A two day retreat, at Muriwai Beach allowed our staff the opportunity to gather and discuss our thinking in preparedness for Day 1 with our kids. It also meant we could have some time to play in the surf and enjoy the amazing ruggedness of a kiwi west coast beach. The setting was inspiring and so too were some of the conversations.
Our discussions red flagged a few things for me so as I went for a wander through our learning environment I was looking for evidence of them being lived out. I saw plenty, plus more that hadn't been on my radar but are worth sharing. It is worthy to note, not one writtten recount about 'what I did on holiday' was spotted. In saying that, literacy was everywhere but it was infused. Some of the best learning is messy.
Some take-aways from the retreat.
- Relationships - without strong relationships we can't impact as effectively as we would like so focus on getting to know the children, their families and collaborate with each other to draw from our team strengths.
- Personalise - one size fits all is a fast way of switching kids off their learning. Therefore, take the time to set up learning experiences to see what kids gravitate towards. Hands on? Mathematics? Construction? Creative Art? Interpersonal? Introduce them to a world they may not know and see what you can ignite in them.
- Collaborate - kids don't always need that teacher at the front. Some of the best student centred learning has teachers who facilitate the learning journey so know when to stand aside or ask the hard questions. Know when to lead, to challenge or to support. Get to know ALL of the kids really well across the school so they see a bunch of people who may be able to help them.
- Provocations - create freedoms for the kids to explore what they may be interested in or curious about. Create lots of learning experience to foster creativity, collaboration and self reflection.
The giant water slide was a winner with the kids. Great for bringing them all together and building some risk-taking dispositions.