Annie Avenell and Rachel Garden founded Active Learners Timaru mid way through 2012. Since that time they have purchased Active Learners Leeston and are in the process of building a new Active Learners at Kaiapoi.
Annie and Rachel’s vision for Active Learners is underpinned by the Reggio Emilia philosophy and their own understanding of the importance of the early years. They bring a combined wealth of experience to Active Learners. This experience ranges from teaching the early years through to primary, secondary and tertiary teaching, and encompasses other roles that include education advisors, heads of departments, and deputies and principals of primary and secondary schools. Annie has a Master’s degree in Educational Studies (Literacy) and Rachel has a Doctorate in Education examining academic excellence.
They believe in valuing the potential of the child by helping them communicate with the world using all of their strengths and languages. Co-responsible partnership with parents, whanau, and the community are also very important to them. Annie and Rachel believe that cooperation is a powerful mode of working that makes it possible to achieve the vision they have for the Centre, thus, partnerships between parents, children, and teachers is an essential component of the programme offered at Active Learners.
Rachel and Annie place importance on professional development for their staff. They do not consider their teachers as protective babysitters teaching basic skills to children but, rather, see them as learners along with the children. Thus, teachers are supported, valued for their experience and ideas, and seen as researchers. To this end, all staff are encouraged to regularly participate in professional development.
Annie and Rachel have very strong educational principles that they have developed from their own research and experience that focuses on quality of care and exemplary educational outcomes for children. They view the image of the child as rich in experiences, capable, and competent. The Active Learners programme emerges from children’s interests and is developed through on-going negotiation involving teachers, children, and parents. These interests provoke children’s inquiry process for the project based learning that occurs in all Active Learners Centres.
Active Learners is dedicated to promoting quality care and education for young New Zealanders. Each child’s learning and development is a shared process and Active Learners looks forward to sharing this exciting educational adventure with you.