It’s become cliché to comment on how remarkably
challenging the year 2020 has been. With or without the pandemic 2020 was our first year of operating a school, so regardless it was always going to be a challenging year.
We learnt many things in 2020. Here are but a few.
A year’s delay was a good thing
Our intention was to start the school in 2019, however we encountered a few planning issues with our neighbours which meant that the school’s opening was uncertain. I wrote at the time that I hoped that it would be our Hudaiybiyyah moment and one year on from starting the school, I can certainly say it has been.
In 2019 we ran a learning co-op with other interested families, all the while hoping that we’d be able to over the planning objections that were preventing us from starting the school. It was disappointing not being able to start in 2019 as we hoped, but we experienced so much running the learning co-op in 2019 that it meant we were much better prepared come the start of 2020. Saadia (the school’s Principal) took the time to develop the curriculum and oversee it’s implementation through the co-op educators. Great teachers are what make the the
school, and this was certainly a great development opportunity for us. The year’s grace also gave us the opportunity to comfortably complete the necessary infrastructure works and start to establish the systems and processes necessary to properly administer the school.
The year’s delay was indeed a blessing.
Lesson #2: We have our plan and Allah has His plan
Failing to plan is planning to fail, they say. Well we did have a plan for the year 2020, but so too did Allah.
I admit we failed to plan for operating the the school in the middle of a global pandemic. A minor oversight? Well, not quite.
We managed to squeeze in all but one term on site before we were forced to move to remote online learning. No easy task, but our teacher’s embraced it with the best of attitudes and our students kept on learning and developing despite nearly two terms off site.
Well done to all!
Lesson #3: We are the sum of multiple parts
Sometimes I have to pinch myself that we are actually running a school. We started off as a group of concerned parents who were searching for a better way to educate our children and today
we are officially on the register of schools in the State of Victoria.
How did this even happen?
When people think school, they think teachers and students. Absolutely that’s the core, but there are so many facets to running a school – there’s the infrastructure to look after, the government to report to, the IT systems to set-up, the kitchen to operate, the stakeholders to manage and the list could go on and on.
What’s been absolutely clear that one person can’t do it all. We
are the sum of multiple parts and we thank Allah for bringing us all together.
Lesson #4: Provision comes from where you never expect
Allah says in the Quran:
Whoever fears Allah Allah will find a way out for him and He will provide him from sources that he could never have imagined [Quran 65, Verses 2-3]
And last year was a testament to this.
Truth be known, being a new school we always had that worry about where our students would come from. As it turned out, we had students come to us from all over the place including three who arrived in Melbourne from Brazil (of all places!) and others who crossed the Yarra River daily to come to school.
Allah speaks the truth. Believe it. Live by it.
Lesson #5: Individualising learning is key
We’ve gotten to know our student’s really well this year and it has become abundantly clear that they are all individuals that really need their specific needs attended to.
One child may be struggling with their handwriting, but may
be amazing in the playground. Whilst another may be excelling academically, but needs to learn know how to manage their anger better. So, just how do each of these children need to be nurtured and educated?
Individualizing learning is key to a child developing holistically.
I’ve been immensely proud of our teacher’s ability and passion for catering to every single child individually. I shudder to think what a child really gets out of school if they are a part of a one size fits all, cookie cutter type system. We designed our school as a small school in order to be able to do this for the children that come under our care and it is something that we are absolutely committed to as the years roll by.
May Allah continue to make it possible.