From the Principal

Princes Hill Primary School is located in inner-city Melbourne, with a capped enrolment of 450 children. Princes Hill has a diverse cultural and socio-economic student demographic. The diversity of the school community and the school’s culture of respect and care for others fosters a cooperative environment. The school is developing as a strong community through meaningful and authentic collaboration; this enables the children to shape the present and the future of their community.  The school’s intent is to foster the desire to continue to learn throughout life and the capacity to exercise judgement and responsibility in matters of morality, ethics and social justice by all members of the school community. Supporting our purpose are three core values: respect, learning and a sense of community. The school offers a range of programs and structures designed to facilitate student learning, engagement and social responsibility.  Children as participants in the 21st century need to understand themselves as learners, learn to work collaboratively, engage in new technologies, learn how to access new skills and knowledge and develop the skills of thinking creatively, laterally and critically. The school’s beliefs about learning, pedagogical practice, organisations structures and the physical environment reflect these core principles.

In 2009 the school community reviewed the school’s practices and procedures and outlined a plan to develop an ever evolving shared vision for the school.  The process involves understanding the reality of the context and exploring possibilities through dialogue within professional learning teams, professional learning experiences and networking. This has led to shared principles of learning which are continually reviewed and developed each year.  The current princplies are:

  • Children are active, important members of a variety of communities eg: family, school, ethnic cultures, multi-media and friendship groups – their understanding of the world develops through these social and cultural interactions
  • We learn through active participation, using the many forms of expression
  • We learn through critical engagement in complex, purposeful contexts where relevant connections are made to our world
  • We learn through consciousness of thought where we re-configure pre-existing undertandings and concepts
  • We develop mtovies to learn through positioning ourselves within social situations
  • We learn through the unity of emotions and intellect

New pedagogical practices are evolving to enact these principles through a focus on inquiry led research projects including approaches such as; learning agreement time involving negotiated learning, targeted learning, individual and small group conferencing and workshops with a focus on provoking thinking. This has involved reconceptualising all aspects of organisation including grouping of staff and students, curriculum content, time management and parent involvement.  Children and their team of teachers create a community of learners within a neighbourhood. Parents are active participants in all aspects of the school involved in committees, mentoring children using their areas of expertise such as Artist in Residence Programs and active participants in learning neighbourhoods. Children, parents and teachers are continually involved in active research, developing the evolving vision and practices of the school.  The intent is to create an organisation which responds to the curiosity and drive to understand by all the participants. This is a democratic and collaborative process in which the roles of all the participants are transformed, fluid and interchangeable. Curriculum is focused on exploring Big Ideas relevant to the community. Projects begin by exploring the communities’ pre existing understandings, sharing experiences to provoke new possibilities, determining and enacting a research project and sharing findings with the community. Documentation of projects in progress and completed projects is key to making the learning visible to all members of the community. The new and refurbished physical environments are designed to reflect and support the school’s principles and practices.

Esme Capp

Principal

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