A.S. Matheson has been engaged in a multi-year spirals of inquiry journey of reflection at all levels. We created an image to represent the whole child at ASM. Our team wears this image as a reminder that we all need to work together in team to support our learners. There is not one educator who can do this work alone and the puzzle piece represents each one of us coming together to support the learners. The thought bubble represents the work we are doing around reflection and developing creative and critical thinking skills. We encourage our learners to be curious and share their wonders in all that they do. The heart in the hand to represent belonging and wanting all of our learners to feel that they belong at ASM. The light bulb represents ideas and the learning for all of us at ASM. Adults are always modelling learning, reflection, how to deal with challenges that come our way and persevering.
The successes and learning experienced through this process have encouraged us to continue to look at what is going on for our learners, reflect on our own practices as educators and on the learning needed to continue this work and grow. We continue to look at developing structures and strategies to better transition our earliest learners into our school. We have been looking closely at the social-emotional component of the curriculum and designing environments that will support all children as they make one of the largest transitions in their lives. With explicit learning intentions, students are learning to communicate what they are able to do, what they are working on and where they need further support.
In every scan, it was evident that staff, students and parents could all identify people within the building that believed they would be successful. Parents communicated that our focus was on what was in the best interest of each child to be sure their needs were met and that students would feel successful. What we started to ask ourselves in each spiral was…do our students believe in themselves?
With this question in mind, we started to ask students, parents and staff what kind of learners we wanted at A.S. Matheson. What does it mean to be an A.S. Matheson Firebird? After significant work, all stakeholders communicated the desire for our students, their children, to be "confident" learners. Students also wanted to be "confident" in themselves as learners and be seen as socially responsible individuals. As a part of our initial scan, we defined what a "Confident Learner" looked like, sounded like and felt like. After defining this, it was very clear that our definition both aligned with the Core Competencies and could be supported by the local story of the Four Food Chiefs. As a staff, we have created and implemented a self-reflection tool for students to use to reflect on themselves as learners and on their growth with the Core Competencies. While reflection is a challenging skill to develop, as a staff we continue to examine our own practices to further develop these skills in our learners. We believe that when students are able to reflect on their own learning and identify their next steps and create goals, their competence and confidence will grow.
Embedding the story of the Four Food Chiefs in our overarching school goal of supporting the confidence of all learners, is an indigenous story that speaks of how the people will exist and work together within our community. The story is an inclusive story that allows all learners to see themselves within our community. Our reflection work through the Four Food Chiefs, invites all learners to reflect, connect and develop a sense of belonging within their classroom and greater school community. The Four Food Chiefs allow learners to move between each of the chiefs throughout different learning experiences, over the course of a term and throughout the year. Regardless of age, gender, religion and culture, there is space for all learners to see themselves within the story of the Four Food Chiefs.
We now continue to focus on the confidence of our learners through the core competencies and growth over time. Educators are intentionally working to embed reflection throughout the school day so that it becomes a habit, rather than an event. Reflections and student self-assessment is now mandated through the Ministry of Education reporting order and are provided to parents with learning updates each term. We have engaged an educator from Australia, Alice Vigors, to engage with our team around reflection and creating action plans for our own learning and guiding our own learning with evidence from student voice.