Beyond Living Faith

Wednesday 24 Apr 2019

One of the questions I’m often asked when talking with parents during the enrolment process is, ‘How do Living Faith students cope with the transition to secondary school?’ This question directly relates to Living Faith’s contemporary education model, and how this plays out for graduates who may transition into a secondary school that operates differently.

Conversely, I recall recent enrolment interviews with two families, where the parents work at two distinct local secondary schools. On both of these occasions I asked, ‘Why have you chosen Living Faith?’ The responses I received were:

  • Because I teach Living Faith kids [graduates]. I want my child to grow up to be just like them.
  • Living Faith graduates come to our school. They are academically advanced, but that’s not what matters to us. Living Faith graduates value kindness and compassion. They are confident learners and they have advanced leadership skills. They know their strengths yet they are not boastful, and they know their weaknesses yet they are not intimidated. Their emotional intelligence is beyond their years.

During the first year of secondary school, we invite Living Faith graduates and their parents to comment on the transition from Year 6 to Year 7. The feedback received over the years is encouraging and often reflects the students’ readiness for the complexities of the secondary school environment, as well as maturity in grasping secondary school concepts.

The following is an excerpt of an email received from the parent of a recent Living Faith graduate:

As a mother of two boys, and an educator myself, I have watched with great anticipation and scrutiny the developments in learning environments and pedagogy that have developed at Living Faith. From a mother’s perspective, I cannot express my thanks enough to the school for the professional and thorough way in which they have developed the new learning environments, the deep learning culture and the pedagogical practices of their staff. My two sons LOVE going to school, they LOVE learning, they OWN their learning journey, they are fully versed in growth mindset thinking, feedback and feedforward, project based learning, the 21st century competencies and the like. They understand the need to be creative, innovative, entrepreneurial. They have truly developed as collaborators, contributors, team members and effective communicators. They have developed independent thinking and learning skills which empower them not only across subject boundaries at school, but across all aspects of their lives. They believe in themselves as learners and they feel they have the digital tools and human support around them to learn whatever they choose. The flexible seating arrangements and furniture have been an integral part in this development, allowing my boys to move and select seating positions throughout the day to enhance their learning. Alongside this, the work of the teachers in modelling and developing these 21st century skills and project based learning has been outstanding. Having a son who struggles with English composition, despite having a high IQ has found the project based learning so empowering. The provision to compose your work and present it in personally meaningful ways – beyond that of traditional genres has been a game changer for him and something that aligns more appropriately with the way the modern workplace functions and communicates.

Humorously, my greatest difficulty with Living Faith has been my son’s graduation from Year 6 last year. He did not want to leave! He genuinely pondered with concern during his final year of primary school, ‘Do high schools have desks in rows, and make you go from subject to subject all day mum? I just really loved my primary school, my teachers, the learning environment, PBL and the way we learnt – the whole thing. I hope high school will be as engaging.’ For the great experiences that my two sons have had at Living Faith I am eternally grateful.

Our website describes what we strive for our graduates to have and be, and the feedback we are receiving suggests we are well on our way to achieving this.

I am very proud of the fine young people who graduate from Living Faith. They are strong in their own identity, they are caring and accepting of their peers and they demonstrate a humble desire to serve and support others. This is evidenced not only through the feedback we receive, but also through the knowledge that friendships formed at Living Faith often continue into adulthood; not to mention the Prep-Year 6 buddies who often remain in contact beyond the secondary and tertiary years. Our graduates also perform well in the academic arena, going on to secure careers that give them a deep sense of joy and fulfilment. The wonderful successes and accomplishments of our graduates are a result of the alliance formed between parents and the school; appreciating each other, trusting each other and supporting each other. Thank you for your partnership.

- Jane Mueller, Principal