To be an Inquiring School, developing our students to be effective:
We work on these four elements through our vision of the Whakarongo Kid.
The aim of our school curriculum is to employ the four dimensions of the Whakarongo Kid to provide our students with the competencies (skills, knowledge, attitudes and values) to be successful future focused learners and citizens.
We see our school as a developing 'Learning Community' based on a shared vision; that of an Inquiring School. We want our students to be excited by their learning, with their talents developed and motivated to become lifelong learners, able to take full advantage of the next stage in their learning journey. Helping us develop this, are both our development of flexible learning environments (FLE's) throughout the school, with all students having a homeroom within a pod of three homerooms that work collaboratively to ensure our students' learning is targeted, flexible and responsive to their needs and interests; and our new conceptual curriculum (beginning implementation from 2018), building on meaningful inquiry and problem solving into big ideas through STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and HEArtSS (Health, Environment, The Arts and Social Sciences). We are also currently developing a comprehensive STEM programme to help build engagement and key foundational skills in an integrated approach through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics... this has been an area recognised as critical for developing the key skills needed for the future both around the world and in New Zealand. Supporting this, our Whakarongo Kid dimensions focuses on developing the core skills and competencies to understand how to learn through their lives, as well as help engage our children and help them be the best Whakarongo Kid they can be.
Whakarongo School cherishes student's natural curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and their desire to cooperate with others in work and play. Learning is structured to tap into the children's inquisitiveness, and use their interests as a starting point to lead them to the joys of exploration and discovery. By fostering self-motivation in this way, children become inventive and independent thinkers who are confident in their ability to learn and master challenges. We will strive to provide students with real life experiences that further their knowledge and understanding of basic skills and key concepts.Students will be engaged in trans-disciplinary units of learning, through our conceptual curriculum framework (from 2018), that require an understanding of key concepts in specific learning areas and the interrelationship among the learning areas. This will take place through authentic and relevant units of learning that begin with a concept and big idea, and require students to use inquiring, problem solving and computational thinking to explore, understand and develop solutions through individual, small group and whole group study and direct instruction.
Key Aims for Our Inquiring School...
1. Generate new knowledge and understanding...
In an Inquiring School, knowledge is seen as dynamic, tentative, often arbitrary, and always constructed by the learner. Knowledge is also seen as an "energy" to do things with, rather than a "thing" you just have. That knowledge is tentative implies that the quest for new understanding is continuous and that the generation of new knowledge and understanding is always possible. The arbitrary nature of knowledge requires us to take an accumulation of chaotic information and organise it in a coherent way. The assumption that all learning is constructed amplifies the importance of the prior knowledge that students bring to learning situations, for new understandings are shaped by the learners' preconceptions. The initiatives based upon these assumptions conspire to create an environment where the quest for new knowledge and understanding is commonplace.
2. Development of inquiring attitude in students...
In the centre of inquiry, students, teachers and the community all engage in the continuing dialogue that is the impetus for what is learned, why it is learned, and how it is learned. The inquiring student must know that knowledge is more than just the accumulation of facts. However, content is important, for new knowledge is constructed when the learner interacts with new information. An inquiring student can make the connections between prior knowledge and new content by probing beyond the obvious and making constructive suggestions.
3. Growing capabilities of the staff and school...
As the teachers in an Inquiring School evaluate their teaching and share that knowledge with other teachers, they create a forum for ongoing pedagogical dialogue. It is this ongoing conversation that creates the atmosphere where inquiry is normal and the school supports continuous, collegial inquiry. Inquiring teachers are obligated to keep abreast of current pedagogy, continually assess their own practices and take risks in trying new teaching strategies.
What does this look like?In our Inquiring School you will see...
Learning experiences consisting out of a number of connected concepts and activities designed by teachers using a variety of resources that support learning.
Classrooms filled with a 'learning hum.'
A variety of groupings for learning: small groups, buddies, whole group and individual
Student-centred classrooms with high levels of student self-direction.
Transdisciplinary learning with connections made between learning areas.
Learning focussed on developing knowledge and understanding.