Inquiry-based learning is a constructivist approach. This means children are engaged in constructing knowledge rather than simply acquiring it. Knowledge is constructed based on personal experiences and hypotheses of the environment, meaning students take ownership of their learning. It is the New Zealand Curriculum’s approach to teaching and learning.
Inquiry starts with exploration and questioning and leads to investigation, with a focus on inquiring into worthy questions, issues or ideas. Our inquiry model can, and is, applied to all curriculum areas. It involves asking questions, gathering and analysing data, creating solutions, making decisions, justifying thinking and taking action, all the while engaging in reflection and continual improvement.
In addition to individual class inquiries in the core curriculum areas of reading, writing and maths, our students also participate in whole school inquiries with either a science or social studies focus each term. Our unique Vertical Learning Communities allow children of all ages to share experiences and knowledge around our inquiry focus, while strengthening our learning community as the children become teachers to each other.
The benefits of learning through inquiry include higher order thinking, improved problem solving abilities and critical thinking skills. These are all identified as the leading skills looked for in today’s employment market. It increases personal ownership and responsibility for learning, develops skills of research and a student’s ability to determine the importance of the information they encounter. We refer to these skills as our Learning Assets.