As we drove up to the school, we noticed the similarities between OPS and our school - both are in relatively new communities with OPS being open for two years now. The difference between the two schools was that Stonefields was built first and the community sprung up around it whereas the community around OPS was already there and were waiting for the school to open resulting in 100 learners starting the first day the school opened and the roll now sitting around 340 learners.
Caroline took us on a tour of the school where we walked all the learning environments. Some of the stand out points for me were:
- There is a clear succession plan for learners with Ormiston Senior High already built and Ormiston Junior High being built. As we walked into the library, we stood in the beginning of the cultural walkway which will link all three schools.
- All the learning spaces have the similar layout allowing learners to make clear decisions about both the type and style of learning they wish to do. It was great to see learners engaged in a variety of different learning experiences.
- Within the learning spaces, there is a mix of fixed and flexible furnishing. I found this mix to be responsive to the needs of both the learners and the teachers.
- Another interesting element is that the entire school operate on the same timetable. There is the flexibility within these blocks to integrate all parts of the curriculum into the design of learning.
- The school also has a KDEC (Kelston Deaf Education Centre) unit attached to it and a lot of the learnings from here are evident in the other learning spaces like teachers switching the lights off to gain all learners attention and the environments being conscious of visual disturbances in them.
It was a very insightful day for me, especially with how I use the learning environment. We have been invited to go back and connect with the school's PRTs to share learnings about operating in an ILE and I can see this would be very beneficial for my practice.