What I like about teaching at Pine

by Mathilda Element

Early Childhood Educator

Teaching at Pine is exciting because every day is unique. I love the freedom to create my own curriculum in consultation with the students – we are not limited by anything other than our imaginations and where we want to go! With smaller group ratios, we are able to embark on sometimes very ambitious topics (eg filming our own TV show, building a bug museum, holding a digital photography exhibition in a local gallery) as well as having the freedom to explore individual interests and topics as they arise.

Smaller groups also means that the children have more teacher attention, and I really enjoy the conversations we have together as we learn, explore and play. I like being able to get to know the children as individuals, and I appreciate being a part of their growth. Being in a multi-age group, you get to teach children over a longer period of time which allows you to develop strong relationships with each child and with their families. I love the connections I have with children and families, and being a part of their lives is very special.

Also, I like working in a multi-age school because it allows children to learn so much from their peers, not just from adults. The strong friendships that I’ve seen develop across sometimes large age gaps are beautiful to watch and I think it’s great that we facilitate an environment where children of all ages can interact positively and learn together.

Finally, it’s satisfying to work at a school that follows the individual developmental path of children’s learning. I believe that when children work at their own pace, the learning is deeper and more meaningful than when their natural rhythms are disrupted. Also, I believe that learning is happening all the time – through play, through social interactions, through exploration, discussion, discovery and a sense of wonder, planned curriculum experiences and spontaneous teachable moments. Pine is a place that allows all these things to occur – it is a very child friendly place to work, which makes it a great place for educators who enjoy being friends with children!

Teaching at Pine

by Terry Bland

Upper Primary Educator

Teaching at Pine is a rewarding and positive experience. Each day the students come to school refreshed, strengthened and eager to learn. They are excited about school because they are learning about topics and issues that they are interested in. We know this because they are part of the planning process. Also, the smaller classes enable me to build stronger and more meaningful relationships with the kids. I don’t come to school as a teacher, but as a friend and co-learner.

I really enjoy the fact that Pine does not offer a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Each student is treated as a unique individual with their own needs, interests and ways of learning. The students learn and develop at their own level and pace. Often, in the big kids’ room, the students get to a point where they really want to push themselves to the next level of maths or another activity. Because they have chosen to do this themselves, and not had it thrust upon them, they put in extra effort to achieve their goal. The ownership the students have over their learning contributes to a deeper level of understanding and to a positive learning environment.

The best thing about working at Pine Community is the kids themselves. They have so much energy and a willingness to share and discuss their ideas. They are always ready to invent, explore, create and give things a go. They respect and look out for their peers (students and teachers alike) and their environment. Plus, they have a great sense of humour!

Pine is a friendly, supportive and positive place to work. The students have a strong sense of what is fair and just in the world. I know that each of them, in their own way, will help contribute to a peaceful society.