“Being part of a small, nurturing community is a gift," says Mater Dei Principal and experienced educator Mrs Donna Jones, who is not only proud of the school but knows of these benefits to children as they begin their learning journey. “Here at Mater Dei Catholic Primary School, we pride ourselves in knowing each child by name. We are invested in the development of every child as she or he grows and flourishes academically, socially, physically, spiritually and emotionally."
Four benefits of a small school community include:
1. Educators at small schools have greater capacity to tailor learning to each child. Research shows that educational influences such as 'collective teacher efficacy, self-reported grades and scaffolding' are among the most effective learning strategies for children in today's world^. As a smaller school, Mater Dei is able to be flexible in the ever-growing delivery of excellent education standards. Teachers actively collaborate on best teaching practices and environments, that work for each child.
2. Students - their strengths, challenges and motivations - are known by Educators. “Know thy learner is a phrase that underpins our pedagogy," says Mrs Jones. “As educators we must possess a deep understanding about how children learn best. I'm just so passionate that we, as a staff team, continually pursue this for each child at Mater Dei. Great teachers are able to do this, and we know that great teachers make the difference."
3. The Student-Parent-Teacher relationship is enhanced, engaged and effective. Small schools foster belonging, leadership and social emotional skills through increased student engagement. The sign of a great school community is an active partnership amongst their students, parents and educators. A synergy that, when engaged, can offer children a wonderful platform on which to begin their learning journey.
Furthermore, there are fantastic benefits for parents and caregivers in being involved in a small school community. Through the ups and downs of life and the challenge of parenthood, a great strength of the Mater Dei parent community is the welcoming friendships and shared support network.
4. It's safe to give things a go. We know that when a child feels safe, they are at their best. They learn better, they create better and they socially interact better with others. At Mater Dei, older students are actively encouraged to be great leaders and model an example to the younger students.
“My girls have been encouraged to give things a go," says Marie Bond, long-time Mater Dei mum. “We've been at Mater Dei for ten years and I have seen two of my three children transition into high school with the ability to make friends and establish productive and positive relationships with their teachers. I believe this comes from being able to gain confidence and self-esteem in a supportive Catholic primary school like Mater Dei"
Nothing quite captures the beauty of the Mater Dei community like meeting our team and walking around our leafy campus. Contact us today or click here to book a Tour online.
^Source: John Hattie (December 2017) visiblelearningplus.com