The Kestrels is Brisbane Independent School’s solution to the social, emotional and academic changes all children go through when they transition from the egocentric to rule-oriented stage of moral development.

As this developmental shift can take a different amount of time from student to student, BiS created this discrete transition group.

The Kestrels classroom utilises the play-based format of the Big Cats with the more traditional desk-and-chairs structure the Penguins use, depending on the lesson. This gives the individual Kestrel student opportunity to strive, achieve and challenge themself while their way of thinking evolves, with the comfort and familiarity of egocentric modalities when they need it.

The adults around them provide encouragement to learn and improve at these cultural norms like reading and writing, while nurturing them as individuals.

Kestrels will search for boundaries, rules and approval while they evolve their sense of what is fair and right.

A Day in the Life of the Kestrels:

  • Morning meeting

    For the Kestrels, the morning meeting it is an opportunity for the whole group to plan, share, record and discuss their upcoming day.

    The agenda is written on the board to begin tracking awareness, and the teacher and aide refocus students to keep them on task.

    As with all the other classes, this is also the time for Show and Tell and whole class skill practice.

  • First session: Training

    The morning begins with focused academic tasks; the developing ego means that individual is still at the centre of the planning.

    The student will work with the teacher, teacher-aide and parent helpers to achieve progress as they often need support to complete tasks. The Kestrels teacher can conduct one-on-one lessons or small group activities during this time, with teacher-aides working with the other group.

    Activities cover academic essentials: early reading skills, maths and developing a love of problem solving and writing. Whole class learning games begin with the group as a means to help them to learn to follow rules – and they will love it!

  • Second session: Exploring

    Every class explores ideas and develops projects based on Science, History, Geography, Technology and the Arts in this session.

    We follow an exploratory model, allowing students to deeply study concepts through their own prism of interest. During these Labs the Kestrels may work on a variety of tasks, depending on their skill level. This busy session has students moving around the class to work on topics as they need, going out on mini excursions, researching and making.

    The Kestrels still need a lot of teacher support to refocus during these sessions as they can easily disappear into play with their best friend (though sometimes this can provide a much-needed pause in their processing).

  • Third session: Reflecting

    The afternoon session gives the Kestrels time with the Penguins or Big Cats, or time to relax and take a back seat as their teacher reads or guides a relaxation session. Students learn some very early mindfulness techniques with the focus on rest – this sometimes leads to a room full of snoring children!

    Some days there will be School Meeting or an afternoon sports session with the whole school. This part of the day is always about connecting to self or connecting to others. It is the chance to review the day, think about tomorrow and dream.

A Kestrels Learning Journey:

Here are some samples of the kind of learning a Kestrel student might work on during the school day.

Each week we focus on a mathematic concept and a phonics letter/sound.

An example of some tables and graphs co-created in Kestrels - useful ways of collecting information or data.

Each week we set learning intentions.

Mystery box items in our Country of Origins study (Australia module).

We learnt how to classify animals and identified marsupials as mammals!

How many 's' sounds can you spot? Where are they - at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of a word? How is the 's' sound represented - s, ss, x(ks), or c?

Care, honour, guide

Approx. gradeprep - 1
Approx. ageusually 5 - 7 years
Moral development stage(s):
leaving Egocentric; entering Rule-Oriented

Kestrels Educators:

Amy Cox

Teacher Aide

About Amy

Kestrels Basecamp:

A 15-minute overview of the Kestrel student’s journey: classroom structure, rules, academic goals and the importance of friendship.

Kestrels Exploration Zones:

Kestrels classroom and resources

Resources & Downloads:

Take a closer look

We BiS, and we know you’re going to love it too.