Selwyn primary school at cutting-edge of education

20:42, Feb 26 2013
Kayleigh McCallum, left, Catherine Drummond, Kahu Agnew and Seth Collins-Craig work on bean bags next to the window into the internal courtyard.

Clearview Primary's new cutting-edge teaching block is providing a glimpse of what education could look like in the changing landscape of post- earthquake Canterbury.

The rapidly growing school in Rolleston is the first in the South Island to have the facility, which could be the norm for new schools built by the Ministry of Education.

With wall-less classrooms and kids given the freedom to choose where they want to work, whether in quiet rooms, the courtyard, or sitting in beanbags, the flow- through block mixes students from different classes and allows teachers to work together to deliver programmes.

Staff travelled to Australia and Auckland last year to view teaching in the new environment, and they and the students are excited by it.

Year 5 and 6 team leader, Bianca Jones, said they trialled the teaching methods in an older, slightly more traditional block last year (the school is only three years old), but the new rectangular building is more suited to it.

The pupils work in colour-zoned corners and students get to know other classes, as well as other teachers, better than in a traditional building.


Ms Jones said it was a fantastic working environment, because teachers could work together and draw on each other's strengths.

It was the new definition of teaching space and she expected other educators to come through to see how the school functioned as the time for rebuilding came closer in Canterbury.

Year 5 and 6 teacher, Larissa Lutterman, said children could be more independent about where they studied and teachers could work more closely, as she did with a colleague in the same zone or corner.

"It is teaching to the power of two, and is a real change in philosophy. I love it, " she said.

Behaviour management has not been an issue, but there are slideable doors to close if needed.

The children are aware of the noise they make and there is the feeling help from other teachers is always there.

Ms Lutterman said that in team teaching, one teacher could direct the lesson and another could move around to help the children.

The teachers can also give their specialist skills in workshops in which kids can choose to take part.

The student reaction in her class was positive. Being surrounded by new furniture and lots of new equipment was a thrill, as was being able to work with others outside their class and with different teachers.

For Brook McPherson, who came from earthquake-damaged Freeville School in Christchurch only this year, the change might have been the most marked, but the open environment meant she was able to meet a lot of her new schoolmates quickly.

(Live Matches)