21st Century learning block
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.
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.