International Children's Day at Capricorn Primary School goes ABC!

Capricorn Primary School celebrated the launch of their Maths hub today, on International Children's Day.
This was the perfect day to host this event. Although the focus was on the Maths hub, we were given a snapshot of the integrated, strategic whole school development that is in place. Children performed dance and song items to celebrate their artistic gifts and the guests were taken on a guided tour to show how the school is living the Millennium Development Goals without the rhetoric. Powerful stuff. Many of the guests sat there, in awe and moved by the humility and the unapologetic celebration of the children by the school.
The Maths hub
The Maths hub was created to deepen the Maths teaching for learners by allowing dual teaching moments for Maths lessons. While half the class learns Maths in their dedicated classroom, the other half of the class goes to the Maths hub to be taught by a Maths teacher there. Nicky Roberts, who is one of the school 's Maths partners and who is currently reading towards her Ph.D in teaching mathematics summed up the purpose of the Maths hub: " Here we have a space with centralized equipment, a place for thinking, talking and solving our problems."
The power of this focus on Maths at the school is that it is a collaborative, community-driven project. Embedded in the Maths project is the entrepreneurial focus as well. The school has employed two artists, Dylan and Ricky to transform the outer spaces into a Mathematics-friendly environment. There is the measurement wall where learners can measure their height and monitor their own growth. On another wall there is a grid with massive sunflowers and blue sky with happy cauliflower clouds. On another, a colourful kite brings the concept of symmetry alive. The courtyard boasts enormous snakes and ladder boards and other games as well. These are but a few of the "Maths alive" walls.
Here one can see how Maths is a fundamental building block of life, infused in the DNA of our world. Just like nature, Maths has rhythm, patterns and predictability. And, if we disrupt the harmony in our world by creating imbalances or problems, we need an understanding of how to solve these. This is where Maths is key. As Nicky said, Maths is about solving problems. "As we work through our problems, we grow our brains and our thinking improves," she said.
Another pillar of the Maths focus project is the teacher development initiative. The entire Foundation Phase department is actively involved in improving their Maths knowledge and teaching skills. Here the partnership with Grove Primary school is central. Capricorn teachers are mentored and coached by their Grove Primary colleagues in a collegial arrangement. Class visits are done and teachers from both schools participate in interschool class teaching. The teachers will also be attending a Maths thinking course in January (still school holidays, may I add) as part of the enrichment journey.

Capricorn Primary is clearly demonstrating the 'art of possibility'. As Shauna, the deputy principal of the school said: " We want to celebrate the strides we are making to create an excellent learning space for our children, but more importantly we want to share our journey with our colleagues at our neighbouring schools to show them what is possible."

Shauna is the driving force behind this Maths focus project at the school. She is fully supported, encouraged and allowed to shape any project she embarks on, by her equally passionate Head, Sideeqa. Shauna is one of those educators that educational research academics probably have in mind. She loves children unconditionally, she is passionate about teaching and nurtures relationships. In fact, I would be bold to say Capricorn Primary has many of the elements of a learning organization. The school openly shares their difficult journey to develop their school that serves the poorest of the poor, but they vow never to surrender to the pressures of poverty, crime, unemployment and their associated pathological fallout.

A model of resilience
Today we saw that resilience, that commitment to protect the rights of children to receive quality education, even if they hail from squatter camps like Capricorn.

We salute you, Sideeqa and Shauna: keep pushing back because we are our children's keepers and they depend on angels like you, your staff and all the partners who are involved.



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