The Antipodean Village Connections Blogger wishes to nominate eight very community-minded schools in Hornby, Christchurch, New Zealand for a Village Connections Ladder Award. The nomination is being made because of their local networking to share resources in what can be seen as an “Urban Village” cluster.
Their “local networking” model is one that should be able to be developed to very good effect anywhere in the world. This very forward-looking experiment opens up new horizons as to what can be accomplished when previously separate educational institutions begin to network their teacher talents and other resources.
Richard Edmundson the principal of Hornby High School describes the overall goal of project. “The vision” he says, “was to integrate all levels of education in the area, to enable “a smooth transition from early-childhood centres through to high school and tertiary levels.” (“Hornby schools share resources in cluster” in The Christchurch Press 8 October, 2011. The information in this blog is drawn from that article).
Hornby, he also says, “is an urban village and we want to ensure we are doing the best for our kids.’’
The project involves local teachers coming together to build up a common understanding. Teachers from participating schools attend workshops, such as writing and maths, “to cement a ‘shared understanding’ of expectations in the classroom between the different schools, he said.”
‘‘It’s about sharing teaching practices between centres and about tailoring it to the needs of children in the Hornby community,’’ Mr Edmundson said.
Sporting and recreational facilities are also shared, enhancing local student bonding across the schools. Hornby Primary School principal Gary Roberts also said how the schools had been sharing various facilities, and neighbouring Hornby High pupils had been coaching primary school sports teams. “Team Hornby” at all levels will be one to watch!
Local networking also enables local students to benefit from stimulating educational amenities offered by the wider city.
In a recent initiative, Christchurch city’s Science Alive trust was brought to Hornby to conduct a robotics for 28 ‘‘gifted and talented’’ year 6 to 10 pupils from the eight schools. Mr Edmundson pointed out how coming together in this way provided the “critical mass to get Science Alive here.’’
The Antipodean Village Blogger is also nominating Science Alive for a Village Connections Ladder for its plans to move to where it can become an integral part of post-earthquake Christchurch technology development. As Science Alive contributes and learns more from such wider city development, this will further enhance what it can bring into local areas like Hornby when it works in with them in the future.
An infrastructure of networks and practices for some very smart networking, from very local to city and ultimately also to global levels, could be in the making here.
Your views (see below) and nomination for a Ladder of Shovel Award are most welcome