Imagine a school where problem solving, initiative, critical thinking, ethical understandings, multiple solutions were an expectation above any score.
Community Project offers our children an opportunity to engage with the Humanities, Science, Health and Wellbeing, and capabilities curriculums as inquirers. The Community Project offers possibilities to make the invisible, visible. It provides us with an opportunity to create an identity for concepts and ideas we cannot see. We construct theories through our interactions with materials and others, and rely on the collective experiences and perspectives that we share. We believe that our children have a right to learn and experience our Footscray context, and to use it as a vehicle to engage with these curriculums.
Our Community Project begins with a ‘First Encounter’, where our children engage in immersive experiences that are connected to concepts like identity, tradition, balance and connection. Our children are then offered opportunities to respond to these experiences with wonderings and curiosities. We invite children to express their thinking in many different ways, and to draw on ‘many languages’ to share their ideas, such as the Language of Collage or the Language of Clay Sculpting.
Our educators gather our children’s ideas, and look for avenues of possible exploration. Together, they pursue rich inquiries, taking time to gather different perspectives and ‘relaunching’ ideas and wonderings to investigate together. Through this exploration, our educators lead the children through different processes, like the Research Process or the Investigation Process. These processes offer us an opportunity to stretch out our thinking and to make the micro-steps of inquiry visible to all.
Our Community Project invites the wider community into our learning, as we look for ways to draw on the knowledge and experiences of our families, and local community members. Together, we preserve our learning journey by creating ‘traces’ or ‘footprints’ of what we’ve discovered.
DISCOVERY PLAY & PROJECTS
We believe that children have a right to foster their passions and interests through play and passion projects. Discovery offers children an opportunity to develop autonomy and ownership through authentic experiences. It offers a unique opportunity to see a child in a new light, as they express themselves through many languages. For us, as educators, It is a privilege to enter this space and to learn about how children communicate about their world. This connection has the potential to transform and create shifts in the relationships that we share.
Through Discovery, we offer new possibilities and create space for children to respond to their wonderings and curiosities. When children explore and investigate their own interests and passions, they interweave their emotions, dispositions and motivations with learning. This engagement through play fosters empowerment and deep, transferable connections with knowledge and understanding.
Our Prep to Two children are invited into play experiences through the careful design and creation of provocations. These provocations are connected to children’s interests, Curriculum Areas and to school and community events. Children are offered a range of materials to engage with, as they are invited to draw upon the ‘Many Languages’ to express their passions and curiosities about the world. Children are guided in their exploration by an educator, who ‘influences’ their play through gentle prompting and provoking. Some of the questions an influencing educator may ask includes, “How do you know that?” “Why do you think that happened”? “What will you do next?”
Our children in Years Three to Six are offered provocations to spark their curiosity about their world. From these experiences, they enter into personal projects that are aligned with Inquiry Processes. Children are supported with their personal inquiries by an educator as they engage in conferencing conversations weekly about their progress. These conversations are designed to inspire, support and empower the learner to pivot and iterate where necessary. A conferencing educator may provoke a child’s thinking by asking “what if…?”, “ how will you solve that problem?”, “Is there someone’s expertise you could draw on to help you with that?”
Our children from Year Two to Year Six are encouraged to launch their discoveries in different ways. They are invited to contribute to the collective learning experience by talking about their process, iterations and any challenges that they encountered. Our children are encouraged to seek feedback from their audiences and to use the feedback to reflect on their processes as learners.
We are proud to share our learning from one of our Community projects, called, 'As the World Turns'. This video captures our children's representations of the concepts, influence and progress. We explored these concepts through the Design and Technology curriculum. Our children were invited to consider how designers and innovators respond to the needs of the community and how these needs may change over time. The exhibition featured in this video is titled ' A Hundred Years From Now'. The exhibition showcased a collection of drawings, prototypes, models and quotes about the changes our children expect to - or hope to see in the next 100 years.