Only a quarter into his new role and already feeling completely at home. At the age of 29, Rob Kargat has gone from a group teacher at St. Petros School to a Principal at St. Joseph’s. This makes him the youngest primary school principal in our municipality. Was the transition exciting? “No, I didn’t experience it as exciting, but above all as a very nice opportunity and challenge.”
By: Gina Pinter
The transition to the role of director was gradual. Rob has gradually grown towards it since his second year as a teacher. Rob: Well, it started with William Zwarthoud (St. Petroskool Director, ed.) asking if I’d be interested in becoming a coach for the school. Under this heading you are the building coordinator/school department. You can facilitate and plan meetings and ensure all documents are ready and complete. Ensured that you became part of the administration and participated in consultations at school level.
In this way, apart from the class, I also saw the whole picture. I really enjoyed thinking about and developing the plans to make the education a little better each time. This was where the seed of my ambitions to become a school leader was planted.” In total, Rob taught for six years and took various courses during that time, such as the Masters in Learning and Innovation. Hence, there is enough soil on which to build from a new role: that of Principal .
That opportunity arose with the departure of Linda Toole, who had become director of De Aventurijn the previous summer. Prior to the application process, Rob had only set foot in his current home port once before. Jozefschool wasn’t uncharted territory for him, just as it is for many – which is very unfortunate. “What struck me immediately was the positive and welcoming atmosphere. Although the building is quite large, it doesn’t feel that way. The small scale makes it comfortable, you can connect quickly. This is a big plus for me.”
A tour of the school building in the old district of Volendam confirms these words. It is crawl by creep and in every corner unfold classrooms and other spaces that provide space for music lessons or as a student council meeting room. The private room is the so-called “cooling room”, a creative center where students can take on various tasks from an attitude of curiosity and discovery, focusing on science, technology and art education, among other things.
“This is how we make students aware of the world around us”
Rob continues his story in the school library. “The library is our pride,” he says with a big smile. And rightly so. It is a spacious room with a large reading table in the middle. The books are neatly arranged and grouped together in richly filled bookcases on the basis of genre. Enthusiasm is contagious, and that certainly applies to reading here.
We start each day in groups of 4 to 8 with half an hour of reading, teachers read each day and reading specialists give book promotions in the classrooms. There are also library parents who help children make the right choice of book and there is a connection to the Waterland Library. We try to stimulate reading as much as possible by focusing on the joy of reading and the motivation to read. We note that the benefit is there.”
The extensive school library is of course not the only thing Jozefschool is proud of. “We’re also proud of our vision in education now and in the future. And the ‘typical Joseph vibe’ that sets this school apart,” Rob continues. “We already have a strong focus on science and technology here and want to continue to expand inquiry-based learning. With the COOL classroom, students are really challenged to learn in a different way. They are given a task, but it is not clearly defined. There is room for your own interpretation, for creativity. This results in Beautiful creations, each one different from the other.
SKOV schools are increasingly making their own choices and in this way distinguish themselves more from each other. Rob explains: “In addition to the solid foundation of language, mathematics and reading, we at Jozefschool use the free space in education to pay more and more attention to learning skills. This includes social skills such as communication and collaboration, but also future-oriented skills such as digital literacy.”
In addition, we operate by the principles of the “Healthy School”. We think it is important for students to know how to take care of themselves, but also how to take care of their environment and nature. We pay conscious attention to that. For example, we create a piece of greenery in our yard, Group 6 is working on a vegetable garden project and in creative themes we use natural materials, which we sometimes use to decorate the garden. This is how we make students aware of the world around us.
“The fact that we classify ourselves as schools differently does not mean that we disagree with each other or want to compete with each other. It was not.”
If Rob is allowed to think freely, he sees more personalization in education in the future. ,, That not only groups 1 and 2 mix, but other groups or units also arise, such as group 2-3 or a unit 4-5-6. This gives children the opportunity to learn from each other and with each other. By creating such a group 2-3, for example, education can be presented in a more game-oriented way for a longer period, which is more in line with the way young children learn.
This makes the transition to ‘school learning’ less daunting in Group 3. I also imagine we are working with subjects in which children are challenged to actively learn, collaborate and investigate out of curiosity. By working within topics, you can incorporate different topics such as language, reading, nature, geography, and history as you work with the same words and concepts within these topics. This way not only is it clear to the kids, but you can also go deeper.”
Joseph’s new principal emphatically states that he is primarily looking to collaborate and add to other primary schools in our community. “The fact that we classify ourselves differently does not mean that we disagree with each other. Or want to compete with each other. It was not. SKOV is an educational organization in which we strive for each other and want to learn from each other. I hope that through profiling we can provide a variety of education Which fits well with different learning needs of children. So parents really have a choice. This is also the direction that SKOV has already started.”
Can you talk about the typical Joseph’s School feel? What does that actually mean according to Rob? Rob: Jozefschool is usually able to be what you are, everyone comes up with their own piece. Plus, it’s a small school. Everyone knows each other, you are seen. Kids came to me in no time to tell me about anything and everything. This is really cool. I really feel like we’re in this together. With parents, teachers and children. Jozefschool is a hidden gem in old Volendam! “
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