Independent Learning at Finstock

I CAN DO IT! is a school-wide programme with an aim to build a strong community of independent learners.

‘We believe that encouraging and enabling children from an early age to think for themselves, take responsibility for what they do and play a major part in managing their own learning is vital if they are to be successful adults, workers and citizens in the 21st century.’

            Featherstone and Bayley 2006 – Foundations for Independence

How can we build a ‘strong community of independent learners’?

At Finstock, all adults (teachers, support staff, governors, volunteers and parents) have a responsibility to pass on knowledge and skills that enable every child in our community to become more independent/self-reliant.  Every child should understand the benefits of being able to do things for themselves and be supported and encouraged to apply skills of independence both in and outside of school to help them develop into more competent and confident individuals and learners.

What does this look like in reality?

To become independent learners, children need…

  • opportunities to try things for themselves.
  • experience of practising independence from an early age.
  • role models in adults and other children—what we do has far more influence than what we say.
  • expectations that they can become independent learners, given time and opportunities.
  • motivation, created by rewarding and praising effort and success.
  • information to empower them to make positive choices and decisions.

How will we know when we have been successful?  What does an independent learner look like?

An independent learner…

  • asks questions.
  • is a problem solver.
  • is a creative thinker.
  • is confident and can make choices.
  • has a positive ‘can do’ attitude.
  • makes learning links.
  • is self motivated.
  • has high self-esteem and a good self-image.
  • helps others.
  • sets their own goals.
  • wants to understand, wants to achieve.
  • uses teachers and other adults.
  • can find and select their own resources.
  • has interested family members who give encouragement at and from home.

At Finstock, we are teaching and encouraging independence everyday.  However, we are also working hard to develop new and enriching approaches to learning through our Plan-Do-Review and Forest School experiences.

An independent learner is somebody who is: resourceful, reciprocal, resilient, responsible and reflective (the 5Rs).  Children self-assess their independence at the start/end of every term (Spring, Summer and Autumn); teachers contribute to assessments based on professional observations of the child.  As children achieve independence in the above 5Rs, their achievements are rewarded and celebrated.