Students learn and grow

A school-wide approach to learning is ensuring students at St Gabriel’s Catholic Primary School Bexley know how to grow in the garden of life. 

Students from Kindergarten to Year 6 received a plant to take home in the first week of the school year as a symbol of the school’s vision for learning. 

Staff chose the acronym GROW – Growth mindset, Reflection, Ownership, and Welcoming learners to define their approach. 

Principal Cathy Hodgins said the initiative was part of the IDEAS project developed by the University of Southern Queensland, which gives schools a tool to reflect on their past and set a future direction for the school community. 

“The plants represent our beginning to the year, each of us coming together to grow and learn at St Gabriel’s Bexley,” Ms Hodgins said. 

“It’s a way of framing for parents that we are looking at their child’s learning and growth in a very holistic way.” 

Assistant principal Lisa Bray said the GROW concept has grown organically with staff and students taking ownership of the school’s vision for learning.“It’s a shared vision of what learning looks like at St Gabriel’s,” Mrs Bray said.

“We want every child to come to school every day and grow in some way, whether it is their heart, mind or faith and body.

We also want children to be confident in who they are as an individual. In this respect, the analogy of a garden works well. “In a garden you can grow so many different things and there are many different elements that come together to make that garden work. 

“Year 1 last year chose to represent themselves as butterflies, worms and bumblebees because they wanted to be the helpers in the garden, for other classes they wanted to be particular flowers or a cactus – we liked that it showed their individuality and helped them to understand that as individuals we have our own personal goals to work on.” 

Reflection is another theme of the vision for learning, with all students encouraged to reflect on their goals and learning growth in journals this year.