Preparing for the future
Zig Zag Public School introduced flexible learning spaces to enhance the implementation of future-focused teaching pedagogies in their existing building.
Location: 23 Victoria Ave, Lithgow
Level: Primary School, Kinder to Year 6
Enrolment: 97 students (7 language background other than English (LBOTE) students and 19 Aboriginal students)
Zig Zag Public School is in Oakey Park, Lithgow. The student population has grown over the past 6 years from 45 to 100. There are four, cross-stage classes. We have 7 language background other than English (LBOTE) students and 19 Aboriginal students. Zig Zag Public School staff have a committed approach to the school with a great depth of history. Many past school families are very active in their continued support of our school.
Our school prides itself on recognising diversity and valuing differences amongst our students. All school programs have a high emphasis to uphold the mission statement of 'Learning for Life'. The school has an established environmental education program with involvement in many environmental initiatives, including the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program. We have a commitment to providing our students with hands-on experiences to apply and develop 21st century skills in realistic settings.
Zig Zag Public School has a long history of engaging students in whole school activities. Our school is in a beautiful, historic building, surrounded by bush and three levels of grassy playgrounds. In 2012, we started incorporating technology into whole school activities. From here we developed an approach to ensure that they explicitly develop 21st century skills. These activities usually involve students working in mixed age groups to create or be involved in a final product or experience.
In conjunction with the development of a whole school planning template for 21st century projects, we reviewed our learning spaces to enable them to be used effectively for collaboration. We gathered student opinion about learning spaces, and decided on beginning with the shared space of our IT lab. After experiencing success with this space, it flowed out into the corridor and continues to spread to other areas of the school.
The flexible learning space also supports learning approaches we were using in Literacy through the implementation of L3 pedagogy, from K-6. With students engaged in a range of self-selected activities in various locations, we find that the flexible spaces support this effectively. We recognise that as learning and teaching pedagogies change, so do the way we want to use our space. The flexible learning space approach helps to fit learning into a bigger area than simply the walls of the classrooms, that date back to 1891. We continue to seek feedback from students and teachers as to how the space is supporting learning. This can be through looking at student work samples, or using photo elicitation. Flexible learning spaces at Zig Zag Public School are an on-going journey and are evolving to fit current whole school projects or class activities.
Classroom Teacher Tiffany Sirisisavath, TIFFANY.OHARA@det.nsw.edu.au
To access a visual representation of this journey, download the Zig Zag Public School - Preparing for the future infographic (PDF 48.97KB).
Guiding research and readings
- Flexible Learning Space by Design - professional development course at Futures Learning Unit
- Google Apps for Education - Learning Tools Selector
- L3 Pedagogy training
- Buck Institute for Education website