“Education is not filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire”
At St John’s we offer a diverse range of Learning Experiences to ensure we illuminate joy and love within Children’s Learning.
The following range is offered to all of our Children:
- Our School Farm – Children spend time preparing our garden, planting, growing, picking produce, cooking the produce and ensuring our animals are well looked after.
- Atelier – The Atelier is a place of research, invention, and empathy, expressed by means of “100 languages.” The atelier, or art studio, plays an especially important role in enhancing and guiding the community through multiple perspectives.
- Sport – Each week children attend Physical Education Classes. We have Sport days each Term (house groupings) and participate in Interschool school sports, swimming, cross country and Athletic days.
- Music – Each week and additional instrumental classes are offered through ABC Music
- Innovation – Where anything is possible. This space focuses on digital technology and thinking out of the box.
- Excursions / Camp experiences
Our world is changing faster than ever before, for our children to not only flourish in this new era but to support others to flourish, we needed to reimagine education. Reimagining education was something our St John’s community took on with our hearts open, minds well read and our hands ready for hard wok.
Imagine a classroom 20 years ago and imagine a world in which it sat. Now imagine the world as it is today – could you really put that same classroom back in today’s world ? We hope not. Our educational journey is a constant process of refinement driven by research and innovation, drawing inspiration from the teaching and learning in schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy and from researchers around the world. We acknowledge that the experiences of schools and educators in Reggio Emilia cannot be copied but we are continually exploring and discussing applications to our Australian context.
In 2016 St John’s came together as a community to create a ‘horizon’. Voices from families, children and educators were heard to create a visual representation of our shared values, beliefs and future dreams. We purposely adopted the word ‘horizon’ to connect to our Catholic Education Melbournes document ‘Horizons of Hope.’
St John’s Horizon clearly states ‘KIDS AT THE HEART’ which encapsulates our focus and belief in the image of the child – the child who is capable, curious, full of wonder, rich in knowledge, able to construct and co-construct his or her own learning. We believe in JOY – Joy in learning.
‘In Reggio Emilia schools … between learning and teaching we honour the first. It is not that we ostracise teaching but we declare: Stand aside for a while and leave room for learning, observe carefully what children can do and then, if you have understood well, perhaps teaching will be different from before.’
Traditionally schools were developed to respond to the workplace, the teacher’s role was to pass on knowledge and students would reproduce it. However, in the world today, yesterday’s answers offer limited solutions. At St John’s we learn through collaborating, making meaning, creativity, research, problem solving and negotiation. We are ensuring we are not only ticking boxes as we believe in uncovering, creating and making the impossible possible. We focus on developing learners’ capacity to thrive in tricky situations – knowing what to do when they don’t know what to do – is valued highly.
We continue to provide Education influenced and supported by the Australian Curriculum. We ensure all areas of the curriculum are designed with a concept based approach and ‘drenched’ in our ‘place’ of being – Footscray, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. At all times our whole group learning is designed by qualified Educators within the school supported by Educators who have higher qualifications within a specific field such as Curriculum, Literacy or Numeracy Masters. Literacy and Numeracy is predominantly taught through small groups known as Target groups and reinforced in larger groups. All target groups are designed and driven by ongoing data weekly. Our approach to Inquiry Learning has two different approaches:
- A whole group Project: ensures a cross curricular focus Ie: Science/History/Civics designed with consideration of our Community events and/or world events. Within this design the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung and the Bunurong peoples and clans of the Kulin Nation are always acknowledged and where appropriate, their stories are woven into each whole group project.
2. Student led Discovery projects /play: ensures explicitly learnt dispositions, skills, strategies, new knowledge and capabilities are applied in play and project based learning. Children create projects that really matter and Educators assist in applying an appropriate way of learning to this project to ensure the focus is on ‘process’ rather than ‘product’. In saying this, each project is expected to be ‘launched’ in a way that impacts oneself or others.
Children apply the explicit skills learnt in literacy and numeracy to their project. This application allows children to transfer ‘information’ into questions and real world issues, putting their STEAM, Humanities, Social-Emotional and much more into a project. This way of learning removes the ‘silo’ effect of learning and replaces it with transformation of explicit learning into real life situations. This focus ensures our children are equipped to solve problems for the future and innovate beyond our wildest dreams.
We pride ourselves in making learning visible. Learning intentions are displayed in ‘learner friendly’ language to help our learners know how am I going?, where am I going? and where to next? By making learning and progress visible we empower both our learners and their parents.
Our spaces are thought about intentionally and purposefully. We believe in creating a welcoming and versatile space. Where noisy learning happens, quiet contemplation, small group areas and indoor / outdoor investigations occur. Curriculum and Learning spaces are connected therefore we need a variety of spaces to cater for the differences in our curriculum. At St John’s we are committed to educating the whole child. We aim to, in partnership with our families, support our students in the development of their mind, body and soul within a Catholic context.
Our children explored Australia’s history through the language of sound. The sounds represent many different times. We hear the sounds of Australia’s Indigenous people in harmony with the land, we hear the hope of migration, we hear the sadness and heart ache of unsettlement and a stolen culture.