I am lucky enough to be involved as a foundation teacher at Hobsonville Point Schools - Primary section (schools as the primary and secondary schools will be running under one umbrella) - in one of Auckland's newest community.
The start of any school year is always filled with excitement, anticipation and a little bit of the unknown...starting a new school was just the fresh start I needed in my teaching career.
So - what has been involved thus far....
January 14th, 2013 - first day back! Unlike previous teaching years, gone was the endless summer holiday - back to work after 3 weeks holiday. For me, this is great. I am someone who needs to actively relax - I love being busy...so this was a great relief (especially to the credit card which normally takes a hammering when everyone else has gone back to work). So we headed back three weeks prior to the start of the school year...
|The infamous brownie incident|
What have we been doing?
Seven people make up the Hobsonville Point (Primary) team. With such a small group, it is vital that we all get along, so there has been a lot of 'getting to know each other'. We headed away to Waiwera for 3 days, which involved lots of planning, planning and more planning (aka laughter, wine and good food). We got back to school to tackle setting up for the start of the year!
The junior common (year 0 - 3) got well under-way, putting up beautiful boarders, creating discovery tables and generally creating a visually rich environment. Us in the senior common (year 4-8) took a slightly different approach to our learning common. We really want the older children to take full ownership of their environment, so we have gone for a minimalistic approach with the idea that the people that fill the space will design the surroundings, from the walls to most of the resources (we have got the bare essentials) that fill our space.
Our weeks have also been filled with open days. We had a public open day (held on a Sunday). This was not hugely advertised and we expected a few people to pop in...fast-forward to the Sunday at 10.05am...the place was filling up and it took my brain a little while to click into gear and answer the deluge of questions.
We have also had the families in - with our first IEM's (individual education meeting) taking place. This has been a fantastic experience, getting to know the families and the children that we will be working with. Usually I have had three way conferences towards the end of the first term. The idea of having these meetings prior to school was a little foreign, but I could immediately see the benefit. The IEM process is typically designed to be run by the child, discussing their learning path, however this first one was a chance to get to know them. We had a few questions to ask such as:
- if you could design your own school day, what would it look like?
- what do you do outside of school?
- what areas of learning do you find easy/ what makes learning easy for you?
- what areas of learning do you find a challenge/ what can make learning difficult for you?
- does anything worry you about the start of the school year?
So we know a bit about our learners (tick), we have moved furniture in and out of our learning common (tick)...we then began planning our first couple of days.
So the journey has well begun. It will be great to finally see this amazing space being used for its intended purpose. Monday we start with a stagering 31 students enrolled - we (Kristyn, Lisa and myself) have 13 in our senior (year 4 - 8) learning common. Activities ready, bouncy castle ordered - we are all good to go!