffe FORCE Learners commit to climb the mountain of Learning for Life ‘ **. This learning journey enables children to express and challenge themselves by having opportunities to take ownership of their learning and recognize how they each have a point of difference.
Learning for Life (L4L) starts with an overall theme, which is identified from the New Zealand Curriculum ‘Future Focus’ areas: Sustainability, Enterprise, Citizenship and Globalisation. For example, in 2015 our overall theme was Globalisation – our three units of work were based on three New Zealand Curriculum areas of Visual Arts, Science and PE/Health. These three units of work were co-planned by teachers based on student choice, our school curriculum, staff’s knowledge and the Kaikōura community.
Kaikōura Suburban School always includes learning based around our community, our country, our world and us. At the first of every L4L we start with a ‘first idea’, this a a big question that the children need to answer without any prior teaching about the learning that is going to happen. The teachers then co plan and provide the first five weeks of teaching (immersion), identifying curriculum achievement objectives, community experts, our school curriculum and resources that are best suited to the learning.
Once immersion is completed, the children reflect and complete a ‘second idea’ of the same question that was asked before the immersion stage. This is then assessed using Solo Taxonomy which monitors and highlights the students development in knowledge and attitude through their journey of learning. The class will then create a big question from what they are still wondering about and choose learning that will best answer this. The outcome must provide a difference for each child, their understanding and knowledge, a difference in a community, our school, our community, our country and/or our world. The result of this learning is then presented to our whanau and wider community at an evening ‘Learning Celebration’.
With L4L we have noticed a considerable improvement in our students strengths: questioning, presenting, locating information, reflecting and identifying next steps of learning, incorporating ICT to support learning, sharing knowledge with a wider audience, reflecting on learning outcomes, linking learning with key competencies, school values and our vision and identifying how each child/class/our school has made a difference. We are setting the tamariki up to become adaptive 21st century learners. We are wanting to increase students’ ability to learn, independently and with others, and to produce new knowledge. This will establish them for not just what exist in the world we live in now but also for the future.
Integrated into L4L learning is the schools continued strong focus on literacy and numeracy as identified from the New Zealand Curriculum. Our objectives are based on our own identified targets and those of Kaikōura’s Community of Learning (COL).
** The student’s journey commences with their ‘backpacks’ loaded with new knowledge from the five weeks of immersion. We start tramping up Mt Fyffe. We stop and reflect on our way at the (Mt Fyffe) hut checking in with resources, experts and ourselve’s reflecting on our learning and our progress. We make the necessary changes and then head for the summit to present our knowledge to the community.