“The times they are a-changing…” They always have been, and always will be, but it seems the speed of that change has kicked up a notch or two. Technology has touched absolutely every aspect of our lives, whether we have embraced it or not, and just as soon as we get comfortable with the latest form … it has morphed yet again! Built in obsolescence aside, technology really does seem to be changing that fast.
As business and industry restructure and re-prioritize to keep up with the changing times, so do our schools need to keep up with these changes. What are we doing, here at Lions Bay School, to ensure that our students are ready to contribute and participate fully in this changing world? Well, so many things I donʼt know where to start …
• Multi-age groupings – where ever possible the children work on projects collaboratively in a multi-age group. This fosters, among other things, listening skills, leadership skills, conflict resolution skills - in short it puts the children into much more realistic working situations where they can learn how to interact and problem solve (with teacher coaching)from and with one another. They are empowered.
• Project Rubrics – each project is presented to the students at the center area with a rubric of learning outcomes and expectations attached. At any point the children can check in and see if they are minimally meeting, meeting or exceeding expectations. They can clearly identify what is required to take them to the next level. This paves the way for self-assessment and allows the children to clearly identify the benefits of putting in that extra bit of effort.
• Big Ideas – Inquiry based learning at its best. A concept, for example environmental awareness (last yearʼs big idea) or change over time (this yearʼs), is investigated from many different perspectives. To get the ball rolling there is a communal brainstorming session where the children discuss what they know about a subject (e.g. the Fur Trade), what they would like to know about it, the area that interests them the most, ways they could find the information … . They choose the area they would like to investigate, do their research then present their knowledge in a format of their choice.
The theory of multiple intelligences is gone over and the children are encouraged to explore different ways of showing their knowledge – acting, writing, drawing, storytelling, math… . There are many highly entertaining and enlightening presentations at this school!
• Self-Regulation – One of the foremost names in Education at present is Dr. Stuart Shanker. His work with Autistic students led to an exploration of selfregulation and some astonishing results.
The ability to self-regulate in children is one of the most reliable indicators of future success in adulthood. More so than academic performance, demographics, health … . In order to foster self-regulation in children Dr. Shanker recommends presenting the children with ample opportunity to make choices for themselves.
Classrooms here at Lions Bay School are set up with a variety of different mini learning areas. Children are encouraged to choose where they would like to study that day. They are asked to choose a place where they feel they will get work done and not be distracted. If they seem distracted the teacher will suggest that they check in with themselves – what choice can they make for themselves that will enhance their work environment rather than distract them? The children are taking ownership and responsibility over their learning andit is working really well.
• Reggio Emilia – A foundational principle of the Reggio Emilia School of learning is ʻthe classroom as the third teacher.ʼ Lions Bay classrooms translate into this perfectly. By minimizing the artificial lighting when we can (sunny days …), having neutral/natural coloured carpeting and furniture, providing comfortable homey nooks for study, and taking the classroom outdoors when possible the students are provided a calm, nurturing environment that lends itself completely to being in the optimal frame of mind for learning.
• Grandbuddies – Last year, after a beautifully successful letter-exchange and visit from several of our Lions Bay Veterans around Remembrance Day, we began the Grandbuddies Project. Volunteer Seniors from the village came in to share stories and chat/ read with groups of children. It has proven to be an incredibly enriching experience for everyone involved and we are thrilled to be hosting local Seniors again this year beginning late November.
• Parents as Participants – We are extremely fortunate here at Lions Bay School to have an incredibly supportive and involved parent group.
There is no shortage of parents participating here. From hot lunches, Scholastic books, Library book sorting, costumes/props for the school Christmas musical, to home-reading, Destination Imagination, gardening … the list is very long.
Each of these items is an example, in miniature, of the global shift in education taking place in the world today. The children of Lions Bay will be very wellequipped to help make the world a better place!
Please mark Sunday May 26th on your calendars now. More updates can be obtained here or through the Art Council website: Link to Lions Bay Art Council website