Children "Seen and Heard" Exercise
Middle Years Unit of Work
North Adelaide Primary School
By Suzie Vladimirov
Focus on Local Government
Students at North Adelaide Primary School (NAPS) have had numerous opportunities to be involved as consultants to the Adelaide City Council (ACC). The ACC has for some time been keen to develop links with the community, with particular emphasis on young people. It conducts a program called 'City Links', in liaison with the handful of schools within its jurisdiction. NAPS has been involved in several worthwhile projects associated with 'City Links' since 2000. The projects described herein were about making Rundle Mall in the city more appealing to youth, and upgrading the twelve playspaces in the ACC area.
The work undertaken made an outstanding contribution in the area of active citizenship as it allowed students an opportunity to explore and make recommendations to the local council on issues that were relevant and important to them and the community.
The work undertaken also enabled students to better understand the operations of Australia's system of government. They learnt about the 3 levels of government and were able to actively contribute to local civic projects.
Students engaged in activities that nurtured the principles that support democracy, notably Student Voice, the SRC (Student Representative Council) and Debating. The values, attributes and virtues that enable citizens to participate in the political process and contribute to civic life were particularly reinforced as students were able to practice and demonstrate unity, tolerance, justice, assertiveness, resourcefulness and initiative.
Planning, Programming, Outcomes
The 2 projects were separately presented to the year 6/7 class and the SRC and they each decided which project they would like to work on. The year 6/7 class chose 'Making Rundle Mall More Appealing To Youth' and the SRC chose 'Upgrading the ACC Playspaces'. The Rundle Mall project had great appeal for the older students, while the same could be said for the SRC and the playspace project. The SRC ranged in ages from 5-13 and they were eager to have input into a project that would directly benefit them. With the school upgrade, including the playspace areas, they were keen to be able to give advice to the School Council as well as the ACC!
Bloom's Taxonomy was used to plan the Rundle Mall Project, while Gardner's Multiple Intelligences was used as the framework for the Playspace Project. The Upper Primary Discovering Democracy Units were also incorporated to facilitate the Civic component of the program. Thus, whilst students in the middle years were engaging in active citizenship they were also learning about the history and operations of Australia's system of government, the principles that support Australian democracy and the values and attributes that enable citizens to participate in the political process.
The outcomes and guiding principles for participation in the projects were:
- Student contributions are valued.
- Active engagement meets genuine needs.
- Participation has an impact beyond the classroom.
- The projects are challenging.
- Opportunities are provided for planning, acting, presenting and reflecting.
- Students working cooperatively to collect, analyze and describe information about particular issues which have relevance to the school and local community.
- Students recognizing the connection between roles, structures and functions of the political system and active citizenship.
Links to SACSA
- Collecting, analyzing and organizing information
- Communicating ideas and information
- Planning and organizing activities
- Working with others and in teams
Teaching local government fits within the SACSA framework across various learning areas: SOSE, English, Art, Technology. Particular topics include government, rules and the local community. The work undertaken supported middle years methodology by providing hands on practical activities in a flexible and integrated curriculum. Students saw that what they were learning had relevance and that they can make a difference in their school and community. Students also participated in the processes of local government and used an inquiry based approach, ICT and divergent thinking strategies to support their learning.
Children "Seen and Heard"
Middle Years Unit of Work
Download the Unit of Work as a PDF version - Middle Years Unit of Work (56 kb)