Te Ara Tūhura Newsletter

published by Mark Maddren

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Collaborative Connected Community
Everyone preparing ākonga for the future, together
Newsletter Issue 1 July  2016
Te Ara Tūhura
Why a Cluster?
So everyone can prepare our ākonga for the future, together.
By being a connected, collaborative community.
So What?
Leading to greater ākonga engagement, wellbeing and achievement for all.
Stories from the Cluster
What: Emotion Coaching is an evidence-based way of responding to children’s emotions which has significant benefits to children’s overall development. (Emotional, behavioural, social, academic, physiological and health). Children become emotionally intelligent adults; emotional intelligence is now believed to be a better predictor of outcomes than intelligence. There is a growing international base for Emotion Coaching Programs e.g. in schools, counselling services, social service intervention organisations. Emotion Coaching: Children’s emotional and behavioural development can be viewed upon as if on a spectrum - behaviour being on one continuum and emotional stuff on the other end in terms of prevention. Kidsfirst Kindergarten Belfast are using Emotion Coaching in the daily teaching program, which aims to prevent problems (behavioural, emotional, social) developing in children, promote emotional competence, and when present, reduce and treat problems with children’s emotional/behavioural difficulties. Results: This has proved to be overwhelmingly successful with a child in particular with significant behaviour difficulties. We use is as part of our daily interactions with children and can overtly see the children’s emotional intelligence growing. It is based on the Tuning into Kids (TIK) parent program which teacher - Alissa Jardine at Belfast is a trained parent facilitator in within her work in early intervention. She also runs professional development for teachers on the topic.
Our Emotion Coaching Program
Alissa Jardine - Kidsfirst Kindergartens Belfast
Writing Moderation across the Cluster
Improving consistency in writing data and sharing good practice across the cluster
During the last year, the cluster has funded the opportunity for primary school teachers to come together from across the cluster to increase the teacher assessment capabilities and capacity.  This will help to develop consistent overall teacher judgements in the assessment of writing in relation to the National Standards. The hui focused on teachers sharing resources, ideas, working collaboratively to moderate samples of writing, using and sharing a range of assessment tools and the Literacy Learning Progressions to critique/moderate writing. This has led to more consistent assessment of writing across schools and within schools, stronger relationships between cluster schools and teachers and the sharing of knowledge and expertise across and within schools. Some of the feedback from schools South New Brighton School - The professional discussions held between the teachers was a real positive. The sharing of resources / ideas and the way various schools assess was extremely valuable. A well run day. Belfast -  Getting together with colleagues from other schools teaching the same level and sharing ideas for teaching writing was really beneficial. Having the time to discuss moderation of levels and justifications.
Early Childhood Teacher Exchanges Sharing teaching practice across the cluster
We have developed professional relationships with a couple of preschools in the cluster (we are working on connecting with more later in the year), and have arranged teacher swaps during the past month. Although a fair bit of planning was required to ensure the teachers were all accommodated appropriately,  It has proven to be a very valuable professional development opportunity for our staff. Our teacher's have had opportunities to reflect on what is happening in their own learning environments, and are able to critique areas of their own (or the centre's) practice that they would like to improve or change. The teacher swaps have provided new and interesting ideas for educators to use in our programme.  We have had incredibly positive feedback from our own and the teachers who have visited us so far, I highly recommend this as  away to provide some ongoing professional development for your teaching teams at no cost to the centre.
Rachel Allan - Bottlelake Preschool
Our Cluster Community