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The Vision of Learning

Published on 15/03/16

Building on the previous blog post, ‘Learning is not confined inside the walls of a classroom’, this post will talk about the different learning types that are taken into consideration in the Pre-prep School and how these adhere to the Stephen Perse Foundation (SPF) curriculum wheel.

Allocated time for ‘learning to know’ combines general knowledge within the study of subjects which in turn corresponds to all disciplines in the Stephen Perse curriculum wheel.

‘Learning to do’ is also fundamental in the Pre-prep - our pupils develop the ability to adapt to a variety of different situations as well as learning to work in collaboration and building up their confidence with resilience.

Values that combine the personal responsibility for the attainment of common goals and the need to ‘learn how to live together’ in an interdependent world while understanding other people, can be found in the outer ring of the SPF curriculum. Values can be learnt. Values can be taught. Values need to be practised in order to be embedded in children's education. ‘Learning to be’ and ‘learning to live together’ are part of the Pre-prep curriculum through Service-Learning projects.

The citations relative to the four pillars of learning are all taken from Delors et.al. Learning the Treasure Within (1996) and the Rethinking Education: Towards a Common Global Look? (2015).

IMG_0729Service-Learning

What is Service-Learning? What do children learn in Service-learning? Ms Kelleher introduced the term in a blog post in 2013, ‘Learning service or service-learning’.

Service-Learning is defined as a ‘teaching and learning methodology that incorporates the knowledge, skills and values in one sole activity’ (Moral Education Research Group, University of Barcelona, 2011).

During the academic year 2015-16, Year Two pupils started building relationships with elderly people who live in a care home near the school. Even though our pupils had previously visited them to sing Christmas carols, they did not have a close relationship with them. In order to focus on the development of the values in the outer ring, we planned a literacy service-learning project with the St George Care Home.
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Our students used their skills to think of interesting questions to interview the elderly people about their lives in Cambridge and children used this information to write fictional eBooks with the iPads. During this learning process we focused on ‘learning to know’ the features of fiction books while children ’learn to do’ different skills, such as working in teams; improving iPads skills and gather information from others. Participating in an intergenerational service-learning strengthened the relationship with the elderly people. It allowed our children to ‘learn to live together’ with other people that are part of our community while they exchanged some quality time together reading books. The last pillar of learning, ‘learning to be’ - to develop the human potential to its fullest - flourished at the end of the literacy service-learning project, when experiences were interchanged and new bonds were made: ‘get well soon’ cards and Christmas presents were given from the children to the residents.

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At the same time, we have seen waiting lists created for participating in volunteering art workshops once a term, at the Visual Arts Centre, with the residents and the Sixth Formers. This is, in fact, evidence that children enjoyed and valued the service-learning project, where they were exposed to the four pillars of learning. In that sense, Service-learning offers an excellent opportunity to develop a holistic education, from a humanistic point of view.

As an educator, I feel now the responsibility to continue fostering these values throughout the Pre-prep and asking the participants of Service-Learning - children and residents - what they would like to learn next?

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You can read about our experience in these two short articles posted on the school website:

Making New Friends

Old New Friends

Follow the link below to download the books or play the video to hear children read you the stories:

Pre-prep write fictional e-books

To read more about other Service-Learning projects currently developing around the world, consult the following pages: Service-Learning in the U.S. (www.servicelearning.com), Latin America (www.clayss.org.ar) and Catalonia (www.aprenentatgeservei.org).