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"Making Spaces for Children in New Zealand and Scotland"
 

“Making Space in New Zealand and Scotland”
Originally published by OECD’sPEB Exchange (2006/5)
.

  • Part 1: “New Zealand: The Importance of Outdoor Space” is adapted from an article published in Children in Europe (12.05) written by Anne Meade, Co-ordinator, Early Childhood Education Centres of Innovation, New Zealand Ministry of Education.
  • Part 2: “United Kingdom: A Multi-Faith, Multi-Needs Campus”was contributed by Fiona Ross, Media Officer, Glasgow City Council, UK.

The PDF of the full article located at this OECD link.

Introduction: “Education Facilities for Young Children”

“Educational buildings and grounds can provide a supportive and stimulating environment for the learning process as well as contribute to greater community needs. These issues were addressed at an international conference entitled “Making Space: Architecture for Young Children”. Described here are the importance of outdoor space to learning in New Zealand, presented at the event, and a campus for pupils in Scotland (United Kingdom) visited by conference participants.

Access to outdoor space is seen as essential to New Zealand children’s development. An early childhood education consultant explains how the early childhood curriculum is linked to both indoor and outdoor spaces, in line with socio-cultural learning theory.

A new campus in Scotland built to regroup several educational institutions for young children has been successful in uniting different faiths and integrating pupils with special needs.”

Further information about the conference is available in PEB Exchange no. 57, February 2006.

“New Zealand: The Importance of Outdoor Space”, by Anne Meade, Victoria University of Wellington College of Education, New Zealand

Excerpt:

“Maori knowledge has influenced the early education pedagogical practices in New Zealand. Te Whariki, the early years curriculum produced by the Ministry of Education in 1996, reflects Maori tradition: it is designed to be empowering, holistic, community-based, and fundamentally about reciprocal relationships with people, places and things.

The curriculum applies to infants and toddlers, as well as to pre-school-age children, and is bicultural and bilingual. It has two broad aims: to foster positive dispositions toward learning in children, and to facilitate children’s theorising about people, places and things. How children learn and positive dispositions toward learning are considered more important than what they learn.

Children are seen as active learners, and learning and teaching are seen to be reciprocal processes where often the teacher learns and the child teaches. The intended outcomes of these socio-cultural learning environments are for children “to grow up as competent and confident learners and communicators, healthy in mind, body and spirit, secure in their sense of belonging and in the knowledge that they make valued contributions to society” (Ministry of Education, 1996).

Space is seen as important for providing contexts for the processes of learning. Teachers think about and create areas for a rich array of experiences that encourage children to theorise about people, places and things, and areas for quiet reflection. …”

To read the rest of this article, download the PDF from OECD’s PEB Exchange.

*****

Part 2: “United Kingdom: A Multi-Faith, Multi-Needs Campus”

Excerpt:

“It has been two years since the doors of Keppoch Campus welcomed children from three different primary schools and a nursery. The new GBP 5.6 million campus is Glasgow’s first purpose-built, multi-faith, nursery, primary and special educational needs school. One of the head teachers describes the campus as a “community of communities”.

The opening of Keppoch Campus marked the culmination of a two-year project to educate Glasgow children with complex learning difficulties. And for the first time in Scotland, pupils with special educational needs can attend a mainstream school.

Since the beginning of term in October 2004, 365 children who previously attended the four separate facilities - St. Teresa’s, Saracen and Broomlea Primary schools as well as Keppoch Nursery - have worked and played together under one roof.

Keppoch Campus regroups a number of shared facilities including the playground, canteen and general purpose room - the children have plenty of opportunities to get to know one another and mix across the schools.

….

The staff are pleased with the new development. Saracen Primary’s head teacher, Evelyn Gibson, explains, “Every member of staff is embracing the benefits of the shared site. People are talking to each other, children are playing together, eating together, lining up together, sometimes learning together - it’s great.”

….

An important and encouraging aspect of the Keppoch Campus is that its youngsters are happy with their new surroundings.”

To read the rest of this article, download the PDF from OECD’s PEB Exchange.

March 6th, 2007
 

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