Over the past 5 years BIS has been going through some amazing growth. There is an obvious need in the community for a school that both encourages intellectual excitement as well as allowing the social and emotional needs of the child to flourish through an exploratory learning framework.
Growing into our Expedition
Our five year plan has been to slowly increase in numbers to allow us the flexibility to fully run our inquiry based and skills mastery program to its best iteration. This year realises our vision, with a cohort of 80 starting the year and all five rooms working with a discrete developmental stage or transition stage. Each group is designed to either consolidate their developmental stage (Kestrels and Otters) or to explore new perspectives of the world (Penguins and Dolphins).
This full span of developmental stages allows for all the experimentation of the last five years to reach fruition as we gently launch our learning framework. The first step begins with teaching the children the language to describe the learning process; the metaphor of exploration fits the BIS Expedition Framework.
Step 1 – The Expedition Terminology
The five classes are being introduced to the idea of exploring from their first stop of the day: their home classrooms. Renamed “Base-camps”, these home rooms are for students and teachers to meet and plan for the day. The plans are drawn from each class Map (overview) of learning for the term as well as individual student Maps (individual interests or needs). The students will be exploring these Maps to discover new ideas as well as ensuring that their “Skills and Training” are developing as would be expected.
This early language describes in detail their process of learning, in a manner that will make sense to them in their concrete reality, where ideas need to be based in the senses. The imagery of the Explorer is richly developed for the students with these terms being introduced:
- setting up in Base Camp (orienting to the day and preparing through discussion);
- choosing the Map and Journey (a record and plan of their own individual needs as well as the general class inquiry);
- planning the Skills and Tools they need (specifying what they need in direct instruction and lessons);
- getting the Crew together (clarifying who they need to work with or have a lesson from), and;
- planning the Schedule and Checkpoints (the process and timeline).
Although still providing appropriate coverage of the Australian Curriculum, the BIS Expedition framework allows students to explore even more deeply whilst gaining mastery across the curriculum and having a whole heap of fun exploring!
This powerful concrete sensory journey culminates at the end of the day with our Study Of Self program as students engage in the “Return” phase of their learning, coming back to Base-camp after a big day or exploring and mastering skills. They have time to reflect on their day, focus and relax as well as orienting their ideas for the next day.
The exploring nature of the BIS learning framework sets our students up for a life of journeying, with the tools and skills they need to thrive stored in their travel packs as well as the encouragement to be courageous. We cannot wait to see how they enjoy this new way of exploring their learning.
This was just a tiny taste of the richness of the BIS Expedition Learning Framework, so please look at our events for upcoming sessions with Jen Haynes our Principal.