One of the most exciting aspects about leading the MacKillop Family is the opportunity to help in growing a community of learners who will be ready, skilled and able to live and contribute into the future – a future we can only imagine! So what makes our school so special?
At MacKillop, we are an Innovative Learning Environment and a school with a physical design and a learning philosophy unlike the norm. Our school and every learning space within it, has been designed so as to provide our students with a more flexible and agile learning environment – one which provides every child with the best possible learning outcomes. Coupled with new and exciting teacher pedagogy and practices, we can meet the individual needs of our students in targeted ways that develop our students’ personal best.
In an Innovative Learning Environment (ILE), our open planned, shared learning spaces, with the latest technology and a variety of furniture, all contribute to a very different environment compared to the traditional classroom environment you will see in other Cairns state or catholic schools. From the time our students begin their learning journey in Prep, right up until they graduate, every student, every teacher and every year group, will live, learn and love in the MacKillop innovative way!
Our learning spaces are creative and dynamic, and foster deeper learning conversations with our children. Typically, the students do not have their own desks, rather they have classroom furniture which can include bean bags, desks, chairs, cushions, lounge suites, high tables, jelly bean tables and other creative seating options. This immediately eliminates the need for students to have one single desk where he/she puts their belongings and sits for hours each day. A student participates within the learning space and with teacher guidance, will work in the area best suited to his/her accomplishing the required learning. A formal handwriting task will therefore be done at a formal desk and chair, but a research task which has a student talking to a group of people about the question to be answered may be worked on at a high table or on a mat where a group can sit comfortably together. Or maybe they will be working outside in one of our avenues, with different members of the whole year group, all working in mixed groupings. The options will be set up collaboratively by the students and the teachers as they develop their learning intent together.
Our teachers work in teams to generate learning experiences that stimulate the students’ thinking and develop their independence as young learners, and they are excited at how our students are thriving under this flexible and agile learning environment. The teaching and learning philosophy at MacKillop ensures our students have the collaborative, communicative, creative and critical thinking skills of 21st century learners. Our teachers plan for large groups, small groups, students working in pairs and independent work tasks. Students identify not just one teacher as theirs, but recognise the team of adults, as those who facilitate their learning and guide them through engaging problem solving and learning tasks.
We want our students to develop skills in collaborative projects, have an ease with communication and technology and have a genuine love of learning. We need our children practised in thinking critically and creatively for the world they will live and lead in. Therefore, we can’t rely on traditional pedagogy. If we want adaptability and creativity as key attributes, we need the type of learning and teaching activities that take place at Mackillop in our purposefully designed innovative learning spaces. If we want to nurture students who are creative innovators, independent thinkers, problem solvers with strong social skills, and the ability to adapt, we have to ‘tear down the walls’ of the traditional single cell classroom and embrace the design of our school which better reflects the world in which our children will live, work and contribute.
Thank you for your continued support as we learn, grow and love at MacKillop Catholic College, Mt. Peter. Thank you for joining this innovative journey!