Does school influence a child’s life?
There is a saying that it takes a village to raise a child; however we also believe that it takes a school to raise a village. The sentences above have definite meaning and have proven to be true in many ways and for a long time.
At the Caboolture Montessori School we follow this mantra as we DO believe that children need all the adults in their lives to be mentors and role models. The most important adults in any child’s life are their parents and the extended family. The next group of adults a child will come into close contact with are the adults in a school. The school is a community and today schools are not just a learning place, but they become an environment that provides our children a home from home. Children spend approximately 10,710 hours at school, between primary and secondary school attendance, in their life, and according to the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, Australia is the country with the highest demand of hours in class.
Hence, the question of whether a school influences a child in some ways is very much superfluous. Added to this factor is the accepted understanding that the early years are the most critical formative years for any child. This does mean that early learning and primary schools have a great responsibility towards our children.
How do we address this at Caboolture Montessori School? I could say that because we adhere to the Montessori philosophy, we inherently care about each child and ensure we provide the best environment to develop their unique potential. However we purposefully and actively live our philosophy. What we do every day is getting to know each individual that enters our classrooms, ensure that a day at school is about being responsible for own learning, selecting work that challenges, with guidance, supporting each other rather than competing for top spot in the class or school. The time we spend in the environment called school, must include outdoor time: time to care for our outdoors, including caring for animals and gardens, time to sit under a tree or on a veranda working out our mathematics equation or indeed managing a problem with a friend.
Learning or as we refer to our learning ‘work’, happens when a child is thinking, problem solving, making high level choices, developing own skills and improving own understanding of the world around them. Achieving academically will happen automatically if children are given the opportunity to interact with the real world, the world they live in. The greater global interaction, will happen through their research. The adults in the environment must be able to guide, to instruct and share their knowledge; fully accepting that own knowledge is limited and that children are very capable of extending own learning through interest: what they see, hear touch and imagine.
To manage a wholistic approach, every staff member becomes responsible for each child in our environment; of course the class teacher and assistant are the main support system, however all staff are expected to mentor in different ways children on campus. How do we manage as a whole-school team? We work cooperatively with decisions that affect learning in the school. We adopt each person’s academic and personal strength to formulate a rich educational environment.
Our School Improvement Plan team is formed by a member of each group of stakeholders: Governance, Parents & Friends, Learning Enhancement, Teaching staff, administration staff and Principal. Meetings address various elements that ultimately enhance learning in the school. The product of the copious meetings is an analysis of what we do well and what we need to do to improve in all areas: from every stakeholders perspective. Growing the village is the CMS mission and must be led by leaders who become the voice of our students. Having a village with a strong focus on the child as he/she is today and how this young person will look like in the future, is our vision.
It definitely takes a village to raise a child and we agree and want to foster the saying that it takes a school to raise a village.
Caboolture Montessori School