21st Cen­tury learn­ing block

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - LUKE KIRKEBY

Things have cer­tainly been brought up to date at Bishop Ed­ward Gaines Catholic School in Toko­roa now that its new in­no­va­tive learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment class­room block is open.

The aim of the block,which has been named af­ter for­mer Toko­roa res­i­dent Bishop Takuira (Max) Mariu who was the first Maori Bishop of New Zealand and aux­il­iary bishop of Hamil­ton, is to of­fer a more flex­i­ble learn­ing space for the stu­dents.

‘‘It is not open plan, we are not barn style, but there is a lot more teacher col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the classes at each end and the kids go be­tween them too for ex­ten­sion and re­me­dial sup­port learn­ing,’’ prin­ci­pal He­len Mcguigan said.

‘‘Stu­dents can also move the fur­ni­ture around and there are op­tions for kids who like to stand, sit or who pre­fer the floor. We even have a bean bag cor­ner,’’ she said.

Mcguigan said it al­lowed the stu­dents to work in a 21st Cen­tury en­vi­ron­ment.

‘‘Ev­ery­thing is quite dig­i­tal too and it is a big part of teach­ing and learn­ing. We have got re­ally ro­bust Wifi and the kids have got Chrome­books and ipads, ‘‘she said.

‘‘We have also talked about set­ting up dif­fer­ent spa­ces within the class­room with a quiet col­lec­tive cave area space, camp fire area where you have got the guru do­ing the teach­ing and sto­ry­telling around the board, and the wa­ter­hole which are the col­lab­o­ra­tive spa­ces.’’

‘‘Year one to eight are us­ing the class­rooms and it’s a huge thing en­sur­ing we have 21st Cen­tury learn­ing fa­cil­i­ties for our stu­dents,’’ she said.

She said the ar­chi­tect de­signed the build­ing to be in keep­ing with Toko­roa’s tim­ber town im­age.

‘‘We have got [in­ter­nal ex­posed] macro­carpa sup­port posts in the class­rooms and pine poles out­side so it is fit­ting with the town, ‘‘she said.

Mcguigan said with the cold win­try weather, hav­ing the new block open couldn’t have come at a bet­ter time.

‘‘It is a huge thing at this time of year hav­ing in­su­la­tion, dou­ble glaz­ing and a heat pump. We are all cozy and it is clean, bright and vi­brant,’’ she said.

It was clear by the beam­ing smiles on stu­dent faces just how much they were en­joy­ing the new learn­ing space.

‘‘It’s primo as the old ones were just one room and now we have like four spa­ces,’’ one said.

PHOTO: LUKE KIRKEBY/ FAIR­FAX NZ

Bishop Ed­ward Gaines Catholic School prin­ci­pal He­len Mcguigan with stu­dents in the bean bag cor­ner of one of the school’s new in­no­va­tive learn­ing en­vi­ron­ments.

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