One of the most exciting opportunities I have had at Northern Bay College is to drive the Kids as Catalysts program. The program asks students to identify and solve problems in their local community through the formulation and implementation of community actions. Students identify what is important to them, form teams and then link in with a community partner to collaboratively plan and run an action.
Through this program students have increased confidence, self-esteem, independence and belief that they are important. They also have opportunities of real-life application of speaking and listening skills, written communication, budgeting and collaboration. Links between students, schools, parents and the community have been visibly strengthened through this program. It is also an opportunity for parents to be involved in the school in a non-threatening way as they are invited to watch the Pitch and Showcase presentations.
This is the best example of a learning opportunity that fosters student voice and agency that I have been involved in during my teaching career.”
Teacher, Northern Bay College
‘I know the children. And I know their friendship groups. I loved that they were all working with students they wouldn’t normally be with. I loved how some students really shined today. Some of these students wouldn’t shine in other activities in the classroom. Student were very supportive of each other, and respectful of each other. They were all in the same boat.
There was a definite sense of ownership. Students have a great agency – they’ve been active learners. Instead of being told these are your options and this is what you are going to do, they’ve had be in the bottom of the learning pit and struggle and learn how to be problem solvers and move themselves forward. Children don’t often get that authentic opportunity to do that. So they’ve been real agents of their own learning.”
Campus Principal, Northern Bay College
‘I saw a lot of inspirational kids. I’ve been to your presentations before and it is so heart warming to see these kids – they’re the future and they’re making these decisions about what they can change in their community, rather than just deciding it’s someone else’s responsibility. They’re learning they don’t have to wait for someone else to make these things happen. These kids are going to have a sense of ownership about the work they have done.
Some of the projects were wonderfully imaginative. One group are working with a group of residents with acquired brain injury – who would have thought you’d do pass the parcel, but it was incredibly successful and I know that the older residents loved having the kids there. A lot of the projects were dealing with difference, diversity and fairness and what is so fabulous is that the kids are driving it.”
Chair, William Buckland Foundation