Sunday, February 13, 2011

Think Big, Be Brave!

I have been reflecting about what stops us from being brave? As a leadership team one mantra that was at the fore front to aid much of the thinking and planning of Stonefields School was 'Think Big and Be Brave". An example of where this came into play was the process we went through to select and decide on the furnishings for the learning hubs. It would have been quite straight forward and easy to order 5 tables and 28 chairs for each teaching space. Instead we began to read, reflect and think about the furniture that would ensure learners were comfortable, that the furniture was fit for the given learning (fit for purpose), agile, allowed for individual quiet space, collaborative spaces and large spaces to dialogue and ensuring that the environment as the third teacher was maximised.

We were influenced by an incredibly timely trip to Melbourne where we saw 3 Schools that were challenging the industrialist, single cell model of Schooling. These visits indeed added to our bravery, particularly the time we spent at Silverton Primary. Mary Featherston a friend of Julia Atkin helped us to understand the complexity of ensuring space is partitioned appropriately, caters for the various learning scenarios and has sound flow in and between spaces. We left appreciating that less can be more. We have observed many over furnished learning spaces in our travels.

Our investigations resulted in cafe height tables, taller tables, knealers, tables that could be pulled apart for smaller groups, beanbags, stools that wiggle, high stools for the learners who like to survey, ottomans and soft furnishes to add comfort to the learning environment.

Now we have our learners we are enjoying seeing where individuals gravitate for certain learning. The teachers are experimenting with their learners about what furnishings are fit to best serve the learning being undertaken. I am looking forward to gathering more student voice this week.

I am pleased we were brave, although it's early days I can already see it's paying dividends. Learners appear engaged.