At St Anthony’s we use the inquiry process from Years Prep-6 to engage students in Integrated Studies and Religious Education.
The inquiry process provides a meaningful context for children to learn concepts and skills. We immerse students in a new topic through excursion and incursions and ensure learning is fun and enjoyable. Through the inquiry process and by reflecting on their learning, students develop knowledge, conceptual understandings, skills and the attributes of an inquisitive learner. The emphasis on collaborative inquiry and integrative learning honors the curiosity, voice, and contribution of the students.
Each level carefully plans these experiences to ensure students are engaged and thinking deeply to create ‘wonderings’ they can investigate throughout the unit. Students are encouraged to explore and discover together and on their own which allows students to extend what they are learning, experiment, take risks and practice new skills. Inquiry based learning provides opportunities for collaborative learning with teachers and peers and develops a sense of ownership for their learning. They direct their learning with a strong sense of identity and self-belief, and in conjunction with others, build a sense of community and awareness for the opinions, values and needs of others.
Social development skills are developed through inquiry. Cooperation, sharing, turn-taking, conflict resolution and leadership skills are all integrated into inquiry. Students learn to allocate their time to tasks, concentration for set periods of time and persistence when tasks become challenging. We have seen language development particularly in the junior years including communication skills, vocabulary, storytelling and emergent literacy.
During Prep and Year 1 students inquire about their world through developmental play in the Masterclass sessions. We have seen the children develop important skills that will help them become independent thinkers and collaborative learners. Masterclass, develops aspects of cognitive development including creativity, abstract thinking, imagination, problem-solving, social cognition, empathy, perspective-taking and mastering new concepts. We have also seen the students develop greater self-confidence and self-esteem.
Our Religious Education learning is also driven by the inquiry process. Deeper learning and more engagement can be seen from our students as they begin to critically think about the world around them through their Catholic faith lens.
Inquiry is an important part of developing deep, critical thinkers and teaching skills our students will continue to use throughout their educational journey. Through Integrated Studies and Religious Education using the inquiry process we continue to challenge our students to reach their potential.