Ju­nior learn­ing hub opens

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - JO MCKENZIE-MCLEAN

‘‘We can get chil­dren out of the cor­ri­dors and into class­rooms ’’

A new ju­nior learn­ing hub has re­lieved some roll pres­sure for a Cromwell pri­mary school, but there is still an im­me­di­ate need for more class­rooms.

Cromwell Pri­mary School of­fi­cially opened its new mod­ern learn­ing space for Year 1 pupils on Tuesday.

With a grow­ing roll that does is not show­ing signs of abat­ing, the Ha¯rewa Learn­ing Hub has been a long-time com­ing for teach­ers and pupils who orig­i­nally started plans in 2015.

Year 1 teacher Danella Small­ridge said the fi­nal de­sign was a large open space that could be closed off into dif­fer­ent ar­eas, including play ar­eas, quiet work­ing zones and closed off ar­eas for fo­cused work. The room is also kit­ted out with er­gonomic fur­ni­ture and ’’calm­ing’’ colours

‘‘It’s not just your class, my class - it is about teach­ers work­ing to­gether and stu­dents work­ing to­gether. In 2015, as part of my study through Otago Univer­sity I looked at mod­ern learn­ing en­vi­ron­ments with a spe­cial em­pha­sis on learn­ers with a dyslexic learn­ing style and other learn­ing chal­lenges. My main con­cern was the trendy big open spa­ces where no-one could con­cen­trate and I didn’t want that for our learn­ing hub.

‘‘We have a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing in a big space so are get­ting the hang of how we can do things dif­fer­ently...I be­lieve there are good things with mod­ern learn­ing - tech­niques and en­vi­ron­ments but also there is good old school stuff. I’d like to think we use the best of both worlds. We try to have a bal­ance of the two.’’

With grow­ing num­bers there was ‘‘rip­ple ef­fect’’ of classes shuf­fling around to snap up space.

‘‘There is a whole class of new en­trants start­ing after Queen’s Birth­day. Five new en­trants who al­ready started have been in a teach­ing re­source room and we have had chil­dren work­ing in the hall­way.‘‘

Prin­ci­pal Wendy Brooks said the hub would al­le­vi­ate pres­sure in other ar­eas of the school in terms of num­bers.

‘‘We can get chil­dren out of the cor­ri­dors and into class­rooms. I think its great the teach­ers com­ing in have had the chance to es­tab­lish a teach­ing model for col­lab­o­ra­tive teach­ing be­fore they get to be in a new learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment. I think it’s re­ally im­por­tant and it is well em­bed­ded and our par­ents love it. It is about the fact it is a great match with staff, our ped­a­gogy learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment and the chil­dren.’’

JO MCKENZIE-MCLEAN

.Danella Small­ridge, Jim Por­te­ous, 5, Louise Haig, Ma­son Adams, 6 and Cath McLel­lan in the new hub.

Wendy Brooks, prin­ci­pal

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