The physical design of Margaret Hendry School compliments our approach to personalised learning. Learning spaces are flexible and adaptable in nature and are set up in a way that enables children to respond to their natural tendency to learn. We believe learning can occur anytime, anywhere, and we see our outdoor environment as the second ‘classroom’ providing open-ended play supports that encourage children to play and connect in different ways – discovering, creating, improvising and imagining with their peers. Our learning environment provides access to different tools for different types of learning and can be configured in a variety of ways to facilitate individual, social and collaborative ways of learning.
Our K-6 learning communities are multi-age with preschool, K-2, 3-5 and year 6 groupings in multiage learning neighbourhoods. This approach supports Gonski’s recommendation to prioritise learning growth rather than specific learning outcomes based on age and grade. Multi-age learning communities organically provide opportunities to practice problem-solving, interactive and social skills, and critical and creative thinking with peers of differing ages and abilities. Our children work towards the achievement standards of the Australian Curriculum and outcomes of the Early Years Learning Framework through an inquiry-based approach. Through an inquiry approach, children are supported to:
- plan and research concepts
- gather and interpret data
- pose questions
- reflect on inferences
- draw conclusions, to make evaluations
- communicate findings of investigations and lines of inquiry.
This process is interdisciplinary and children draw on their skills and knowledge from all learning areas. Children naturally make mistakes during this guided process, this is where the big learning occurs and new learning is formed. We refer to the process of learning as being in the ‘Learning Pit’. Children are able to see that it is normal for individuals to achieve mastery in certain areas at different times and in different ways. We develop children to become critical thinkers and confident problem solvers – in essence they are comfortable with being uncomfortable!