The proverb of the tree

We had the great pleasure of welcoming Anrig Professor Richard Elmore from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education and our colleagues Darrell Fraser and Judy Petch from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development in Victoria last week.

Although it was a flying visit, our guests had the opportunity to meet with our leadership team and to visit two of our schools, Parramatta Marist and St Monica’s Primary North Parramatta.

Professor Elmore spent time observing teachers and talking to students about their learning.  He was quite impressed at how teachers were using the spaces to engage learners independently and collaboratively. The highlight for me was listening to the students talking about their learning to our guests with such confidence and passion. Also to hear teachers reflecting on their practice and openness to learn from colleagues is inspirational.

Expecting he would impart his wisdom from the ‘seven principles of the instructional core’, Richard Elmore left us with something more profound – this Chinese proverb.

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.  The next best time is now.

What we do in classrooms today charts the course for schooling tomorrow and we can have confidence in what our schools are doing for young people.

Professor Richard Elmore and Parramatta Marist students
Richard Elmore and Michael Hopley, principal of St Monica's Primary

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