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Greetings from Italy

Greetings from Italy

I have just completed the first leg of my sabbatical and have spent a week in Italy at the Reggio Emilia annual international conference. Our College is a P to 12 school and I have picked particular experiences which will bring benefit to all areas of our school.

“There is always something better that can be done to improve the quality of education for our children.” Reggio Emilia Conference 2019

This week I have spent time looking at Primary and Preschools and participating in lectures at the Loris Malaguzzi Centre. I have found the week one where there has been a cementing and challenging of ideas.

The Reggio Emilia philosophy is an approach that fits well with our mission statement and is practised in our Preschool and Early Stage 1. It focuses on the image and uniqueness of each child. The approach also focusses on the dignity of human beings and looks at ways which we can improve well-being for each child through their learning.

Our Mission: “To provide a high quality Christian education within a welcoming community where all individuals are valued and belong. As a community of learners we strive for excellence, unlocking the potential of each individual, developing confident, active learners who improve their world.”

You will have heard me say on many occasions at NAC we believe each child is capable of learning. Every child brings certain capabilities and qualities to school each day. Throughout the conference there was a big focus on providing opportunities for each of our young people to display their capabilities in order to help them be successful in their learning. This is important not only for the children in the early stages of their learning but is vital for all of our young people.

Educational institutions need to advocate for the rights of our children to learn. I often speak to our young people of the importance of their place in the world. School is not just a place where we prepare young people for life after school (although we do see this as something worthy of doing), school should be a place where children are connected, respected by others and have a voice in their learning each day.

Secondly, there was a focus on being a welcoming place where each child feels secure and safe. These concepts fit so well with the teachings and example of Christ who focussed on the value of each individual, promoted caring and loving relationships towards others and on the principle of social justice where Jesus encourages us to speak up and support those who are unable to speak for themselves.

The concept of welcome is not just saying hello to our young people at the start of the day; providing a welcoming environment is much more. I want our children to understand that they are welcome at school and we value their contribution to our community. As each young person develops their understanding that they belong to our learning community, then it is more likely that they will have a greater sense of well-being and engagement.

The Role of Parents

The conference also highlighted the important role that each of you as parents play in our community. Educating our children is the responsibility of the whole community and is furthered by having opportunities to develop connections between teachers, community members and our children. You are the ones who know your children well and it is vital that we come together to discuss how we can support and enhance the learning of your child.

When I return I would like to provide more opportunities for parents, students and staff to speak further about how we can help unlock the potential of each individual in their learning. In the meantime, I ask that you think about the following questions:

  • What are the special capabilities and qualities of your child?
  • Have you had a conversation with your child and their teachers about these capabilities?
  • How can we improve communication at NAC to develop a stronger educational community?

I look forward to discussing these ideas further with you on my return.

Written by Lorrae Sampson, Principal, Nowra Anglican College

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