The class with a dif­fer­ence

South Taranaki Star - - FRONT PAGE - JANE MATTHEWS

If you talk to any of the chil­dren So­nia Rova has ever taught they will tell you how they have hatched chick­ens and had farm an­i­mals in their class­room.

‘‘If we don’t teach kids to nur­ture an­i­mals, how to we ex­pect them to nur­ture each other?’’ Rova said.

This is one of the many lessons the new en­trant teacher at Strat­ford Pri­mary School in Cen­tral Taranaki teaches in her sus­tain­able, play-based, tech­nol­ogy-free class­room. Rova and Melissa Stone teach room 13 the new en­trant class­room - and fo­cus on play-based learn­ing and tran­si­tion­ing chil­dren from kinder­gartens, to school, to real life.

‘‘I’ve done a lot of re­search around the de­vel­op­ment of the brain,’’ Rova said. ‘‘We want them to be sus­tain­able learn­ers in the 21st cen­tury. They need to be creative, they need to be able re­late to others, and ev­ery day this sit­u­a­tion is set­ting them up to be that.’’

The class­room is made up of regifted and re­cy­cled items.

Rova and Stone said this gives the chil­dren the op­por­tu­nity to use their imag­i­na­tion. Last week they brought in a wooden box on a post with a slit in it - po­ten­tially a post box.

‘‘They spent the whole day go­ing around and around the room work­ing out what they could post and how they could get it out,’’ Rova said.

‘‘Do­ing that shows them dif­fer­ent ways, in­stead of us say­ing ‘the only thing that can go in there is let­ters’,’’ Stone added.

‘‘It’s ob­vi­ously about cre­at­ing path­ways in the brain. The chil­dren in their play are learn­ing how to play with each other but they’re also try­ing all these things to be creative,’’ Rova said.

This is the first time Rova has put her all into play-based teach­ing - which still in­cludes read­ing, writ­ing and math.

‘‘I went to the prin­ci­pal and the board,’’ she said. ‘‘I showed them all the re­search, I showed them all the en­vi­roschool links, so they said ‘yes, just get creative with how you do your hand writ­ing, how you do your story writ­ing’.’’

And that she did - ‘‘hand writ­ing is ac­tu­ally some days in the sand pit and some days we’ve got water pis­tols and we’re do­ing the for­ma­tion of let­tersl,’’ Rova said. ‘‘We’ve got chalk and we’re on the walls be­cause they’re choos­ing what they want to do, and that’s their choice all day.’’


Thomas Calling­ham, Kar­los Robin­son and Leighton Har­ris and Paprika the dog are full of smiles in Room 13 at Strat­ford Pri­mary School.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.