Curriculum

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Curriculum2018-05-01T16:29:59+00:00
School of Cultural Creativity Curriculum

Curriculum for the primary school

The aim of the School of Creative Education’s primary school is to enable students to maximise their capacity to learn, grow and achieve in light of who they are, through the creative process rather than traditional academic processes.

The school facilitates the Australian national curriculum through developmentally appropriate creative experiences that build upon students’ innate state of well-being and drive for creative and academic learning.

Our students will know, through repeated experience, that creativity is a learning journey and that whenever they are needing to learn something new, they will have the creative capacity to do so.

Learning Outcomes

Our aims are to enable students’:

  • lifelong learning journey through creativity
  • capacity to identify and create solutions to problems
  • ability to co-create their desired society, environment and collective aesthetic
  • development of creative and co-creative capacities and capabilities
  • progress through the curriculum levels, corresponding to the student’s current developmental levels and areas for further learning, and
  • national benchmarks in literacy and numeracy

by facilitating and evaluating developmentally appropriate creative and democratic experiences that build upon students’ innate state of creativity and drive for creative and academic learning,

and to:

  • ensure the school is able to plan for and achieve improvements in these learning outcomes

in the context of our creative and democratic learning community.

Subjects

Compulsory Literacy and Numeracy

Each student is required to participate in compulsory, daily literacy and numeracy classes in multi-age groups designed to stages of development, reflecting all levels from Foundation to Year 6, before their day opens to the project work, and specialist classes.

Specialist classes

Maxwell offers the Australian national curriculum.

Specialist classes in subjects of the arts, music, LOTE (Auslan), sciences, health and physical education, studies of society and environment, technologies and cognitive capabilities are offered to all students throughout the school by home-group educators, specialist educators, and members of the community volunteering with Working with Children Checks. Students participate based upon interest, their projects, and recommendations from their educators, as reflected in their Individual Education Programs.

Specialist lessons are published at the beginning of each term on the term’s timetable.

Creative Education

passion process

The creative process is our most natural teacher. Learning through it about us, the world and our relationship with it is an effective, efficient and valid learning method with a growing body of global research behind it.

Creativity requires the integration of the creative person, the creative process, and the creative product. These three elements generate a creative experience, and this experience informs and builds skills, knowledge, and creative capability.

Creativity is a pathway into projects including academic research and is also rich with collaborative, democratic, and community engagement opportunities. It also enables the growth of creative capabilities and practices that academic methods don’t promote.

Inquiry-based learning

Creative education is an umbrella term for inquiry-based learning that integrates a democratic environment. Inquiry-based learning incorporates many learning methods, each one slightly different to another. They are experiential and personalised by nature.

They include:

  • project-based learning
  • place-based learning
  • problem-solving learning
  • passion-based learning
  • team-based learning
  • studio-based learning
  • community-based learning, and
  • design-based learning.

Self-direction is the experience and responsibility of the creative, and usually their greatest desire. In school, it is experienced personally and communally, as each student is encouraged to participate in the design and development of their culture, facilities, programs and projects.

Project-based learning

Implementing the creative and design processes, students are required to:

  1. prepare project plan
  2. document the development of their project from an inner and outer point of view
  3. create the project
  4. exhibit it or present it formally to the project’s beneficiary (if any) and the school
  5. community, and
  6. reflect upon and evaluate their learning outcomes including skill development, new knowledge, and understanding of self along the way.

Projects

Students will participate in self-directed, personalised, individual and concurrent projects called

  • Zen Enhancement,
  • Knowledge Enhancement and
  • Gift Enhancement,

formed by small groups or classes, and the full school community. Projects can partner with and / or benefit local, national and international communities. Many projects will have a view to a social or ecological solution to a question, inquiry and problem.

A chart of Interests and Passions inspired by students and adults will be established each semester, as part of a whole school Curriculum Collaboration .This data will:

  • guide future planning to ensure the projects that are developed are relevant to the children’s interests and passions and are born of their inspiration
  • guide planning for the Australian curriculum’s specialist units, and daily Literacy and Numeracy focused teaching groups
  • provide an opportunity to make links between student-directed projects and inquiries to this Australian curriculum content and learning, and
  • encourage educators to undertake their own site-based creative practice.

The College of Educators then plan collaboratively for each term using whole school units of inquiry for the basis of integrating the curriculum.

The Kitchen Garden project and the Plastic Free School inquiry are meaningful and relevant units of study that are introduced in the first year of Maxwell primary school as whole school projects. The aim of these projects is to introduce students to structured inquiry and project design in their first year, with the long-term results of these units of study evolving for the new campus 2020… a large property in the Yarra Valley facilitating animal, agricultural and conservation experiences.

Portfolios

Over their time, students develop a digital portfolio of projects which demonstrate students’ creative, academic, and entrepreneurial achievements, called a Student Progress File (SPF). This portfolio also contains evidence of progress through the Australian curriculum. Students upload evidence of their learning twice a term. Students may choose to add to their SPF more often. Students and educators will include work samples that reflect Australian curriculum subjects, as well as Zen Enhancement, Knowledge Enhancement and Gift Enhancement projects. Creative and experiential learning may be recorded as voice recording, video or photos. Documentation regarding inquiry plans and design projects will also be required in the SPF.

Creative education integrates the social, ecological and technological dimensions of education, enhancing capacity and knowledge development through the child’s individual aesthetic. – Janey Mac

SoCC

Democracy in Education

democratic education

Democratic education compliments and enhances creative education.

Democratic education teaches students to employ and further enable their creative practices in a group setting.

Creative practices begin with the self. They include self-direction, self-regulation, self-governance, self-contemplation, self-evaluation, self-awareness. To offer them in a group setting means the group must also be self-directed, self-regulated, self-governed, self-contemplative, self-reflective, self-evaluative and self-aware… equaling a democratic learning environment.

Definition

One of the organisations Jane worked with to create the SoCE model is the Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO) in New York. Jerry Mintz, AERO’s founder, says

“There is no monolithic definition of

democratic education But what we mean here is

‘education in which young people organize their daily activities,

and in which there is equality and democratic decision-making

among young people and adults.”

 (AERO’s Directory of Democratic Education)

Democratic meetings

Creative and democratic schools implement democracy in various ways, depending upon the nature (the experience and culture) of the school that the students, educators, committees and board are continuously building.

Weekly Whole School Meetings held in the Community Room bring students and staff together to raise ideas and problems, and democratically decide for themselves their best courses of action.

In effect, if the staff, students or committees want to solve a whole or partial school issue, come up with rules of engagement or enforce their rules, enhance resources for projects, develop whole or partial school project ideas, or vote upon the direction and design of their school, they must be proposed and decided upon at a democratic meeting.

As well as Whole School Meetings, spontaneous meetings can occur any time of the day on any weekday and will be called by the Initiator by a special bell ring across the school. Students and staff can elect to attend.

At each meeting, there is:

  1. an agenda that can be added to any time
  2. a chairperson (student preference)
  3. a minute taker (student preference)
  4. sharing of ideas, concerns and thoughts, then…
  5. “If a minority opinion is indicated, others listen very carefully to that minority opinion, and allow it to be fully expressed, perhaps changing the decision of the whole group. But ultimately, if they feel that the minority opinion is fully explored and that there is no options offered, the decision of the majority becomes the decision.” – Jerry Mintz
  6. followed by voting…

“The meetings often make many creative decisions, decisions that might not be thought of by any individual operating on their own. It is important to note that we go into a meeting without having a pre-set idea about the decisions that the meeting “should” make, but rather, fully expect that the meeting will be greater than the sum of its parts, and may find a creative solution that no one individual could foresee.” – Jerry Mintz

Individual Education Programs

IEPs reflect integrated creative education with the Australian Curriculum. Within each IEP, inquiry-based learning is combined with the Australian Curriculum  in the eight learning areas.

IEPS are designed to meet the individual learning needs of the student regardless of the level they have been placed within the school. Each student’s academic needs are assessed by the home-group educator at the beginning of the year using formal and informal means to determine the  levels to appropriately teach and suggest goals for.

Content

Each IEP contains learning outcomes stated as goals for the following Australian curriculum learning areas:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • The Arts
  • Health and Physical Education
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Language
  • Sciences, and
  • Information and Communication Technologies.

The IEP also includes Gift Enhancement, Knowledge Enhancement, and Zen Enhancement projects within any of the eight key learning areas of the Australian curriculum, that may be developed by individuals, small groups, whole classes, or the whole school.

  • Gift Enhancement seeks to enhance a unique, natural ability of a student
  • Knowledge Enhancement seeks to enhance a student’s innate curiosity about one area of the world, without judgement, and
  • Zen Enhancement seeks to enhance each student’s ability to build strategy for zen-out time, through a project that may be in the crafts or sports.

These projects do not work in isolation or act as rewards for other learning or behaviour, rather they are integrated into daily learning experiences.

Implementation

Every term, each student develops Individual Education Programs (IEP’s) with their home-group educator, reflecting their goals and evaluation strategies (criteria) for their studies, weekly timetable for classes, and their projects. IEP’s are founded upon areas of interest, skill sets and diversity, through projects and subjects of the Australian curriculum.

Reflected in the goals of the students’ IEPS, each student is required to participate in daily literacy and numeracy classes in multi-age classes, designed to stages of development. This provides opportunities for educators to employ High Impact Teaching Strategies (HITs) to improve student learning outcomes in relation to English and Mathematics content:

  • setting goals
  • structuring lessons
  • explicit teaching
  • multiple exposures
  • feedback
  • metacognitive strategies, and
  • differentiated teaching.

Review and development

IEP’s are reviewed every Friday in a democratic meeting between student and home-group educator and assessed and monitored against the Australian curriculum by the students’ home-group and specialist educators. Parents are invited to participate in these reviews. This is an opportunity for students, educators and parents to meet to reflect on student participation the previous week and identify strategies for the week ahead.

Each project is self-evaluated by the student or student group and the cohort who participate in its presentation.

IEPs are reviewed formally at the end of terms 2, 3 & 4 at the Parent Educator Child Review (PEC review).

Self-directed learning and its principles are key to the IEP, as it empowers students to be aware of their learning progress through opportunities for ongoing self-evaluation and independence in their learning.

Timeline for the development, evaluation and reporting of IEPs 

Each term

  1. assessments and IEP meetings and development must be completed by the end of the 3rd week for terms 1 and 3, and by the end of the 2nd week for terms 2 and 4, according to the Student Learning Outcomes Policy
  2. IEPS must be uploaded by the end of the 3rd week and submitted to the Chief Creative Director, recommending any changes if required, otherwise the Chief Creative Director signs them
  3. administration will give a copy of the signed IEP to the student, educator, send a copy to the family, and upload a copy to the Student Progress File (SPF)

NB: New students who enter in Term 3 will follow the Term 1 procedures. Students who enter the system mid-term establish their IEP and complete relevant assessment within the first 2 weeks of commencement.

Each semester

  1. end of semester assessments and student evaluations are to begin no later than week 7 of the term, including the compilation of the semester’s portfolio of project artefacts, project documentation, and journals
  2. parents and carers are invited to a Parent – Educator Interview
  3. the semester’s Student Progress Reports including ICAMs are to be completed and submitted to the Chief Creative Director by the end of the week 3
  4. the Chief Creative Director will recommend changes to the reports and Educators are to make these changes if agreed and re-submit by the end of the last week with their signature
  5. all reports are filed into Student Progress Files (SPF)
  6. during weeks 9/10 of terms 2 and 4, the school hosts the whole school Project Exhibition open to all members of the school community and beyond. Assessment, reflection or feedback is uploaded to SPF
  7. administration will send the signed original report to the parents and carers.

Homework

The school does not have compulsory homework for any of the students.

Students are invited to take their projects home with them to continue developing them or to show them to family members, however are asked to bring them back when they next return to school. If a student asks for homework, or seeks to be tested and needs a home-study timetable, the educators will provide or help to develop these.

Grade six students will be offered an optional homework program to practice completing homework before they go to secondary school. It involves weekly homework tasks which are established with each student, are sent home each Monday, and need to be handed in on Friday morning.

School of Cultural Creativity Resources
School of Cultural Creativity Policies