Running on EMPTY…

At the beginning of the school year students and educators alike all begin with lots of energy and excitement. Then by the end of term we are all tired, in need of rest and recuperation…running on empty. So how does this change occur and WHY?

To attempt to answer this question fully we really need to reflect on what has taken place during the last 11 weeks –

  • Fostering Independence

All students now independently enter our school autonomously so as to foster the capabilities of each individual child and allow them to relate and communicate with others in the school community. This occurred after much preparation, which included sharing articles with families, having open discussions with both students and their parents. This preparation took place over the first couple of weeks and then with support from both staff and parents, the students took a leap of faith and began entering the school by themselves taking on the responsibility of carrying their own bag and organising themselves in readiness for a full day of learning.

-Another change has been the introduction of student diaries from stage 1 upwards. This is to enable students to take on the responsibilities of remembering all the items they require to organise  their own learning and share information between school and home.

  • Social Skills

РEvery day begins and ends with a reflection on the social skills that we are focusing on for that week and that is connected to our school pillars. Dependent on the social skill and the unique needs of the students the activities could include making posters (paper or digital), viewing stories, having open discussions within small groupings, dramatisations or even unpacking what a particular skill may look like, sound like or even feel like. Students then decide on their own personal goal for that week which is recorded in their diary. Every Friday these goals are reviewed by the students and then cosigned by a teacher to acknowledge the efforts the students have applied during the week.

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  • Opportunities for Learning

-This term has also seen the introduction of ‘Tribes’ where the students gather in small groups to say prayer, reflect on and discuss the weekly social skills. Staff are then able to mark the class rolls while encouraging independence of each individual child who is learning to work cooperatively within a small group with a focus on the pillar of Witness, Managing themselves and Relating to others. The students then changed groupings, often moving to a different learning space in readiness for the literacy or numeracy blocks.

-Since the beginning of the year students and staff have worked hard to get to know each other and build new friendships. There were many new students to St Luke’s Catholic College, as well as those students who moved up to stage 1 at the beginning of the year from ES1.

-Technology; this term students have used iPads, Ozobots (coding), Chrome books to support their learning and share their thinking. Students have taken on the role of ‘teacher’ sharing their skills of expertise in utilising apps on the iPad to enhance learning. ‘Busy’ is a word that comes to mind but doesn’t do actual justice to the valuable learning opportunities that have occurred this term in stage 1.

-In weeks 10 – 11 all the resources had to be reviewed, then packed up and moved to our brand new learning spaces in the newly completed “School of Foundations”.

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The excitement may have become less apparent but the joy of seeing the students grow and become increasingly more independent and capable is a continual element of my teaching day and brings a smile to my face. Energy levels are currently depleted but easily fixed by ensuring that part of the school holidays is spent focused on well being. These holidays are extra special as they include Easter and the gift that God gave to us all, His only Son, Jesus.

I may be running on empty but it was totally worth it…