Fairholme College Year 1 students Emma Dedes, Sophie Stains and Pippa Crockett are having fun while they learn about maths, but they’re also currently part of an initiative that will help shape learning resources for more than 150 schools.
The prestigious Toowoomba all-girls school’s junior classes have been observed by major schoolbook creator Origo Education, which has recently partnered with Fairholme.
The Brisbane-based company is currently creating new learning resources for schools across Australia, based on the new draft curriculum by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) and its observations of several schools.
The new approach, which has included feedback from schools, educators and textbook companies, will focus less on knowledge and memory-based learning and more on how mathematical principles are applied in the real world.
Fairholme head of junior school Erin Tonscheck said the school had played a role in assisting at a federal and state level.
“We’re also on the state (Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority) body regarding the national curriculum and Fairholme was also selected to help map the updated curriculum with ACARA to see if it would still fit,” she said, “So we’ve invested hundreds of hours in checking that and we’ve had every teacher read every subject so we can see in the adjustments the things that could be tweaked.
“It’s a bit exciting to be a school that’s providing that feedback in at that level.”
Origo Education senior author Peter Stowasser, who was observing Fairholme’s teachers to inform its future learning journals, said the draft curriculum was a step in the right direction.
“The biggest change is the way that they want kids to start thinking about,” he said.
“Those are ideas like computational thinking, mathematising, so seeing the maths in the world and representing that maths.
“I definitely think it’s a step in the right direction, so there is more good than bad.”
Mr Stowasser said Origo Education had already noted a number of ways it could possibly improve its future “learning journals”, based on observing schools like Fairholme. “A couple of themes have emerged around support for differentiation, so how can teachers differentiate an activity for all the learners in a classroom,” he said.
“It’s about creating a more flexible learning environment but it also ensures that every child’s needs are met.”