Professor Martin Westwell, the Chief Executive of the SACE Board, South Australia's curriculum and assessment authority, defines innovation as “something new, something with value and something that is put into practice to achieve that value”.
At Blair Athol North B-6 School (BANB6), staff have built a strong foundation for innovation that meet these three criteria and provide young people with opportunities to explore, investigate and innovate in all learning areas.
In the past 12 months BANB6 has secured a $150,000 Green Adelaide Grassroots grant to develop a Raingarden and Nature Education/Outdoor Learning Space, implemented a weekly ‘Sustainability’ learning session for every class and set up a professional podcast recording suite that students can use.
‘Being, becoming and belonging’
Principal Darren Stevenson said since its inception, BANB6 has focused on creating a culture of shared responsibility for supporting and encouraging life-long learning for all members of the school community.
“All children have the capacity to become powerful learners and our focus on Belonging through making connections; Being through recognising children’s strengths and Becoming through providing intellectual stretch are at the core of what drives our teaching and learning,” he said.
“BANB6’s focus on sustainability education reflects this by providing all children at BANB6 with opportunities to engage with each other, their environment and their community in order to develop the skills, knowledge and dispositions they will need to thrive in an increasingly complex future.”
Over the last 12 months BANB6 has ensured that every one of its students has access to at least one ‘Sustainability’ focus session each week, predominantly learning with peers in cross-age groups.
“Our Raingarden and Nature Education project provides all children with an engaging and interactive space to engage with the outdoors, complementing our Kitchen Garden program and our ongoing work with Green Adelaide and the Adelaide National Park City initiative,” Stevenson said.
“Through these partnerships, BANB6 recently participated in a Green Adelaide/ANPC project which saw us explore how we could ‘connect communities through nature’ As a result we held a successful event which enabled our children to share sustainable initiatives and practices with their families and the wider community.”
BANB6 has also set up a professional mobile podcast recording suite for its students to introduce them to new ways of creating content and sharing their thinking, learning and understanding with a wider audience.
“Children have used the space to record a series of ‘BANB6 Trash Talk’ podcasts focusing on sustainability issues, the most recent of which was a special on bees and the Flow Hive which will soon be installed in our Kitchen Garden space,” Stevenson said.
“Learners have recorded mindfulness scripts which are available for BANB6 Learning Advisors to download and use with their studios and many of our students who require extra support access the suite to record a range of audio content.”
Blair Athol North B-6 School was recently named in The Educator’s Innovative Schools 2022 list.