From the Head of the Preparatory Schooldeveloper
Professional Learning and Growth
As a PYP School we are absolutely committed to lifelong learning. This concept is based on the premise that inquiry and growth are part of what it means to be human regardless of age. Whilst teachers are committed to learning, it can be easy to fall into the trap of focusing purely on the students’ learning. This is often facilitated by the fact that teachers have limited interaction with other teachers when they are actually teaching…they can retreat to their own space and focus on their teaching.
I am pleased to say that this is definitely not the case at Trinity Prep. Professional learning is a cultural expectation at Trinity that is supported through a range of initiatives.
Over the course of this semester all of the teaching staff have participated in a Professional Learning Team (PLT). PLTs take place each semester and are designed to support and promote professional inquiry and learning. It has been wonderful to hear the enthusiasm of the teachers as they have shared new insights and discoveries, and to hear of the way this has led to ongoing refinement of their teaching practice. Ultimately, if our teachers are learning and growing, our boys will benefit!
This semester, we adopted a slightly different model by asking all of the PLT groups to focus on a common idea, that being the development of International Mindedness. To facilitate this, all teachers engaged in an online International Baccalaureate workshop titled, ‘Living and Learning Globally’. The workshop explored practical strategies for increasing students’ global awareness, developing in them a global mindset, facilitating growth in global competencies and promoting global citizenship. As a PYP School, we believe strongly that these understandings values, skills and dispositions are critical to growth in International Mindedness.
On Monday this week, each of the PLT groups shared their findings from their inquiry over the semester. A few of the key takeaways were:
- Intentionally building in specific engagements with global issues is critical to broaden the experience, knowledge and understanding of our students. This is essential as we support our students thinking outside the ‘Strathfield, Sydney, Independent School bubble’.
- Age-appropriate case studies that highlight issues across the world are extremely valuable in engaging the head, heart and hands of students. These case studies can help students to be aware of and consider different perspectives.
- Our existing focus on service and supporting justice-oriented initiatives through fundraising is powerful in modelling for our students.
We look forward to building on this learning in the coming units of inquiry.
Another recent Staff initiative that has been shared with the students is the ‘Push-Up Challenge’. Many of the Teachers and Support Staff have committed to participating in this year’s challenge which requires participants to work towards completing 3318 push-ups over the month of June. Having completed the first 10 days I can assure you that my shoulders and chest are feeling the effect! The purpose of the challenge is to raise awareness of mental health issues. As a staff this is something that we take very seriously, both personally and for our students. It has been great to share this initiative and some of the age-appropriate messages with our students.
North Coast Sport Tour
Next week we have a number of boys heading off on the North Coast Sports Tour. We are sending joint Football and Rugby Teams made up of boys from both Prep and Junior School. The boys will play three games on the tour against Bishop Druitt Anglican College, The Armidale School and Scone Grammar School. We wish them well as they represent the School and enjoy these co-curricular opportunities.
CIS Cross Country
On Thursday Harris Yang (5Hi) and Aris Ferizis (3Sc) represented IPSHA as they competed at the NSWCIS Cross country Championships. This is an extremely high level of competition and was held at Sydney Motorsport Park in Easter Creek. Both boys performed admirably with Aris (8/9 years) finishing a respectable 88th in a field of over 100, and Harris (10 years) achieving a remarkable 5th place finish. This result means that Harris will now qualify for the NSW PSSA Championships. This caps a highly impressive last few months for Harris as I was recently informed that he had earned merit selection for the NSW PSSA Swimming Team. Well done to both boys!
This week at Chapel a group of Year 6 students took responsibility for helping the rest of the students to learn this week’s Bible verse by converting Matthew 22:37-39 into a rap. To introduce this to the other students the boys dressed up as rappers adorned with offset hats, sunglasses and appropriate clothing. It was hard to look at them the same way afterwards! The other students absolutely loved it and I trust the verse has now lodged itself into the heads of many of the students. My hope is that the verse might influence the way they relate to one another.
“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.”Matthew 22:37-38