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Curriculum in action at Renwick School

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Evidence of the local curriculum being a partnership between the students, school, and community is demonstrated through the school environment project at Renwick School. The Renwick community is environmentally conscious, and parents are an integral part of working with the school to improve the school environment, and help students with their edible garden. 

These four videos show how staff, students, parents, and the community worked together to write a school curriculum that reflected the vision and values of Renwick School and its place in the community.

  1. Community and curriculum
  2. Writing our curriculum
  3. Vision and values
  4. Curriculum in action

Professional learning conversations

These questions and suggested actions encourage you to reflect on your own school context.

Community engagement

The School Leadership and Student Outcomes BES found that the most effective home-school partnerships are those in which:

  • parents and teachers are involved together in children's learning
  • teachers make connections to students' lives
  • family and community knowledge is incorporated into the curriculum and teaching practices.

Identifying actions

Research in schools (for example, Bull, Brooking and Campbell, 2008; Taylor, 2008) suggests that partnerships work best when actions are:

  • the result of shared reflection on current practice
  • planned for and embedded within whole-school development plans
  • goal-oriented and focused on learning
  • evaluated and reflected upon by both partners as part of ongoing improvement.
  • Examine this in your own school context. What are the ways that you could partner with your parents and local community to enhance student learning?
  • What decision making could you hand over to your students?
  • How would you describe the current relationship the school has with the community? In what ways could that relationship be more focussed on teaching and learning?

Have you seen?

Community engagement
The resources, tools, and examples on this site support school leaders, teachers, and professional learning facilitators as they engage with school communities.

Want to know more?

The Enviroschools Foundation
The Enviroschools Foundation is a charitable trust that provides support and strategic direction for a nationwide environmental education programme. The Foundation’s vision is to foster a generation of innovative and motivated young people who instinctively think and act sustainably. 


Student: It is important to clean, to clean our environment.

Principal: It is early days, we have only been going a term and four weeks on delivering this new curriculum. So for us, we're still, I guess you could say, we are still piloting. But the opportunities that have presented to us, that have been presented to us this year, just with Enviro Schools for example, we need parents help to make that happen.

Parent: We as the parents are the follow through, you know, the follow through, putting it into practical things, like the edible garden or recycling at the school and working then later on with the children in support groups.

Principal: So right now we’ve got three parents involved in the school who have been working with groups of kids on garden design, planting plans, irrigation plans and even other features that need to be incorporated into the landscape to bring our school landscape, bring it up to the sort of standard that our kids are actually demanding, and our parents and community.

Teacher: We got all the children throughout the whole school to talk with their teachers and to go out and investigate around the school and identify places that they felt really good in, places that they liked, places that maybe they didn’t feel so safe in like the car park, and using a school map identify places they wanted to change and what they would like to put in those places. So the staff were also involved and we also shared it with the parents and the community. So the children have basically come up with a map of what they would like the school to be like.

Student: I especially like learning about the environment and since I am the Green Ferns leader this year it gives me a chance to really get involved and help the school learn more about the environment.

Teacher: The aim is through Enviro Schools that the children are taking ownership, they are designing, they are creating, they are fully involved, and that down the track the school will be somewhere where they feel really safe, that they want to be, that they really enjoy, that they are engaged in, they are motivated, and they are using the environment as well. So it is not just them being out in the playground, they might be in the edible gardens, they’ll be in the native gardens that have endemic plants that reflect what Renwick once was like. So it is educational but it is also somewhere that they have designed and they’ve been part of.

Teacher: I know that I was teaching five year olds last year and they wanted to see waterfalls and all sorts of things, but the main thing that they really wanted was more colour. And we’ve been able to produce that in our school with our recent additions and our recent paint jobs so that’s been great. I think, they also wanted edible gardens and that is something that we’ve actually started too. So the children feel as though they are empowered. And that is actually one of our teaching beliefs, is empowerment.

Teacher: One of the really exciting things that we are noticing is that the kids really want to be involved in making positive changes in the environment. And that’s not just in the school but also hopefully that will be feeding back through to their homes. And once they leave Renwick School it is something they will naturally continue to do for the rest of their lives.

Parent: With our main industry being the wine industry I think sustainability and environmental aspects are of importance for our children. And through the learning at Renwick School they get exposed to it and can take aspects on and learn for the future. An example is the edible gardens. We as parents, we support this project and our network, through the parent support group so we are organising fun events and fundraisers to get money together to donate towards projects like that. And an edible garden for the children is something which is definitely for the future because that is what we want to see our children to think of the environment, have a healthy lifestyle and to take that on into their life later on.

Published on: 23 Jun 2010