Teaching and Learning
The Co-op has a flexible curriculum offering alternative education. Where possible, learning is child-centred, with teachers and parents planning and presenting activities, providing resources and organising excursions that support the children’s strengths, interests and passions. Play and social interaction are acknowledged as fundamental to the learning process and the children have extensive opportunities for unstructured free play during the day. There are also two mandatory 'focus times' during the day where children work on their core literacy and numeracy skills. Curiousity is embraced and developed by following children's interests as they arise.
Each child has an individual learning plan that is collaboratively written by the teachers, parents and child. This plan includes what children are interested in, their strengths, what they would like to learn about, how they learn best and what help they need to achieve their social and learning goals. Children are empowered to take responsibility for their own learning.
The natural environment is used as a key teaching tool. Bushwalks, nature journaling, nature play and activities such as tree climbing and cubby building are frequent activities. Children are encouraged to grow vegetables and look after the Co-op chickens, with sustainable living weaved into their everyday experiences. The extensive camp program helps further develop a natural love and respect for the natural world.
Creativity and critical thinking skills are prioritised as key skills that children will need to have in the future. These are developed through opportunities for extensive stretches of unstructured play through the day, open ended activities and a well supported drama, art and music program. Our annual concert offers all children the opportunity to write, produce, direct and act on the stage.
Emotional and social intelligence, independence and resilience are also prioritised. We have weekly wellbeing sessions for littlies, exploring emotions, growth mindset and well being. The camp program for middlies and biggies is fundamental for developing socially. We also offer four children a year the opportunity to take part in 6 sessions designed to further develop social awareness and resilience through work with horses. All children will eventually get the chance to take part.
The holistic education at Co-op, which aims to cater for a variety of developmental needs, including emotional, social, physical, linguistic, intellectual, and creative development, has a profound influence on both the children and adults throughout their lives. When children from the Co-op start their secondary education, they do so with confidence, positively engaging with the opportunities that high school offers them. Co-op kids are noticeable because of their well-developed social skills, their creativity and their enthusiasm for learning.