Children & Place Mapping Group
November- December 2005

 

We are a group of independent community schools who share a passion for values education. Between us we have a long history of working with children, families and communities in creative and innovative ways.

Sustainability Mapping

Children mapping their place in the world is a profound act that privileges children’s understandings of the world around them. Children (and teachers and school communities too) are encouraged to think about the following kinds of questions:  What, where and who do we care for? What sustains these relationships? What sustains us? Do we all value the same things? What happens when we do? What happens when we don’t?

We are five schools that have a great interest in enabling children to express and share their thoughts, research and sets of values about their place with others. Our different geographical and cultural locations are an important aspect of the project. In expressing and learning about our own and other’s values our children, and our communities, are able to reflect on the similarities and differences that occur between people.  Solid values education practice! In this newsletter we provide brief reports about what has been happening in each of our schools this term .

Enjoy reading and please be aware that we have so much more to celebrate - each school has so much to contribute to the topic of values education and caring for our places. A newsletter can only hope to offer up a taste of the amazing banquet that our group has been producing!

Lance Holt School has been operating for 36 years. It is situated in Henry St in the historical West End of Fremantle. Its unique location in a maritime, historic, tourist and educational hub impacts strongly on how the school community thinks about and relates to the environment. The school has a population of 100 K-7 children and a full-time teaching staff of six and a number of specialist art, music, language  and PE teachers. The staff team have a wealth of experience and passion for values education and they continue to lead in this area, developing creative and exciting activities for the children. Kathryn Netherwood, School Coordinator is the Project Coordinator with the assistance of Jennie Buchanan as Deputy Coordinator.

Strelley Community School is located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Approximately 1860 kms north of Perth. It has three annexes with students from K-12 located at Strelley, Warralong and Woodstock.

Moerlina School is located at Mt Claremont. It has an interesting history as a school that ran in the Perth Royal Agricultural Showground Members Pavillion, starting in 1974. The school moved to its current premises in Brockway Rd in 1994.  Moerlina has a student population of up to 100 K-7 students.

Denise Reynolds is the contact person and has been a strong advocate for the project in the school. She has been informing staff of the project values and activities and assisting the development of the program. Strong teacher and principal support exists and has resulted in exciting approaches in all of the classrooms.

Kerry Street is situated in Hamilton Hill. It is a family school with a population of approximately 37 children in  K-7. They have been operating since 1980.Fran Ryce and Kath Sugars have been the contact people for the school. Their school response to the project has been strongly helped by their work in passing on PD workshop information, discussion and resources to their staff team.

Nyindamurra Family School

Nyindamurra is situated in Forest Grove in The South West of Western Australia. It has been operating since 1982. The school has a K-7 student population of 50 students. Fynn Mueller and Pam Tuffin have been the key contact people for their school. Both have played a strong part in developing their schools response to sustainability values and how children from the south west care for their place.

Getting Together to Value Our Work

Children and Place Mapping Group PD Workshop  4th November 2005.

At our recent Whole Cluster PD Session, Laura Stocker spoke about how sustainability values link with the activities we are carrying out in our schools.

Our most recent workshop on Friday 4th November 2005 had participants from all five schools attend. We had a fantastic (and full) day with many participants saying how good it was to all meet up and work with like minded educators.

Our presenters, Laura Stocker, Gary Burke and  Dave Palmer were able to provide us with relevant information and also use the experiences and examples from individual schools to build on in their sessions.  The Early Childhood Education discussion group appreciated the time to really focus on the philosophy and practice of good values education with very young children. A real stand out on the day were the stories and ideas that everyone  brought with them. The opportunity to listen, to see pictures and photos  and to share our thoughts with each other was very appreciated. We all enjoyed the beautiful fresh food prepared by Fanny and Helen.

The day was full as you can see from the agenda we followed:

9am         Welcome and Coffees

Laura Stocker will present on how the sustainability values link with the kinds of activities that you are doing or planning to do in schools.

Gary Burke, a multimedia consultant, will run a session on the digital mapping process, how we can best order and store our information that we are creating and gathering- whether they be text, pictures, photos, audio or video recordings. Gary will present an example of an interactive map for us to see and consider the possibilities with.

For those who would like to play a part in creating an interactive map Gary will be available to work with individuals in this session.

Teachers from schools are welcome to join in with our early childhood teachers to discuss working with young children and values education.

Dave Palmer will run a session about the research aspect of the project. We have asked everyone to bring along examples of the work that you are doing so we can have a practical session using our own work as evidence for our case studies.  Remember to bring in your photos of children, teachers, families and their activities, artwork, writing, audio/video recording, journal or diary entries and quotes from children, staff and parent’s.

Resources, blogging, general queries and information will be discussed.

We recognise the expertise of the staff in our schools and have encouraged  the development of relationships between class teachers. For instance we held a Discussion Group on Early Childhood education with teachers from Lance Holt, Strelley, Moerlina and Kerry Street. Philosophical approaches to values education and how to carry out this with young children in different settings was part of the discussion. Teachers from our cluster schools will continue their conversation through email contact.

Collaborative Practices

Our upper primary teachers from Lance Holt School and Nyindamurra have begun a relationship that has resulted in collaborative practices and discussions. They had a discussion at the PD workshop and are scheduled to meet again and take their combined classes on a environmental and indigenous tour of the Margaret River region in Week 6 of Term 4.

Ongoing  and Relevant Professional Development

Multimedia training has been identified as an area for PD and we have been working with a consultant on the individual needs of teachers and the program.

Lance Holt School

Developing Values Education across the years

Kindy - Children’s ideas about belonging and care in the family and home

Pre-Primary/Year 1 - Mapping Bathers Beach as a Nyungar site, an historical site, an ecological coastal site and a place that nurtures them. They have also constructed an alphabet series about places of significance in Fremantle

Year 2/3 - Inquiry-based and arts learning projects on the Fremantle Port and Fishing Industry

Year 4/5 - An examination of the four layers of sustainability and children’s use of various places throughout the region using mapping and computer based technology

Year 6/7 - Investigating the multiple uses and values placed on the Swan River culminating in student produced DVDs .

The Fremantle Port

The year 2/3 class have investigated the way the harbour and the port are used. They thought about what they knew already, hopped in the school bus and went on a photo tour of the harbour.

They used the base map of the river and port as a reference. Crossing bridges, viewing from lookouts, driving amongst ship containers and visiting familiar vantage points, the children came back to class with a wealth of observations and queries.

The practice of “wondering” was used to enable children to work through some very interesting questions and ideas.

  Each child posed questions and observations about the places they had seen , the objects and buildings, the people and transport, road works, train lines and shipping vessels, containers-all manner of things that many of us take for granted as part of the everyday landscape around Fremantle. They were considering the kinds of relations of work, travel and leisure. The economic, social, environmental and cultural layers of their neighbourhood.

Children were then encouraged to think about how they could find things out about all of these wonderings. They created lists and chart of how we get information-where from, who from and displayed them in their class room.

The next phase  involved them investigating who and where they would go to address their individual  questions. Phone calls were made to individuals and organisations like the Fremantle Port Authority, Transperth, Diving and Safety Organisations and the Maritime Museum. By interviewing, taking notes and talking with each other about their investigations, the children have developed a strong sense of who and what is involved in making the port what it is.

Since this research has begun the year 2/3 class have created some fantastic art work. On display in their class are large collaborative murals of the port and the shipping industry.

The year 2/3s have also made a model of the coastline of Fremantle complete with real water ocean and river and  model vessels. A child’s map in 3D-  a beautiful and powerful learning tool about this  place. In our next issue we will provide more pictures from this...

Working with  Simon Gilby, a sculptor, every child has contributed to making a tableau of Bathers Beach. The people, fauna, architecture, maritime vessels have all been made using clay, cardboard and care.  Children were asked to research their creation and make a story to go along with their character. This research enabled stories across time and culture to arise. Families have been involved by assisting the research and helping out on making days. A whole community event celebrating a very special place. More about the tableau in the next issue!!

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Strelley Community School

Strelley School have been mapping people’s stories about their place. As part of this project students and teachers have been involving elders and other community members in making maps to help consider how important country is to their lives. Darren Smith, one the teachers and cluster contact person explains:     “ Our three schools have been busy at work identifying local and regional hotspots, collecting  narratives from our community elders and growing in our understanding of who we are and  what it means to live in our remote location. Our students have been investigating maps and have been fascinated by what we already know about our place just by looking at maps. An exciting challenge will be how we produce the digital maps and extend our students ability with information technology.”

At the Woodstock annex students have been concentrating their attention on the connection between valuing country, valuing people and valuing local animals. As Bronwyn Smith of the Strelley School explains:

Darren Smith told us that the three annexes have been using multi-media resources to “help us appreciate our place”. Recently the three schools came together to learn about making movies.  A Making Movies Roadshow team from the Film and Television Institute in Perth spent the week with our high school students teaching them about and helping them produce several movies. Four short films were produced and a couple of animations. The short films depict some of the underlying values of our schools and help tell a rich story about the importance of country to the community.

  Nyindamurra Family School has chosen to build values work into a number of its projects across the curriculum. For example . t eachers are using narrative, drawing, mapping and dramatic techniques in their classroom practices with the senior children . The teachers link their past work on values and virtues for this project.

According to Fynn Mueller, teacher and cluster contact, the Nyindamurra response for this term has been to consider how their community already cares for  and sustains their place and to continue reflecting on this. There haver been many activities taking place in and out of the school

Children’ s Traditional Special Places

The teachers and children are working on their story of the importance of how children ‘know’ their place by mapping how the children use the school grounds and surrounding bushland. Environmental issues are being explored through the children’s own personal experiences of the loss of a very significant old tree from nearby bushland.

Frogs

Projects occurring at the school include a wetland systems project with children in the upper primary  class. (This includes the ultimate commitment by teacher, Pam Tuffin of keeping her own swimming pool as a frog ecosystet).

Pam has told us “The frogman is doing a workshop on frog pond building/maintaining ecology around it this Saturday with kids at the school. I have asked a parent to videotape it together with the kids participation.

WeedManagement
The children are also testing out ways of managing weeds in their school grounds using sustainability values. Scientific methods of three test sites and practices are being used. Children are observing, monitoring and report writing the results.

Sharing with others

Recently the year 6/7 class from Lance Holt School came to visit  the kids at Nyindamurra as part of their bi-annual class camp to Busselton.

The two schools shared a cultural heritage tour of Margaret River and had a fantastic time. Kids, teachers and parents raved about how much they learned and how much fun they had on the tour.

Photos and stories in our next issue ...
Thanks Fynn and Pam and the Nyindamurra children for the heartening work you are doing and thanks to Laura Stocker and Gary Burke for your photos from your visit!

At Moerlina all classes, the student council and parents are all involved in the project.  As a consequence of this they have been able to provide rich and detailed reports of their work.

The area bounded by Brockway Road, Oceanic Drive, West Coast Highway and Alfred Road leading back to our school has featured as the subject of student’s investigations.

We got lots of maths out of the project, particularly chance and data.We went out for a ride in the school bus with our notebooks and noted down all the places we could see and where they would fit along the familiar roads.

Using local street directories gave us a bigger picture then of the features of our area and where they fit on a map.

 

Our final product was a BIG map of the local area with all the places on it that have now become familiar to us through our explorations!  

We used our maps to locate local features

then classified them according to cultural,

economical, ecological or social features.

 

The students then defined what each of the

terms CEES meant.

 

  Those who were unsure

then used the places located to assist their

understanding and definitions.  After our initial visit to Station Street Markets we created a class list of all the types of businesses we saw there.

 

In pairs we devised questions and practiced interviewing techniques before we returned to the markets to locate specific information we wanted to

know

We used the information we gathered to worked in

Groups to plan the “Perfect Market Place”.

The students used a variety of building blocks to construct “The Perfect Marketplace” through

sharing information, drawing on information

gathered.

Students worked collaboratively, sharing resources, ideas and constructed a sustainable environment reinforcing beyond belief what they had learned

It was the WOW moment for Denise.  

Some items they considered were;

Environmentally friendly issues such as solar and wind power.

A king to ell everyone what to believe in  as that’ provides someone to believe in’ ( which was their definition of culture).

Providing diverse stock and stalls, based on  information gathered through surveys before the markets were built.

Using underground and layered building to restrict the amount of the natural environment they demolish.

Children’s playground to be made  out of recycled materials.

A magnetic railway to be made for people to move around the markets with.

Information was collated in small groups and used to construct a brochure of the Station Street Markets for advertising purposes, targeting particular audiences and using relevant, most pertinent information.

__________________ Thanks Denise for providing us with this summary of your work with the year 3/4 class this term. Thanks to all the teaching staff and children at Moerlina for their beautiful work.

These reports show us all how much children are able to do, how deeply they can consider the values that are attached to places ...and work collaboratively ...and...(feel free to add to the list!)

Kerry Street Community School

Kerry Street have been doing some beautiful work with their community. Students have been investigating stories about the use of one of their most treasured local parks, Manning Lake.

They have been studying the many uses of the Lake including: as a site of Nyungar significance and ‘settler’ history, as part of a wetland system, as an ecological habitat for a wide range of flora and fauna, a site of community events and a place for play and family.

The work at Manning Park has been a highlight. As Fran says,

We have had some wonderful workshops at Manning Park. The students are much more familiar with the Park and the season’s changes as we visit regularly and observe with all senses, recording our impressions with words and images.

A key element in Kerry Street School’s approach has been equipping students with the means to consider alternative and contrasting values.

Students have been encouraged to build their skills in debate using such topics as the use of school spaces, care of public places and protection of local

facilities.

It’s so good to have grandparents to help us! !
Coming up at Manning Park is a visit to the Azelia Lei Homestead on 25th November, combined with a rubbish audit of the park and lake.
Jade, Harry and Wara planting rushes.

Trevor Walley Teaches us about Nyungar ways at Manning Park.

Wriggle like the Woggle

Jump like the kangaroo

Climb like the goanna

Run like the emu

Me

Party at Manning Park!!
End of the school year party for families and children..Coming up at the end of term..

Kath and Fran - thank you for your reports- it is amazing to see the many ways in which you are  working with your school community around a very significant place. Thanks to all your teaching staff, families and fantastic children.

Be great to have a guided tour of Manning Park one day!
What a journey so far!

Thank you all for your efforts in this rich and sustaining shared project.
Enjoy the summer break and celebrate your beautiful work!
Merry Christmas and a Fabulous New Year to all of you and your school communities.

We look forward to working together in 2006.