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Port Kids ALIVE at Port Chalmers School

Port Chalmers students on anchor at the front of the school.

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Vicki Nicolson, principal at Port Chalmers School talks about the Port Chalmers learning vision:

At Port Chalmers school looking at the revised curriculum was a way for us to shape a learning vision for our students and our learning community. We looked at what a year 8 graduate would be as they walked out of Port Chalmers School on their last day. We talked to our students and our community about the head – the things they needed to know, the heart – the things they needed to feel, and the hands – the skills or things they needed to do, that they needed to have when they walked out our gate.

We are a full primary so it is really important to us that our year eights were seen as leaders in our community, the school community and also the general wider community. So the ALIVE stands for Active, Learners, Imaginative, Visual, Enthusiastic. What skills do we need to develop with our students as they move through to be these leaders in our community? We have linked that through and are developing our charter around that. And those ideas are also linking into our strategic plan. So as a whole school we have a very clear vision of what the learners will be when they walk out our gate.

Students at Port Chalmers School explain Port kids ALIVE:

Port kids are active

Active means that you do lots of exercises and stretches, and fun games that include running and lots of exercises on the playground. You can also be active in the classroom.

Port kids are learners

At Port Chalmers we get taught not told so we don’t just get told things and have to soak it all up like a sponge, we have to do things to make sure we actually remember what the teachers are trying to tell us. Also we learn in different ways like visually and using our ears and touch, so we are not just learning in one way we are learning in lots of ways. And the teachers are always learning too.

Port kids are imaginative

Imagination is when we are doing writing where we are thinking about a character and what they would be saying or doing. And creating a story with a bunch of characters that led up to one thing. Also when we are playing at lunch times we will make up games with our own rules and imagine we are different creatures or animals.

Port kids are visual

Visual is learning stuff with your eyes. We also use visual for art and other things because we get pictures, look at them and try to make a story up out of that picture by putting it in to a painting. It is like using your eyes to get information. For example some kids can’t read in the little classes so they just look at the pictures and make a story out of the pictures which can help them.

Port kids are enthusiastic

There is a lot of enthusiasm in our school. We get to go out on trips, the teachers don’t just make us sit down in class. We are expanding our learning and we’re not just always learning one thing, we are learning different things and trying not to forget the rest.

Peta Hill and Jennie Upton, teachers at Port Chalmers School, explain what Port kids ALIVE means for them:

If you look at the key competencies a lot of that fits in with our Port kids ALIVE. We have encouraged the kids to be active learners and part of that is that self management. They have to have some input into their learning. Part of that is managing workloads, thinking about questions, a lot of group work. It all brings out the whole big vision of being a Port Kid and bringing out the big idea that they are going to become leaders, where learners become leaders. They are thinking of those personal relationships. We use a lot of thinking activities to encourage the kids to think about their learning. So that is that active learning as well.

That is where the Port Kids ALIVE has naturally grown from what is happening, from the community, from the children who have driven this as well. It is from the professional development that we have had. We don’t just pick up on a craze that might be happening, it is always backed up by pedagogy that makes sense and will fit with our school and the direction we want to take. Nothing we do in our professional development is glossed over. We go into depth. We always look at how that will fit within our school. It is really important for our children to see we are not a guru with a fountain of knowledge but we are active learners as well. We are making the links with the children that we are still ALIVE as teachers. As part of our planning we always look at how can I make this work for me as well as for the children.

Vicki Nicolson, talks about where to next:

We are now developing around the values and the principles of the revised curriculum and we are looking at where are the principles embedded in our school already and what do we need to do to enhance the planning of those. And also the values, where are the children exposed to these values, how are we going to support those and develop these confident, connected lifelong learners which is the vision of the revised curriculum.

full primary

Published on: 10 Jul 2009