“Change is inevitable – it’s a cliché really, yet it’s relevance to schools remains critical in these early years of the 21st century. So what does ‘moving with the times’ really mean at Berwick Lodge Primary School? It means many things, and none more important than ensuring that our students have the best possible opportunities to explore their interests, test their capacity to learn and be as confident as they possibly can, that they can succeed in whatever career directions they choose to follow. In short, they leave Berwick Lodge full of confidence and enthusiasm……..for all the right reasons.
“Of course, it is easier to put such lofty ideals on paper than it is to deliver them, unless of course you have an authentic school. That we believe we have here. Over the 26 years of our existence, and I have been privileged to have been the principal of this wonderful school community since day one, we have always embraced change, not for change’s sake but for the benefits that being at the forefront of great new ideas and approaches bring.
“Innovation is central to progress and schools should be centres of innovation – innovation that enhances student learning and preparedness for life in general. To that end, we pride ourselves on the innovative ideas and programs that we have implemented at our school.
“In terms of school management, we remain the only government school in Australia that holds ISO 9001 Quality Management certification, and have done so for the past 15 years. Our core business is teaching and learning and the way in which we ensure that we do this efficiently and in accord with best organisational practice, is to have in place outstanding operational (management) practices.
“Noteworthy educational programs we have introduced include our audio eLearning program, led by our radio program whereby via our long standing partnership with our local community radio station, Casey Radio 97.7FM, our students broadcast a weekly one hour program both over the air waves and via streaming to the world from our own state-of-the-art radio studio. Four years ago we added robotics to our curriculum offerings. In July we will be representing Australia at the Asia Pacific First Lego league (FLL) Robotics Championships in Sydney. Two years ago we were members of the Australian FLL Robotics Champions and represented Australia at the European FLL Robotics Championships in Spain.
“Our wonderful community garden is a both a haven for all our students and a great educational centre – in fact the produce grown is sold to our families and staff with all profits ploughed (no pun intended) back into the garden. All students Prep to Year 6 participate in our popular LOTE (Mandarin) program. Students interested in the performing arts can join our choir or compete in the annual Wakakirri festival. In fact last year our students made it to the state finals and had a ball performing at Hamer Hall at the Victorian Arts Centre. That is just scratching the surface on the many and varied educational opportunities available here – oh, by the way, every alternate year our senior students visit our sister school, Tampines P.S. in Singapore around the time of Singapore’s national day.
“In terms of moving on what are we up to now? A major project of which we are really proud is our ‘Bridging Curriculum’ program that we have immersed ourselves in with our local kindergartens for the past 18 months. It is about to culminate with the development of our Bridging Curriculum App (BCA), which we will share with our local kindergartens and parents of pre-school children, irrespective of whether these children will one day attend Berwick Lodge or not. This App will contain a variety of practical features such as examples of Perceptual Motor Program (PMP) activities that are vital for the development of gross and fine motor skills in young children, relaxation activities presented by an expert in mindfulness for children, audio storytelling and drumming activities and songs for children.
“Student Agency in their learning is of vital importance to us. To this end we are working with researchers from Auckland University in introducing an exciting learning approach, Learning Maps, whereby students map the people and factors that impact on their learning as the basis of having students located at the centre of their own learning.
“There’s so much more that could be written……why not book a personal tour of our school and see for yourself.”
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