Our Curriculum Design
Strengthening and developing key competencies is the fundamental goal of all learning at Limehills School.
Our curriculum is designed around ‘curriculum cornerstones’. These are key events in our school calendar (such as the Southland Speech Competition or Southland Science Fair) or key aspects of our local curriculum context (such as our school farm or enviroschool projects.)
We adopt an integrated approach to our curriculum design. Sometimes Literacy and Numeracy can be meaningfully integrated, but not always. Explicit learning progressions have been developed and a formal assessment schedule is in place for these core subjects.
All other Learning Areas are always treated with an integrated approach. This means that our learning is built around our ‘curriculum cornerstones’. Sometimes one or two Learning Areas are particularly prominent (eg PE in Term 1 or Science in Term 3) but teachers work hard to ensure a balanced curriculum over a two year period.
We are passionate about developing confident, connected, actively involved lifelong learners. As such, our curriculum is more and more about developing skills and attitudes and less and less about content knowledge - although we do believe knowledge is still important.
Our Values are explicit and visible in our curriculum. They are referred to by teachers, parents and students, and are therefore actively promoted, shared and upheld:
· Respect - We look after ourselves, our things, each other and our environment
· Integrity - We do the right thing even when nobody is looking
· Perseverance - We always try our hardest and never give up
· Participation - We have a ‘can-do’ attitude and play our part
· Empathy - We care about other peoples feelings
· Responsibility - We are reliable and show initiative
· Sportsmanship - We always play fairly and support each other
At Limehills School, our values are referred to as our ‘RIPPERS.’
Our enviroschool principles:
The enviroschool principles guide our curriculum planning across all learning areas:
We are interested, excited and happy to learn more about Māori culture. We remember it, share it and bring it into what we do at our school.
Respect for Diversity
We work together as a school community by respecting and celebrating other people and different cultures. We listen to everyone and share our ideas with empathy.
We feel we are part of the environment and work together with other people in our community to help us look after it. We can see our school becoming a more healthy environment with lots of trees, nature and things for us to discover. We know that we can make a difference to making our community a better place to live through all our action learning projects
Learning for sustainability
We learn about how the things in the environment work, how to look after them and why it is important to do this.
We work together with our teachers and other adults, to share our ideas, come up with better plans for the future of our school and our community and put these plans into action.
At Limehills School, these enviroschool principles are referred to as ‘MRS LE’
Our Key Competencies
Key Competencies are the capabilities people need to live, learn and make a contribution as an active member of our community. These key competencies are:
Is associated with self-motivation, a "can-do" attitude, and with students seeing themselves as capable learners. It is integral to self-assessment. Limehills students manage themselves, are enterprising, resourceful, reliable and resilient. They establish personal goals, make plans, manage projects, and set high standards. They have strategies for meeting challenges. They know when to lead, when to follow, and when and how to act independently.
Relating to Others
Is about interacting effectively with a diverse range of people in a variety of contexts. This competency includes the ability to listen actively, recognise different points of view, negotiate, and share ideas. Limehills students relate well to others, are open to new learning and able to take different roles in different situations. They are aware of how their words and actions affect others. They know when it is appropriate to compete and when it is appropriate to co-operate. By working effectively together, they can come up with new approaches, new ideas and new ways of thinking.
Participating and Contributing
Is about being actively involved. This competency includes a capacity to contribute appropriately as a group member, to make connections with others and to create opportunities for others in the group. Limehills students participate and contribute to local, national and global communities, have a sense of belonging and the confidence to make a difference for themselves and others. They understand the importance of balancing rights, roles and responsibilities and of contributing to the quality and sustainability of their activities.
Using Language, Symbols and Texts
Is about working with and making meaning of the codes in which knowledge is expressed. Languages and symbols are systems for representing and communicating information, experiences and ideas. Limehills students are competent users of language, symbols and text can interpret and use words, numbers, images, movement, metaphor and technologies in a range of contexts. They recognise how choices of language, symbol or text affect people's understanding and the ways in which they respond to communications. They confidently use ICT to access and provide information and to communicate with others.
Is about using creative, critical and metacognitive processes to make sense of information, experiences and ideas. Limehills students apply these processes to real purposes such as developing understanding, making decisions, shaping actions, or constructing knowledge. Intellectual curiosity is at the heart of this competency. Limehills students are competent thinkers and problem solvers and actively seek, use and create knowledge. They reflect on their own learning, draw on personal knowledge and intuitions, ask questions and challenge the basis of assumptions and perceptions.
Strengthening and developing key competencies in our pupils is central to and embedded in our professional practice at Limehills School. The key competencies are an explicit and visible aspect in our curriculum. However, key competencies are not ‘assessed’ at our school. Instead, pupils have the opportunity to reflect upon their own competencies using a peer assessment tool, which we call ‘competency stars’.