Sometimes we can worry about change. We think about the way things were and how they worked for us. The world our children live in and one day will work in, is very very different from the one we grew up in. The speed of change is exponential, and we need to be changing with our world and preparing our children for a world of change. Change requires an evolution of thinking that can offer new possibilities for continued greatness ahead.
One change we must emphasise is ensuring the focus is more than just on academic achievement, but rather on Whole Child growth and development.
When we state “Whole Child,” we are specifically addressing the development of the social, emotional, physical and academic development of each student.
A Whole Child approach, which ensures that each student is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged, sets the standard for comprehensive, sustainable school improvement and provides for long-term student success.
Whole Child Education Expectations:
• Each child enters school healthy and learns about and practices a healthy lifestyle.
• Each child learns in an environment that is physically and emotionally safe for all.
• Each child owns their learning and contributes to a close personal connection with our school and their community.
• Each child has access to personalised learning and is supported by caring, qualified adults.
• Each child is challenged academically and nurtured individually to prepare them for success in life.
Skills for the 21st Century:
“The rigour that matters most for the 21st century is demonstrated mastery of the core competencies for work, citizenship, and life-long learning. Studying academic content is the means for developing competencies, instead of being the goal, as it has been traditionally. "In today’s world, it’s no longer how much you know that matters; it’s what you can do with what you know.” -- Tony Wagner, The Global Achievement Gap
The success of our children is dependent upon our ability to teach them 21st century skills:
Collaborative Team Member
Globally Aware, Active, and Responsible Student/Citizen
Information Literate Researcher
Innovative and Practical Problem Solver
“As educators, school leaders, and policymakers, we exist in a world where too often assessment equals high-stakes tests. This is a very limited view of assessment. The fundamental purpose of assessment is the improvement of student achievement, teaching practice, and leadership decision-making.” Douglas Reeves, Ahead of the Curve: The Power of Assessment to Transform Teaching and Learning.
We believe all students should participate in Music. This year we have implemented a school-wide music programme that has given every child a taste of how engaging and empowering participation in music can be. Mark McLay our Marvellous Music Maestro describes it as opening their eyes to a world of challenging fun. The value in their participation goes far beyond the act of playing any specific instrument. The value lies in the skills they learn in performance, practice, and participation in a group. Playing an instrument activates both sides of the brain. It teaches the value of effort and achievement. It teaches appreciation for the arts. I want to publicly thank Mark for the magnificent job he has done with this programme, it has added a wonderful new dimension to learning at WHS.
Our Vision is for our children to Love to Learn to Lead. This is a whole child vision.
We want our children to Love themselves, to be strong in themselves, resilient and confident in what they can do and what they can learn.
We want our children to Love each other - to be a part of a caring and contributing family. Bucket-Fillers who make a difference in their world by Paying It Forward. One of the most important ways we show our love for our family is by listening - a skill for the ages.
We want our children to Love our world. It’s the only one we’ve got, there is certainly not another in the Universe that we are aware of or could reach, so we must look after it with love and care.
We want our children to Love to Learn. Learning gives us power over our world, our circumstances and our future. It offers us options and opportunities that we would not have without it. Learning is for life.
We want our children to Lead.
With our WHS values, our children are well set to lead - in their own lives as they set goals, develop action plans, identify what success looks like and reflect on how they went and where they go next.
In the lives of others as they set the standard for others to aspire to. In their world as they live leadership through what they do rather than what they say.
“As educators, our responsibilities are to support our children in pursuit of their learning, to support our children in pursuit of their dreams, and to support our children in pursuit of imagining successes not already conceived.
We must do all we can to meet our responsibility to develop the “Whole Child, Every Child.”
Therefore, we will continually reflect on all that we do to ensure we meet all the needs of these wonderful young people entrusted into our care, and support them to the best of our ability in order that they will Love to Learn to Lead.
Greetings to all the families and friends of Western Heights school.