What does learn mean to you? – Kim Moroney (Early Education Officer, Catholic Schools Office)
Learning takes place through relationships - relationships with family, friends, teachers, peers, community, culture and place. Learning takes place every day as one engages in life; it is present in interactions, experiences, routines and events. Student’s learning is dynamic, complex and holistic, with the physical, social, emotional, personal, spiritual, creative and cognitive aspects of learning intricately interwoven and interrelated.
Learning thrives in an intentional, welcoming and caring environment designed to foster interest, curiosity, engagement, collaboration, problem solving, creativity, self-regulation, self-awareness, empathy, expression and wellbeing. Through learning, students construct their own identities and understandings of the world.
In a school context, learning also thrives when teachers and family work in partnership and when the teachers have an in-depth knowledge of each student. Viewing students as active participants in their own learning opens up possibilities to move beyond pre-conceived expectations about what students can do and learn. This requires an understanding of each student’s unique interests, qualities and abilities. When we listen to students, we learn about how they learn.
The early childhood years (0-8 years) are a crucial time of brain development and this period of childhood influences life chances. During these years, children develop a positive attitude to learning. Play is a context for learning and especially important to early learning. In play, children actively construct their own understandings and contribute to others’ learning. They initiate and lead learning, share decisions, respect and trust. Adults can support children’s play by providing children with time and opportunity to play. By also asking questions about their play an adult stimulates the child’s thinking and enriches their learning.
Learning is ongoing and each learner progresses at different times and in different but equally meaningful ways. Although learning is not always predictable and linear it should be joyful, engaging and life affirming.
The community of St Joseph’s Primary School, Gloucester ended their Catholic Schools Week with a 2019 Centenary Mass. Students, family, friends and special guests celebrated 100 years since the arrival of the Sisters of St Joseph and the commencement of Catholic education in Gloucester. The Mass was followed by a light luncheon at the school.
As Catholic Schools Week draws to a close for 2019, the annual Blackbutt South Parish student art competition showcased the artistic talents of students from St Pius X High School, Adamstown.
This year’s competition featured three different topics from which students could draw inspiration for their artwork:
- What does Catholic spirituality mean to you?
- What does the story of Easter mean for Catholic's today?
- ‘Learn, Serve, Belong’
Running since 2016, the event aims to highlight and strengthen the relationship between Blackbutt South Parish and St Pius X. After former St Pius student, Lachlan Byrnes approached Simone Kelly, Religious Studies Coordinator at St Pius, with the idea of an art competition, the concept grew to encompass the implementation of a Religious Studies assessment task that would encourage students to think about what Catholic spiritually meant to them.
Each year this assessment tasks students with creating an artwork around a particular theme or topic, with shortlisted works then exhibited at the St Philip’s, Kotara South Church during Catholic Schools Week and a winner announced during the annual Mass on the last day of the week-long celebrations.
Around 62 shortlisted artworks were displayed on the night and judged by St Pius X Art Teacher, Racheal Moore. This year’s winners included:
- Tessa Mills
- Maeve McCarthy
- Teighan Rance
- Olivia Newcombe
- Tom Dever
- Bailey Walsh