What's growing in your garden

What's growing in your garden

Thursday, 29 November 2018  | Di - Assistant Principal - Primary

Don’t you just love this time of year when you can get out into the garden and enjoy cool crispy mornings and sunny days mowing the lawns, planting and digging over the soil? The tomatoes and herbs are in, the zucchini plants are starting to take off, and each day soft green growth appears, and everything including the weeds, grows like mad. I love gardens and I love the metaphor of a garden in relation to Christian schooling.

Over a number of years I’ve been playing with the idea that MECS is like God’s good garden of delight. The ‘well-watered garden’ is a beautiful analogy of our MECS community. Every plant in the garden is beautifully and purposefully created displaying unity within diversity.

Isaiah 58:11. The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

I love the thought that God is guiding us, satisfying our needs, and strengthening us whilst we are living in this sun-scorched and difficult terrain. God meets us where we are to grow his garden within the difficult conditions of life and as he does, new hope and restoration takes place.

What sort of soil, nutrients and structures do we need to provide at MECS for our children to really flourish and for this garden to be well watered? How do we need to be open to what God is doing so that we can be co-workers in the restoration of hope in education? Over this last year we have been reviewing our Primary Education Support programs and asking questions of how we are providing for each child to grow. As God has been guiding and leading something new, innovative and exciting has emerged; a reshaped Education Support program called ‘The Greenhouse’.

Our hope is that ‘The Greenhouse’ will be a place of wonder and growth. It will provide the right specialist environment to see our children flourish including those with special interests, gifts, talents, disabilities and those who may just not fit the school-sized box some of the time or a lot of the time. The Greenhouse is an important part of the garden, not because it separates plants but because it provides the specific environment, and the right support. All plants in the garden are designed by God and loved by God, and all are growing to maturity. God is the gardener and through His word, each member of the MECS community is able to help cultivate and care for His garden, our students.

So what’s in this Greenhouse?

The STEAM room will provide opportunities for children who have a specialist bent toward technology. This will include a LEGO wall, LEGO creating, coding, robotics, online chess, other IT opportunities to explore and create using the latest technology, such as the 3D printer. Groups of tech savvy kids will have the opportunity to really fly in the STEAM part of the Greenhouse. 

The Hothouse will provide opportunity for our ‘brainiacs’ to be inspired to problem solve, create, innovate and stretch themselves with mathematical and literacy challenges. They will get to ‘think outside the box’ and this will include our Tournaments of the Mind teams.

The Butterfly Centre will meet the needs of our students who require some alternative programs or time out of the mainstream classrooms. They will be able to spread their wings and pursue interests with animals, chickens, specialist hobbies, gardens; all within a sensory sensitive environment. The Butterfly Centre will assist those children who have difficulty fitting into traditional school structures, and help them to find a place to flourish.

The Greenhouse will be located in the current Foundation rooms. The Bilby classroom will be converted to our Butterfly Centre and the STEAM/Hot House will be next door.

Introducing our new Greenhouse team...

Hot House: Alison holds a Masters in Special Education and has a wealth of experience in the field. She has worked as an Education Support specialist for a number of years. Her gifts lie in identifying student learning needs, assessment and creating programs to address learning needs. Alison has particular interest in dyslexia identification and interventions. She also has a qualification in gifted and talented education and is excited about leading extension and enrichment in the Hot House. Alison’s primary role will be supporting learning needs within classrooms both for individuals and small groups. She will also support teachers to provide quality-differentiated programs. Alison will also form part of our Guided Reading team.

Butterfly Centre: Louise joins us as an experienced teacher. She brings a wheelbarrow full of ideas, wisdom and knowledge; as well as big compassion and a heart for families. Louise has walked the journey as a mum with a child with a disability. Louise is currently completing her Masters in Special Education, and specializes in behaviour. She has a keen interest in using animal husbandry to enhance student well being and engage learning. Louise is very excited to develop and run the Butterfly Centre as a base room for students who might struggle from time to time with everyday school structures and timetables. 

STEAM: Mic joins our Greenhouse team in Primary as the IT specialist and STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art Mathematics) expert. We are very excited to have Mic available for a substantial amount of time in 2019.

Rachel will join this talented group as the administrator of the Greenhouse. Susan remains as a support teacher for assessment and teaching. Our Learning Assistants are integral to the success of our new Greenhouse. We are thankful for such a dedicated and talented group who work with many small groups and individuals.

We wish to say a massive thank you to Shirley for the amazing job she has done over a number of years as our Education Support Coordinator in the Primary School. As you have probably read in ‘Sketcher’s Scoop’ Shirley is moving on to new adventures in 2019 and will finish up at the end of this year. The staff, LA team, students and parents will sadly miss her. We take this opportunity to pray God’s blessing on her and thank her for her dedicated service to MECS. We trust as we head toward 2019 you will join us in praying that the seeds planted in our new ‘Greenhouse’ will grow and flourish into God’s well watered garden.


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