Being a Learner
St. Ebbe’s is a learning organisation. We are interested in collaborating to realise our vision for education and to enable each member of our learning community to thrive. We are continually learning how to do things better, by considering research evidence and listening to feedback from our community. Central to our ethos at St. Ebbe’s is the notion that each unique child who steps into our school aged 4, brings with them an undiluted curiosity, is full of questions about the world and has a thirst for learning more. Our pledge to parents is that we will nurture and grow their children’s curiosity during their time at St. Ebbe’s.
We consider every child a genius
We recognise that each child will bring their own uniqueness and curiosities to St. Ebbe’s and will follow their own learning path, progressing in a non-linear way in different areas of learning and we make it our quest to guide and support them in this.
The word ‘genius’ is Latin and originally meant, ‘The attendant spirit present from one’s birth, innate ability or inclination’. Based on this definition, every child has genius within them and is is our job to find out or uncover children’s passions and abilities whatever they may be as well as to create a classroom and school culture which encourages children to ask questions and express their views.
We ask the question, ‘What are your passions? What would you do all day if you could?’, at the start and at each transition.
We build compassionate relationships
At St. Ebbe’s we focus first and foremost on building and modelling excellent relationships with each other and the children in our care. We treat everyone with ‘unconditional positive regard’. We make it our business to be bothered about and have shared responsibility for each individual, and to go the extra mile to help them thrive. We model compassion through our words and actions when interacting with each other and with children, and we recognise that all human behaviour is communication.
We focus on the learning process
We treat trials and challenges as opportunities for learning and growth. There is only learning. We allow time for children to focus on the process rather than just the end result. We teach them that learning is hard, that it brings setbacks where doubt creeps in and we tell ourselves we are not good enough. We can be led to believe that learning is smooth path to the end goal, when in fact, from learning to walk, to learning to drive a car, there are setbacks and challenges along the way which we have to overcome to master new skills.
We explicitly model the attitudes and dispositions needed to be a successful learner long term and ensure our classroom habits and implicit messages we give children are consistent with providing an environment conductive to developing them. You may hear your child use the term ‘growth mindset’, which you can find more out in the video below.
We believe every child can succeed regardless of background or SEND and give each child access to challenging tasks. We are empathetic when they struggle rather than make them feel ashamed of failure, so that we have the strength to face the set backs, respond to feedback in the pursuit of excellence and work in an agile way towards an end result.
We value knowledge and humanity equally
Humanity and knowledge are seen as inseparable and mutually reinforcing aspects of the whole curriculum, not as distinct elements that need to be vying for attention or “kept in balance”.
Teachers provide a balance of teaching children new knowledge and discovery learning, all the while remaining conscious of modelling and strengthening those attitudes and dispositions shown to have longer term impact on children’s capacity for learning.
The vehicle to achieve this for us is to put the stories of humankind (real or imagined) at the heart of curriculum planning and captured within a compelling Inquiry Question – both with the aim of children becoming more compassionate, connected and empathetic but also with the research in mind which suggests that stories are privileged in the human mind (Willingham). This means that children are more likely to remember the knowledge we teach them or that they have created themselves.