School 2018-06-19T18:07:38+00:00
School of Creative Education primary school

SoCE’s school

The School of Creative Education is establishing Australia’s first creative school from prep – year 12.

The aim of the school is to enable students to maximise their capacity to learn, grow and achieve in light of who they are, through the creative process rather than traditional academic processes.

The primary school will facilitate the Australian national curriculum, and the secondary school likely the International Baccalaureate, offering secondary students a global education.

SoCE will facilitate these curriculums through developmentally appropriate creative experiences that fosters students’ innate state of well-being and drive for creative and academic learning.

Our students will know, through repeated experience, that creativity is a learning journey and that whenever they are needing to learn and create something new, they will have the creative capacity to do so.

Did you know, we aim to be Australia’s first metro off-grid school?

School of Creative Education enrolling

Pre-enrolling in primary school

We are aiming to open the primary school, prep to year 6, at the beginning of term 1, 2019.

Currently our application for school registration is being submitted to the Victorian Registrations and Qualifications Authority.

We’ll keep you up-to-date every step along the way.

Being a brand new and unusual school, parents have many questions. Please call or email us with questions… 1300116654, jane@schoolofcreativeeducation.org.au

primary pre-enrolment form

Expressing interest in secondary school

Our intention is to grow up with the children who form the older cohort of the Maxwell primary school and apply to register their secondary school for years 7 and 8 to open 2019.

During 2020 and 2021, we will apply to register for years 9 and 10, and then 11 and 12.

We are likely to offer the International Baccalaureate curriculum in our secondary program rather than the Australian curriculum that Maxwell primary school is offering, to give the secondary students a global education.

If you would like to express interest in secondary education, please complete the form below. It is free to do so, and it means we can in touch with you while we work to create the school.

secondary school expressions of interest form

Information sessions

These information sessions are designed for parents looking for an alternative school for their children.

Friday 20th July, or Friday 17th August, 7.30pm, at 6 Rainy Hill Rd, Cockatoo.

At our sessions, we will:

  1. meet with some of the board and committee members
  2. find out from you what it is you are looking for your child’s education
  3. present the purpose of a creative school, its principles and practices and learning outcomes, and take a look at other creative schools from around the world
  4. answer your questions including school fees, structure and governance, environmental impact, reporting, facility development, growth projections, accessibility, inclusion, vaccinations, class structures, curriculum, and secondary education

AND have this discussion…

5. Creative Education compared with Academic Education

We’ll explore the characteristics of both creative education and academic education, and talk about the learning outcomes and future needs of both forms of education.

We hope to see you there, and we hope this session will give you clarity about your educational options.

love, Jane

Bookings

Location

At 6 Rainy Hill Rd, Cockatoo, Victoria, our school combines the outdoor spaces of a farm and natural landscape with the indoor space of a studio-style centre.  The combination of the two provides the potential of an amazingly creative experience rich with collaboration, problem solving and self-expression.

SoCE will enjoy a two to three year lease in Cockatoo, while we acquire and develop a permanent 25+ acre property more north-west, around Seville… our intention always to serve the community of the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges.

The Cockatoo site is on 4 acres on the corner of Rainy Hill Rd and Mountain Rd, and has:

  • a brand new school building
  • 3 over-sized classrooms
  • a community gathering space
  • full reception area
  • kitchens in every classroom
  • abundance of bathrooms including disability
  • abundance of storage
  • disability access
  • heating and cooling
  • internet
  • new playground
  • large asphalted basketball area

Why a creative school?

A social problem?

  • How are our kids going to create solutions when they are discouraged from seeing problems?
  • How are our kids going to generate new answers when they are discouraged from asking questions?
  • How are they going to regulate their freedoms when they are restricted in choice?
  • How are are kids going to co-create their culture after we’re gone, when they are expected to work on their own?

In the U.S.A., creative education is seen as a childrens’ rights issue.
We don’t talk about that here.

What we do talk about is the children who struggle in mainstream education. 25% drop out. Frustrated, intelligent, bored, creative, naughty, tenacious, they slip through the cracks. Most of these children display creative characteristics that often are constricted by the academic process.

On top of these arguments for creative education, research shows:

  1. global social, ecological and industrial sectors are calling loudly for more creativity
  2. our children are more likely to be able to deal with the social and ecological problems facing them if their creativity is empowered
  3. the creative industry is growing 40% faster than any other
  4. the creative process is an equally, if not more effective approach to learning as the academic process
  5. creativity and its capacities grow only by being creative… by being immersed and practiced.

For a list of the resources that have affected SoCE’s thinking, please click here. 

Philosophy

SoCE’s Mission

Our mission is to enable students to learn, grow and achieve in light of who they are through, the creative process rather than traditional academic processes.

SoCE’s Vision

Our vision is for our school to be a creative education and democratic ‘school of thought’ for creative students and adults on campus and online.

SoCE’s Values

Parents often ask how we are different to Steiner or Montessori education.

The ways in which we are different include:

  • the Australian curriculum
  • creative education… learning through the creative process rather than the academic processes
  • experiential and hands-on learning through inquiry that includes projects, problem-solving, collaborative, community, and studio-based learning
  • a democratic school… everyone governs, designs and shapes the nature of our school
  • self-directed learning with every student guided to fulfil an individual education program and individual and group projects
  • multi-age learning across home groups, compulsory literacy and numeracy, and specialist classes and studios
  • maker-space technologies in studio settings
  • animal, agricultural and conservation experiences on a large property
  • a union of a high-tech, high-eco environment (imagine a natural building with technology embedded)
  • student-lead social and ecological enterprises
  • local, national and international projects in the sciences and arts, and
  • the best global practices and principles of creative education.

Educational outcomes

For our children to enable their creativity, their education must be creative.

Our educational objectives are to enable each students’:

  • lifelong creative learning journey
  • capacity to identify and create solutions to problems
  • development of creative and co-creative capacities and capabilities
  • ability to co-create their society, environment and collective aesthetic
  • progression through curriculum levels, and
  • achievements of national benchmarks in literacy and numeracy

by facilitating and evaluating developmentally appropriate creative and democratic experiences that build upon students’ innate state of creativity and drive for creative and academic learning, and to ensure the school:

  • plans for and achieves improvements in these learning outcomes in the context of our creative and democratic learning community.

Australia’s Victorian government states in its 2015 Education State Consultation Paper, “Our economy is changing rapidly and we’re experiencing unprecedented demand for highly skilled and creative workers. Employers want a workforce that can think critically and creatively, apply skills that are relevant to industry, understand the world through the eyes of others, and work collaboratively to solve problems.”

The creativity agenda is here, and many schools around the world are educating to it. The difficulty is that creative education in the mainstream environment requires substantial changes in curriculum, delivery, and evaluation practice.

So, creative schools are being consistently created.

From across the globe, approximately 610 student-directed, learner-centred educational settings are registered with the Alternative Education Resource Organization in New York. AERO’s goal is to advance student-driven, learner-centred approaches in education. SoCE is registered with AERO, along with 12 other schools across Australia, and has developed supportive relationships particularly with
Fitzroy Community School in North Fitzroy and Koonwarra Village School in Koonwarra.

As an example, a review of research on inquiry-based and cooperative learning by Dr Brigid Barron and Dr Linda Darling-Hammond from Stanford University found, “Decades of research illustrating the benefits of inquiry-based and cooperative learning, helping students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in a rapidly changing world.”

The results they found include:
• “students learn more deeply when they can apply classroom-gathered knowledge to real-world problems, and when they take part in projects that require sustained engagement and collaboration
• active learning practices have a more significant impact on student performance than any other variable including student background and prior achievement
• students are most successful when they are taught how to learn as well as what to learn, and
• students learn increasingly important twenty-first century skills, such as the ability to work in teams, solve complex problems, and to apply knowledge gained through one lesson or task to other circumstances.”

References: 

Barron, Brigid, and Darling-Hammond, Linda. Teaching for Meaningful Learning: A Re-view of
Research on Inquiry-Based and Cooperative Learning. Stanford University. [Re-port] Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/pdfs/edutopia-teaching-for-meaningful-learning.pdf

State of Victoria Department of Education and Training. (2015) The education state; consultation paper. Retrieved from http://educationstate.education.vic.gov.au/explore-the-consultation-paper

Curriculum

The primary school facilitates the Australian national curriculum, and the secondary school will likely facilitate the International Baccalaureate to offer secondary students a global education.

Compulsory Literacy and Numeracy

Each student will be required to participate in compulsory, daily literacy and numeracy classes in multi-age groups designed to stages of development, reflecting all levels, before their day opens to the project work and specialist classes.

Specialist classes

Specialist classes in subjects of the Australian curriculum… arts, music, LOTE (AUSLAN), sciences, health and physical education, studies of society and environment, technologies… and creativity, will be facilitated by home-group educators, specialist educators, and members of the community volunteering with Working with Children Checks.

Creative Education… our learning and teaching method

The creative process is possibly mans’ most natural teacher. Learning through it about us, the world and our relationship with it is an effective, efficient learning method with a growing body of global research behind it.

Creativity requires the integration of the creative person, the creative process, and the creative product. These three elements generate a creative experience, and this experience informs and builds skills, knowledge, and creative capacities.

Creativity is a pathway into projects including academic research and is also rich with collaborative, democratic, and community engagement opportunities. It also enables the growth of creative capabilities and practices that academic methods don’t promote.

Inquiry-based learning

In creative education, inquiry-based learning integrates a democratic environment. Inquiry-based learning incorporates many learning methods, each one slightly different to another. They are experiential and personalised by nature.

They include:

  • project-based learning
  • place-based learning
  • problem-solving learning
  • passion-based learning
  • team-based learning
  • studio-based learning
  • community-based learning, and
  • design-based learning.

Self-direction is the experience and responsibility of the creative, and usually their greatest desire. In school, it is experienced personally and communally, as each student is encouraged to participate in the design and development of their culture, facilities, programs and projects.

Project-based learning

Implementing the creative process, students are required to:

  1. prepare project plan
  2. document the development of their project from an inner and outer point of view
  3. create the project
  4. reflect upon and evaluate their learning outcomes including skill development, new knowledge, and understanding of self along the way with their educator, and
  5. exhibit or present it formally to the project’s beneficiary (if any) and the school community.

passion process

Projects

Students will participate in self-directed, personalised, individual and concurrent projects called

  • Gift Enhancement Projects, which seek to enhance a unique, natural ability of a student
  • Knowledge Enhancement Projects which seek to enhance a student’s innate curiosity about one area of the world, without judgement
  • Zen Enhancement Projects which seek to enhance each student’s ability to build strategy for zen-out time, through a project that may be in the crafts, sciences or sports

Projects will be formed by small groups or classes, and the full school community. Projects can partner with and / or benefit local, national and international communities. Many projects will have a view to a social or ecological solution to a question, inquiry and problem.

These projects do not work in isolation or act as rewards for other learning or behaviour, rather they are integrated into daily learning experiences.

Portfolios

Over their time, students develop a digital portfolio of projects which demonstrate students’ creative, academic, and entrepreneurial achievements.

This portfolio contains evidence of progress through the Australian curriculum and International Baccalaureate. Students upload evidence of their learning twice a term. Students may choose to add to their portfolio more often. Students and educators will include work samples that reflect subjects, as well as Zen Enhancement, Knowledge Enhancement and Gift Enhancement projects. Creative and experiential learning may be recorded as voice recording, video or photos. Documentation regarding inquiry plans and design projects will also be required in the portfolio.

Democratic education

Democratic education compliments and enhances creative education. It teaches students to employ and further enable their creative practices in a group setting.

Creative practices begin with the self. They include self-direction, self-regulation, self-governance, self-contemplation, self-evaluation, self-awareness. To offer them in a group setting means the group must also be self-directed, self-regulated, self-governed, self-contemplative, self-reflective, self-evaluative and self-aware… equaling a democratic learning environment.

Being a democratic school, students and staff will participate equally in whole school meetings where they will raise ideas and problems, and democratically decide for themselves their best courses of action.

The school body may use these meetings to consider establishing or enforcing their rules, build upon projects, or design and vote upon the nature of their school. The board of directors will focus their attention upon ensuring the business and well-being needs of the school are met, while the students and educators will be in the role of self-governance.

Definition

One of the organisations Jane worked with to create the SoCE model is the Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO) in New York. Jerry Mintz, AERO’s founder, says

“There is no monolithic definition of democratic education. But what we mean here is ‘education in which young people organize their daily activities, and in which there is equality and democratic decision-making among young people and adults’.”

(AERO’s Directory of Democratic Education)

Democratic meetings

Creative and democratic schools implement democracy in various ways, depending upon the nature (the experience and culture) of the school that the students, educators, committees and board are continuously building.

Weekly whole school meetings held in the community room bring students and staff together to raise ideas and problems, and democratically decide for themselves their best courses of action.

In effect, if the staff, students or committees want to solve a whole or partial school issue, come up with rules of engagement or enforce their rules, enhance resources for projects, develop whole or partial school project ideas, or vote upon the direction and design of their school, they must be proposed and decided upon at a democratic meeting.

As well as whole school meetings, spontaneous meetings can occur any time of the day on any weekday and will be called by the Initiator by a special bell ring across the school. Students and staff can elect to attend.

At each meeting, there is:

  • an agenda that can be added to any time
  • a chairperson (student preference)
  • a minute taker (student preference)
  • sharing of ideas, concerns and thoughts, then…
  • “If a minority opinion is indicated, others listen very carefully to that minority opinion, and allow it to be fully expressed, perhaps changing the decision of the whole group. But ultimately, if

they feel that the minority opinion is fully explored and that there is no options offered, the decision of the majority becomes the decision.” – Jerry Mintz

  • followed by voting…

“The meetings often make many creative decisions, decisions that might not be thought of by any individual operating on their own. It is important to note that we go into a meeting without having a pre-set idea about the decisions that the meeting “should” make, but rather, fully expect that the meeting will be greater than the sum of its parts, and may find a creative solution that no one individual could foresee.” – Jerry Mintz

democratic education

Individual Education Programs

IEPs reflect integrated creative education with the Australian curriculum and International Baccalaureate. In the primary school, within each IEP, inquiry-based learning is combined with the Australian Curriculum in the eight learning areas.

IEPS are designed to meet the individual learning needs of the student regardless of the level (grade) they have been placed within the school’s multi-age classes. Each student’s academic needs are assessed by the home-group educator at the beginning of the year using formal and informal assessments to determine the Australian curriculum levels to appropriately teach and suggest goals for.

Content

Each IEP contains learning outcomes stated as goals for the following Australian curriculum learning areas:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • The Arts
  • Health and Physical Education
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Language
  • Sciences, and
  • Information and Communication Technologies.

as well as Creativity; the subject.

The IEP also includes Gift Enhancement, Knowledge Enhancement, and Zen Enhancement projects within any of the eight key learning areas of the Australian curriculum, that may be developed by individuals, small groups, whole classes, or the whole school.

Implementation

Every term, each student will develop their Individual Education Programs (IEP’s) with their home-group educator, reflecting their goals and evaluation strategies (criteria) for their studies, weekly timetable for classes, and their projects. IEP’s are founded upon areas of interest, skill sets and diversity, through projects and subjects of the Australian curriculum.

Review and development

IEP’s will be reviewed every Friday in a democratic meeting between student and home-group educator and assessed and monitored against the Australian curriculum by the students’ home-group and specialist educators. Parents will be encouraged to participate in these reviews. This is an opportunity for students, educators and parents to meet to reflect on student participation the previous week and identify learning outcomes and strategies for the week ahead.

Self-directed learning and its principles are key to the IEP, as it empowers students to be aware of their learning progress through opportunities for ongoing self-evaluation and independence in their learning. Each project is self-evaluated by the student or student group and the cohort who participate in its presentation.

IEPs will be reviewed formally at the end of terms 2, 3 & 4 at the Parent Educator Child Review (PEC review).

Timeline for the development, evaluation and reporting of IEPs 

Each term

  • assessments and IEP meetings and development completed by the end of the 3rd week for terms 1 and 3, and by the end of the 2nd week for terms 2 and 4, according to the Student Learning Outcomes Policy
  • IEPS uploaded by the end of the 3rd week and submitted to the Chief Creative Director, recommending any changes if required, otherwise the Chief Creative Director signs them
  • administration will give a copy of the signed IEP to the student, educator, send a copy to the family, and upload a copy to the portfolios.

Each semester

  • end of semester assessments and student evaluations begin no later than week 7 of the term, including the compilation of the semester’s portfolio of project artifacts, project documentation, and journals
  • parents and carers invited to a Parent – Educator Interview
  • the semester’s Student Progress Reports completed and submitted to the Chief Creative Director by the end of the week 8
  • the Chief Creative Director recommends changes to the reports and Educators are to make these changes if agreed and re-submit by the end of the last week with their signature
  • all reports are filed into portfolios
  • during weeks 9/10 of terms 2 and 4, the school will host a whole school Project Exhibition open to all members of the school community and beyond. Assessment, reflection or feedback is uploaded to students’ portfolios
  • administration will send the signed original report to the parents and carers.

Weekly timetable

Every morning at Community Circle, a daily home-group democratic meeting, educators will discuss the planned classes for the day with their students. On Monday mornings during circle, students have to fill their weekly planner. Planning ahead for the week gives the students the opportunity to develop self-management skills. It’s a timetable to incorporate:

  • their literacy and numeracy classes
  • nominate their project activities
  • their specialist classes covering the remaining six key learning areas of the Australian curriculum and Creativity the subject, and
  • any other areas to be incorporated into the structure of each day.

Each student’s daily planner and weekly planners reflect their IEP.

School structure

Classes

The primary and secondary school will integrate multi-age, home-group classes, something like this depending on enrolment numbers:

  • Farm Preschool
  • Prep
  • middle primary (year 1 – year 3)
  • senior primary (year 4 – year 6)
  • junior secondary (year 7 – 8), and
  • middle secondary (year 9 – 11), and
  • college (year 12 and educators).

Staff

The staff of the school will include the:

  • Chief Creative Director (principal)
  • Educators (home-group and specialist)
  • Classroom assistants
  • Business management, and
  • A range of community volunteers including artists, therapists, scientists and entrepreneurs.

College of educators

Educators will be encouraged to become ‘teacherprenuers’. As ‘teacherprenuers’, they undertake self-directed creative practices in studios shared by students on-site.

Role of educators

It will be the role of the educators to facilitate the creative learning process in their classes.

Educators:

  • guide students in their home-groups to design, implement and evaluate their Individual Education Programs
  • help access the resources the students need to fulfil projects
  • participate in the fulfilment of the students’ projects
  • teach and oversee subject specific classes including compulsory Literacy and Numeracy every morning, and topic specific classes timetabled throughout the week, and
  • assess, report and monitor the learning and well-being of all students according to our policies.

Educators:

  • are registered with the Victorian Institute of Teaching
  • have a firm understanding of inquiry-based learning, and
  • are educated and experienced in their professional and personal inquiry.

Growth and projections

Maxwell primary and secondary school
Our intention is to grow up with the children who form the older cohort of the Maxwell primary school, applying to register their secondary school for years 7 and 8 to open 2020.

During 2020 we will apply to register years 9 and 10 for 2021, and during 2021 apply to register for years 11 and 12 for 2022.

2019: 25 children in the Maxwell primary school at the beginning of the year.
2020: 40 children in the Maxwell primary school
20 children in year 7 – 8 secondary school
2021: 55 children in the Maxwell primary school
40 children in year 7 – 10 of the secondary school
2022: 70 children in the Maxwell primary school
60 children in years 7 – 12 of the secondary school
2023: 85 children in the Maxwell primary school
75 children in years 7 – 12 of the secondary school

Homework

The primary school will not have compulsory homework for any of the students.

Students will be invited to take their projects home with them to continue developing them or to show them to family members, however are asked to bring them back when they next return to school. If a student asks for homework, seeks to be tested, or needs a home-study timetable, the educators will provide or help to develop these.

Grade six students will be offered an optional homework program to practice completing homework before they go to secondary school. It involves weekly homework tasks which are established with each student, are sent home each Monday, and need to be submitted on Friday morning.

Stuff

Cultural creativity values:

  • sustainability
  • self-sufficiency
  • re-cycled and up-cycled
  • hand-made, and
  • local

informing our choice of not only materials, toys and furnishings, but be incorporated into the buildings and overall development of our property as well.

We aim to be Australia’s first metro off-grid school.

So, for example, the bulk of our toys and art materials are pre-loved, recycled or up-cycled… our paints and pencils have been half-used by artists, and our timber toys are painted in non-toxic paints and made from sustainable sources where possible, and many are hand-made.

All art supplies, dress-ups, tools and toys are freely accessed by the children and adults throughout the session and used outside, so they may go with the flow of their ideas without restrictions or limitations… just as our animals including our educational dog, mini horses, and guinea pigs are allowed (with supervision!) inside.

School fees

The school will be registered as an independent school.

Primary school fees are currently budgeted to be $3500 per child, for the whole year. At the beginning of the year, families are asked to pay $50 towards the classes’ materials including pencils etc. For children enrolled 3 days per week, the yearly fee is $2100.

Families will receive an invoice at the beginning of the year for the year’s tuition. Under private arrangement, families are able to be invoiced term-by-term.

SoCE isn’t able to offer reduced rates for siblings or concession card holders during our first year of operation, however we will be establishing a scholarship fund to help families in need.

Secondary school fees are not yet established, sorry!

Uniforms

Students are able to wear free-dress.

We ask that any imagery that advertises products, services and companies including logos are small, if any.

The school’s community may decide to make elements of a uniform that will not be compulsory to wear.

As we’ll be spending a great deal of time in outside classrooms, children are asked to always have wet weather gear and a change of clothes available. Being on a farming environment, children are expected to wear gumboots, despite the weather, while outside, except for sport when runners are needed. Arch supports can be placed inside boots.

Broad-rimmed hats are to be worn outside during terms 1 and 4. Please refer to our Sunsmart Policy.

Names of educators

The students are asked to call their adults by the adults’ first names.

Social enterprise

It is essential to SoCE’s development that we engage with the global creative community and that our online presence and our students’ and educators’ project-based enterprises thrive.

Not only will we have a lot to learn and stay abreast of, but we also aim to have a lot to offer to a globally creative marketplace.

Long-term property and facilities

Committed to enabling cultural creativity in our students and community, our permanent property of between 25 – 70 acres, in the area around Seville, will facilitate our passion to create a high-tech / high-eco educational experiences, giving young creatives the space, opportunity and resources to pursue a wide range of experiential education opportunities. The property may offer about 25 acres of cleared land to support the development of buildings, gardens, the food farm, and animal farm including our equine therapy, and 25 acres of wilderness to support our water rehabilitation and conservation work.

Our facilities will grow with our need for them and our capacity to build them, including studio classrooms, a fine art and media studio, science and technology lab, performing arts spaces and gallery, gardens, the food farm, animal care, sporting and festival fields, and conservation zones. We will build a kitchen and school café for the collaborative preparation of meals that could also host whole school community meetings.

Our values of:

  • sustainability
  • self-sufficiency
  • re-cycled and up-cycled
  • hand-made, and
  • local

inform our choice of not only materials, toys and furnishings, but will be incorporated into the buildings and overall development of our property. We aim to be Australia’s first metro off-grid school.

We’d love to see the property grow in light of the children’s projects. Our big dream is to build a creative, sustainable, socially-entrepreneurial village around it, born of the programs of the school and generating income for the school.

For more information, please follow this link.

School of Cultural Creativity Policies