Preshil’s Arlington Primary School uses Inquiry Units to guide children through the curriculum. This Inquiry-based format teaches for understanding of a conceptual idea rather than just knowledge, and each unit runs for approximately six weeks. In their most recent unit of enquiry, the 8s and 9s (Grades 3 and 4) at Arlington explored the theme “People Work Together To Take Action in their Community”.
As part of this, the children evaluated the key concepts of connection, change and responsibility. This unit had a focus on the Learner Profiles of Communicator, Caring, Thinker.
This learning was born out of the real interest and compassion indicated by the children as a result of a previous inquiry into how ethical food choices impact on people and living things. As witness to these attitudes held by the group, teachers sought to design a learning experience that would allow the children to act upon their passions and concerns. The intention was to foster a genuine sense of empowerment and promote change in behaviour and thinking.
For their assessment, children were asked to develop a positive action plan to address an issue observed in our local community. From there, they were asked to keep a journal of their learning journey whilst communicating and collaborating with others about the issue and their action plan. This research culminated in their participation in the Arlington Community Action Carnival. Children were able to share issues of concern, data-driven research and ideas for positive action.
Some children continued to explore and build on their new understandings from the previous learning around food ethics; waste and pollution associated with issues around packaging, food waste, the homeless and hungry, sustainable fishing practices, vegetarianism, ethical milk choice, food miles and more. Others found new issues or needs to promote such as Nude Food Programs, reusable sandwich wrappers, repurposed fabric tote bags – all the while thinking globally, acting locally.
In a world that can sometimes seem overwhelming, this experience allowed the children to think creatively and critically in order to build on a sense of inner confidence, courage and strength to successfully surmount whatever life presents.