A message from the Principal, Fran McCarthy
Here at Redfern Jarjum College the opportunities and possibilities are endless.
Each child has joined our community because their needs are not being met in the education system at the moment.
We give them an opportunity, in an open caring space, to grow physically, emotionally and socially. It gives each child an opportunity to be valued for who they are, an opportunity to experiment and explore who they can be. Many children come with the belief that life is a battle and they have to fight to survive. We want to show them that they have endless chooses and opportunities and life can be exciting and fun and successful and rewarding. We want them to experience success and satisfaction, have a sense of belonging and each one of them is an important member of this community.
So… First and foremost these children need:
This is important for many reasons. Language is essential to learn to read. Language is proven to be a link to working through the manifestations of trauma. Language and communication are essential in expressing emotions, needs and wants. So we listen. We ask for what they want, need and feel, we allow the expressing of anger, rage, frustration, fear, pain and powerlessness, of joy, delight and excitement. We do not believe in one strike and you are out. We are constantly modelling, as children need to see how to be angry or sad or frustrated and also experience someone really listening to them. Many times issues are not about what is right or wrong; it is about communicating and understanding, being empathetic.
Each child learns and achieves because it is important, because it is about self-worth, personal success, and being empowered with their learning. They discover that learning happens everywhere, at the beach or in the park. We are determined to provide a rich learning environment, excursions every Friday and external activities every afternoon. The children decide on where we go and what activities we learn to explore and experiment with. So we have very few external rewards. Academic success and appropriate behaviour are personal.
Rules are for safety and are not negotiable. Everything else is decided by discussion and debates with agreements made and amended as required. Everyone makes these agreements together and it’s everybody’s responsibility to uphold them.
Every week we explore different parts our country in Sydney, parks, beaches, swimming pools and adventure playgrounds. The only way this works is if everyone is responsible and respectful, cooperative and considerate. Everyone must follow the rules and agreements for us to enjoy and continue these adventures. Trust is built on these expectations, if we cannot trust someone they cannot attend any excursions until trust is regained. This creates an environment of self-regulating and awareness. The children are encouraged to be aware of the consequences of their behaviour and take responsibility for it. The excursions have become an important aspect of the schools success.
Each child has an individual education plan which begins with intensive assessments and evaluations when they arrive at the school. They are placed on a continuum that is derived from the NSW Syllabus. This will determine what stage they are working from and individual programs will be devised so they can progress at their own pace, as we are not restricted by age or grade level. The class they join is determined by many factors, age, abilities, personality, siblings and the teacher. The development and maintenance of a Personal learning plan for aboriginal children is compulsory and the planning and programming is crucial for these children’s academic success. Maintaining our skills and having time to prepare is very important. Due to this workload, there are 10 in service and training days allocated each year. Each term begins with in service training. Terms two, three and four have a midterm break which is a Friday and Monday pupil free day in the middle of the term. We also end our year one week earlier so time can be allocated specifically for these programs. Also, these programs are critical for the ongoing registration of the school. Five years of records need to be maintained at all times.
Engagement from our local community is essential for the health of the school, the wellbeing of the children and the integrity of our school mission. Our standing in the community is important and we are representing Redfern Jarjum College at all times.
We expect the children to be committed and dedicated to their learning and our school. We expect the children to be trustworthy and punctual. We base our beliefs on respect and self-responsibility with strong integrity.
Every staff member has an individual contract which has been negotiated to best suit their needs. Each staff member has a job description to follow and adhere to. There are very clear guidelines as to what is expected when working here at Redfern Jarjum College. Before anyone signs their contract they have understood the special nature of the school and the nature of the children.
We are privileged to be part of these children’s lives and it is a responsibility that we to take very seriously.