Parents at St Christopher’s Catholic Primary Panania need only open the classroom door to witness the changing face of learning.
New Principal Jamie Wahab comes to the role after four years as principal at St Ambrose Catholic Primary Concord West. He will speak about changes to education during Catholic Schools Week celebrations on March 8.
“It’s been interesting coming to Panania,” he said. “Everyone has been very friendly. Parents, teachers and students really want to take the school to the next level which is fantastic. I knew there was a building program happening at this school and I thought it sounded like an exciting opportunity, not to take this school in a new direction, but to build on strength.
“We had a fantastic leadership team at St Ambrose and I loved my time there. I knew that I could leave and great things would continue to happen, and for me as a leader that is what it’s about. It’s about sustainability of improvement.”
Parents, teachers, and students really want to take the school to the next level.
St Christopher’s Catholic Schools Week celebrations will begin on Monday, March 7 with a display of the artworks each student has created to explain what its theme ‘I belong. You belong. We belong.’ means to them. This will be followed by a picnic where students will have the option of wearing cultural dress and share food from the main cultural backgrounds within the school including Anglo, Greek, Italian, Vietnamese and Filipino. The canteen will prepare the food.
On the Tuesday (March 8) Parents will attend open classrooms guided by Year 6 student leaders. The school’s current building project will turn out nine new classrooms and a creative hub. Within the spaces, how education is delivered is barely recognisable to older generations. “Whenever I talk to new parents, I talk about how their model of education is completely different,” Mr Wahab said.
“You don’t have to watch videos or do any research to see that, you just have to open a door to a classroom of today. Straightaway you can see students aren’t sitting in rows, the teacher isn’t just standing at the front of the class and writing on the board. Children aren’t in trouble if they talk to each other. The emphasis is on positive behaviour and trying to get the best out of the children. In my ideal school children have a choice and a voice in terms of their learning.
Mr Wahab said the most obvious change to education has been the internet and how we all now belong to a knowledge society.
“There is nothing I can tell the students in terms of content that they can’t find more about on the internet,” he said. “Content is still critical, but it is more critical that we develop skills in students where they are thinking creatively and critically, where they are given opportunities to be innovative and creative because all the information is out there. What we need to be able to do is make sure the children understand what is accurate, what is objective and what is subjective.
“When they have a good understanding of that we know we are preparing them for a world where corporate companies don’t just want doers, they want thinkers.
“I want the local community to also see what a Catholic education can offer their children, and for them to get an understanding of what contemporary learning looks like – what flexible learning spaces look like, and how you integrate faith into your everyday life.”