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Sharing understanding about the KCs

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Using ICTs and learning stories, Windley School is guiding both students and whānau in their understandings of key competencies and how they relate to inquiry learning in the school.

Discussion tool

'Images and the key competencies' highlights key ideas raised in the above Windley School story about the use of images to support key competencies. Prompts are provided for thinking about what kinds of images could be helpful, how they could be used, and how they could be captured.


Vanessa Hendry, Assistant principal

As part of developing this programme the team’s used CRT days and days in the holidays when we have brainstormed ideas of where we could go and get further ideas; and breaking things down to parents and children so that they understand and can articulate where they are going in their learning, and what it is that they are doing. 

So one of the ways that I’ve observed this being done is through the early childhood system of learning stories. So we went and visited a kindergarten and observed the children doing their own inquiry and had fantastic examples of inquiries that they had done; and then children have gone back to and built on, and this is being done through ICT and the computers and them being there.

We’re using photographs for the paper learning stories and we are putting the child’s voice in there, so we are noting what the children are specifically saying. We are showing it through photographs, the learning and the sequence, and we are also getting the child to talk about it. And the children are getting very good at talking about it and it’s not just ‘This is what I’ve done’, it’s ‘This is what I’ve done. This is what I was trying to do; and I was working with somebody else to do that, so they had a turn at doing that’ – so linking into the competencies.

From that, in talking with the child, you say ‘What could you do next time?’ or ‘Was there a problem?’ And you talk about strategies for next time. The child might be able to articulate that back and you put that down in child speak? Then the teacher will put a reflection or an observation in there around that, and the next learning steps. This is shared with the children but it is also a really nice way to share it with the whānau. The children feel very excited having this piece of paper with lots of photographs of them in it. They have one to take home, we have one we keep on their file, and they are really good reference points when we have parent conferences.

We also use videos – digital cameras – and we take video clips. We have easy-speaks, which is a great way of being able to record the children’s thinking. And each child has a file on our intranet that we can store these on, and again it’s great with interactive whiteboards and things, when we have parent conferences we can share them and the parents get to really hear and see what the children are doing. This is one of the strategies that Jackie has developed with her IEPs,  which has been so effective for parents to get a really good understanding of what their children are doing at school.

So first of all, getting that shared understanding amongst the staff around the key competencies and what we mean by those and the links that we are making with our school vision. Then using these great examples of what children are doing – the videos, the learning stories – so we can show parents the video footage and they can actually see what the child is doing and we can 

explain what we mean by ‘managing themselves’ or ‘thinking’, making the reference to the competencies. 

That’s the other thing that we are doing, we are not just focusing on this during the ‘adventures in learning’, the key competencies encompass everything that we are doing. So in our maths time, in our literacy time, it’s like a pen beside you – the digital camera is beside you – and when those opportunities arise you start the recording because you are seeing children using the key competencies, and you are going to have really good data/evidence to show and share.

We have another team meeting last week for a CRT day, and one of our aims – we have new staff members too, so it was to share our vision and where we have go to so far – and then it was to look at roles of everybody within ‘adventures in learning’ and how we could make this successful. So we had to look at the teacher role, then the role for the teacher aide  - they are equal in terms of the fact that they are there as facilitators to prompt the children. We are not there to tell the children what they need to learn or show them how to do something, but as children get into an area and are having trouble with that then we could prompt them by saying ‘What do you think you could do? What could you try? Did that work? Why didn’t it work? And just prompt so they can be reflective and  be thinking about  that.

We are going to have another CRT day tomorrow, and at that session the TAs will be coming in and we are going to brainstorm what that would look like -  what are some of the phrases that we can say so we are developing amongst the team, the shared understanding, but also the shared vocabulary that we are going to be using with the children; and that the children will hopefully become familiar with, and understand what we are trying to get them to do by saying these sorts of prompts. 

I think we will be building an even stronger team because I think it’s important to include the teacher aides in our development and allow learning and training around this as they are a vital part of the programme working. So that we can have lots of adults scattered around to be the facilitators of the children. For us, a lot of our teacher aides are parents, so it’s really important that we remember to include them in the development because they are key people out there in the community who are talking to our wider community; and if they have got a really good understanding of what we are doing and why we are doing it, then we are getting that message out there into the wider community.

Updated on: 20 Sep 2010