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Community

Walhallow Public School

Walhallow Public School is on the site of the old Caroona mission. Walhallow, situated 100 km south of Tamworth, is a small two-teacher school of 26 students and is an integral part of the whole community. The community acknowledges the importance of the school in the lives of the children of Walhallow and support functions and other events at the school. However, while the community was very supportive of the school's involvement in the project, there was some hesitation about how they could be involved in curriculum. The community interactions were mainly informal, with discussion about curriculum and learning often taking place over lunch or while the students were engaged in activities. The elders and other community members attended the Maths tabloid day and NAIDOC Week activities, and many were involved in the tree planting and bush garden.

Diagram of Karen's program
Diagram of Karen's program (PDF - 55 KB).

The school has an Aboriginal Education Assistant (AEA) who is very involved in the classroom programs. Both the AEA and the principal were able to encourage parents and members of the broader community to become actively involved in the Mathematics program.

Crawford Public School

Crawford Public School is situated in the western suburbs of Sydney and has a student population of approximately 670. The school community at Crawford has a diverse population coming from many cultures, including a significant Aboriginal parent community for the more than 100 Aboriginal students in the school. The school's Aboriginal Student Support and Parent Awareness (ASSPA) committee is very active and meets regularly. Until this project began, teachers had not substantially engaged with these parent groups. After initial contacts were made, teachers and parents became actively involved in the planning and later development of the units of work through the committee.

The school has a very experienced AEA whose influence and skills were crucial in the success of the project at Crawford. The ASSPA committee assisted in the organisation of the Commonwealth-funded in-school tutoring program. In the previous year, this program had focused on literacy support, but has now explanded to include numeracy. The program provides parent tutors to work with Aboriginal students in the classroom, a significant factor in the implementation of the units of work.

Units of work

The units of work were used as the vehicle to raise awareness of the needs of Aboriginal learners and provide an opportunity for teachers and members of the community to work together to develop contextual teaching and learning programs. The teachers were provided with the draft Mathematics K–6 Syllabus and, with the guidance of the teacher mentors, identified changes needed to the new syllabus and helped determine the particular strands they would focus on in their units.

Crawford teachers chose Number, Measurement, and Space and Geometry as the focus areas. Walhallow chose Measurement, linking this into an integrated unit on rainforest environments.

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