Collaborating . . . Teachers from the Waitaki Ara Kahui Ako meet at the Oamaru Opera House last week for the final time this year. PHOTO: ASHLEY SMYTH

There is a ‘‘great deal of pride’’ within a group of teachers working together to better the learning of Waitaki children.

The Waitaki Ara Kahui Ako community of learning met at the Oamaru Opera House last week for the final time this year.

The group is made up of 10 representatives from Fenwick, Oamaru Intermediate, Te Pakihi o Maru, Waitaki Girls’ and Waitaki Boys’ High Schools, three learning support co-ordinators, cross-school leads Sarah Caldwell and Vic Forrest, and lead principal Margaret Williams.

Early childhood educators were also involved in the Kahui Ako, although they had not taken part in last week’s meeting.

The group met twice a term, under the guidance of CORE Education facilitators Amira Aman and Rebecca Sweeney, from Christchurch.

The focus this year had been on ‘‘inquiry’’, Ms Williams said.

‘‘The growth this year has been that those inquiry groups, as they’ve met, have been more across the sectors. So we have our primary colleagues working with secondary colleagues.’’

Easing the transition between early childhood, primary and secondary sectors was a key focus for the meetings, as well as talking and learning from each other about what was happening in the classrooms and what was good practice.

‘‘Good practice in a primary classroom is also good practice in a secondary classroom,’’ she said.

‘‘We just had really empowering feedback this morning, that people are learning from each other and there are shifts in our teaching practice.’’

Ms Williams said it was also about teachers using common language and having common expectations — ‘‘and if that is something that we can bring into our community, that is going to enhance the learning that is taking place’’.

Cross-school lead Sarah Caldwell said the meetings were great for building relationships across the schools, having every sector represented, which was of real benefit to the children.

‘‘Whether the learners are 5 years of age or 15 years of age, it’s the shift in practice.’’

There was a great deal of pride in the momentum happening within the group, the hard work of the teachers and the schools, and the strong team they had built, Mrs Caldwell said. Ms Williams said that was the ‘‘key thing’’.

‘‘The Kahui Ako is a community of learning and it has been the growth and development of a leadership team, and a team within the staff as well.

‘‘Like any team, it’s how you support people who have different strengths.’’

Waitaki Ara was one of two Kahui Ako in North Otago.

The second, Whitestone, was made up of schools from Glenavy, Papakaio, St Joseph’s Weston, Totara, Maheno, Five Forks, Hampden, East Otago High School and St Kevin’s College, as well as early childhood educators.

‘‘This meeting is the time of year we’re reporting back and celebrating with the principals, and planning for the future,’’ Mrs Caldwell said.