South Australia’s Redeemer Lutheran School located in Nuriootpa in the Barossa Valley was recognised recently at the Australian Education Awards, winning the national award for Innovation in Learning Environment Design. The school was nominated for the recent refurbishment of their Upper Primary Centre, catering for the needs of their Year 6 and 7 students.
Principal, Mr Andrew Kelly, said of the award, ‘We are very honoured to be recognised in this way for the work that went into the creation of our Upper Primary Centre and for the difference it is making to our students’ learning and wellbeing. We have been on a long learning journey as a staff and the support of other Lutheran schools and colleagues around Australia have been instrumental in the development of our Upper Primary Centre’s final design’.
Over the two years leading into this building project, Redeemer staff spoke with and visited staff from a range of Lutheran schools around Australia. Of particular note was the warm welcome and support from Pacific Lutheran College, Living Faith Lutheran Primary School, St Paul Lutheran School in Blair Athol, Immanuel College Novar Gardens, Grace Lutheran Primary School, Good Shepherd Lutheran School Para Vista and Mrs Mignon Weckert from Lutheran Education SA, NT & WA (LESNW).
A team of school leaders also benefited from attending a study tour of Victorian schools led by Dr Ben Cleveland, a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne and facilitated by the education team at (LESNW).
Mr Kelly explained, ‘Through this project, we saw the strength of Lutheran schooling. Incredible innovation is happening in our schools across Australia and by supporting and sharing with each other, we can continue this journey of growth and make an even bigger difference in the life of our students’.
The Upper Primary Centre’s learning environment itself is innovative but it is the teachers and students’ use of space that has made a difference to learning. In the Upper Primary Centre, teachers are working collaboratively, students are making decisions for themselves about their learning, choosing where they work, how they work and whether they are working together or independently. By providing a range of unique learning spaces, and catering to a variety of learning experiences, Redeemer has been able to cater to the diverse needs of their learners.
As a network, Lutheran schooling should be very proud of the contribution they have made to this project and its success. Lutheran schools are innovating and making a big difference in the life of their students and by working together and supporting each other, this impact is amplified even further.