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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 7 June 2018) . . Page.. 2237 ..

Palmerston has a great focus on data collection to inform its teaching. They are passionate about every student reaching their full potential and track a child’s progress from kindergarten right through to year 6, accumulating data on each student to share with other teachers on a regular basis. The staff set aside time to review data, which allows the staff to keep a close eye on the performance of the students and to tailor learning to their individual learning needs. For that school, external one-day-a-year testing like NAPLAN is another indicator of progress.

I also had the pleasure of visiting the Southern Cross Early Childhood School, where I was welcomed by the principal, Lyndal Reid, and the acting director of school improvement for the Belconnen network. Principal Reid took me on a walk around the terrific school grounds at Southern Cross and showed me some of the great work that they have been doing.

The school’s focus on play-based learning and small class sizes has made it an ideal school for parents of children with a variety of needs. The school has invested in outdoor activity areas, such as the bike riding area painted to look like roads, with speed humps and street signs, so that kids can learn how to ride safely in a road-like environment—an area that is so well regarded in the local community that other schools come to also use it. And there is a balance challenge circuit to allow kids to engage in safe risk-taking and allow for self-assessment of risk. A particularly delightful structure in the previously unused outdoor play area is the school’s treehouse. It is enormous. Madam Speaker, if you get a chance, I would suggest you go out there and have a look; it is like something out of Robinson Crusoe.

Madam Speaker, I really appreciated my visits to both Palmerston District Primary School and Southern Cross Early Childhood School. I thank the minister’s office for facilitating these visits. After the school holidays and the estimates hearings are done, I hope to be able to visit a few more government schools.

All the visits I have had the pleasure to speak about in the chamber have been an extraordinarily eye-opening experience for me in my capacity as shadow minister for education. Undoubtedly, in every school that I have visited to date, whether it is an independent, a Catholic or a government school, I come away knowing exactly why the staff do what they do. The passion they have for education and their students is very clear, and the respect and admiration that their students and families show them leave me in no doubt as to the enormous potential of all our schools.

World Environment Day

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (4.31): This past Tuesday, 5 June, was World Environment Day. This annual event is a reminder for all of us to reflect on the natural environment that we live in, our place in it as humans and the impact that we have upon it. From the Greens perspective, I want to use this opportunity to acknowledge the incredible natural environment we are fortunate enough to live in and the need to live in harmony with it, to tread lightly, with respect and appreciation.

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