Woongoolba State School profile
- 44 kms south east of Brisbane in a rural setting
- Draws its population from families in farming, fishing and aquaculture communities
- Has around 200 students from Preparatory to Year 7.
When the school became involved in KidsMatter Primary in Term 1 2011, KidsMatter Primary was one of the components embedded in the four-year strategic plan. Another component was a new whole-school initiative, We are leaders, which is based on ‘The 7 habits of highly effective people’, the well-known text written by Stephen Covey. The Principal, David Cramb, introduced the concept that everyone in the school community can take leadership responsibility and developed the framework of We are leaders. Included in the framework is KidsMatter Primary, as well as other initiatives such as the school values; a pedagogical framework; a strategy for differentiation called, One child, One learner, and a reading program, Readers are Leaders.
Reasons for implementing KidsMatter Primary
The School Guidance Officer and the Principal were keen to address the mental health and wellbeing of all students. They were also concerned about some students and thought it would provide teachers with skills and knowledge. Of particular interest, was the evidence that KidsMatter contributed to improvements in mental health and also academic achievement.
We thought it would add weight to our school’s focus on social and emotional learning, and we liked the connection between training and assisting teachers to try new approaches to support students. It matched our vision of creating a culture of belonging and learning.
David Cramb, Principal
Who is on the Action Team?
Members of the Action Team include: the School Guidance Officer; the Teacher/Librarian; the Prep classroom teacher; and the Principal. Two parents are in the regular email communication loop of KidsMatter in the school.
What has the school done so far?
Woongoolba State School has implemented Components 1 and 2, and parent representatives have been informed about Component 3. The Action Team hopes that initial training for all Components will be completed by the end of Semester 1 2012. The Action Team hopes it will enable deeper connections between the KidsMatter resources and planning for whole-school events such as Harmony Day and Leadership Week. It has been valuable to draw on KidsMatter for the social and emotional learning resources to complement the leadership focus of the school.
As part of the We are leaders initiative, the school invested time and other resources over six months in 2011 to develop a public visual display of images of community members. Every student designed and painted an image of themselves to display along the school’s front fence.
The Fence Friends Project developed over six months and the stages included: planning; purchase of materials; creation of working groups to sand and paint undercoat of images and production of students’ individual designs. The school purchased plywood for the images, and a local business cut the 90 cm x 60 cm templates. One of the most outstanding aspects of the project was the interaction between different groups in the school. Students worked in small groups with teachers to develop images. Teachers’ aides assisted in the preparation of the templates and design of the images on A4 sheets for each actual fence friend. Older students worked with younger students to develop ideas.
The Fence Friends Project provided opportunities for students to participate in a permanent public art exhibition. The images provided an innovative snapshot of the school community in 2011; a long fence line of 200 colourful images highlighting the positive and inclusive school culture.
Woongoolba State School: a community of participants
The focus on leadership and belonging is shared and promoted in classroom talk; meetings with students; playground activities and visual images throughout the school.
We are setting up an environment which is about a community of participants. What’s surprising is that students in Prep use language that demonstrates their understanding of leadership and belonging.
David Cramb, Principal
Across year levels, each student regularly records educational and personal/social goals in a data notebook. The notebooks provide ongoing opportunities for students to communicate with teachers about their personal growth. The seven messages of highly effective people have been translated into the school context, and are written on signposts in the ‘streets’ of the campus. Instead of ‘rules’, the school supports students to develop habits like ‘put first things first’ and ‘begin tasks with the end in mind’.
Woongoolba State School engages with students and parents, and invites participation in positive contexts. The KidsMatter Team wants to embed in the community the processes associated with the school vision: innovate; participate, excel.
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