Jo Aitken, Northcote School (Christchurch) - Helping Buddy, and Working Together

Jo has a Postgraduate Certificate in Education, specialising in early years teaching, from the University of East Anglia in the UK.  he is currently the Deputy Principal at Northcote School, Christchurch, where she also teaches a New Entrant class.

In 2007, Jo introduced Learning Stories as a primary assessment tool in Northcote School. This was a school-wide initiative that has evolved and adapted over time. In 2009, Jo was awarded the Graham Nutthall Classroom Research Award in order to research and investigate the children’s perspectives of Learning Stories at Northcote School. 

Jo holds a passionate belief that “every child should be able to achieve and celebrate success in a wide variety of different ways” and feels that Learning Stories are an excellent way of capturing those precious teaching and learning moments.  She has also strived to improve home/school links and feels that Learning Stories are an interactive, easily understandable and positive way in which to communicate a child’s learning to themselves, their peers and their wh?nau.

Jo has a young daughter of her own so has the joyful benefit of being the recipient of Learning tories from kindergarten. In her spare time you will find her baking with her daughter and renovating her house.

Jo's workshop Learning Stories - Strengthening Relationships was attended by Gillian Fitzgerald (ELP):

"At the recent Learning Story Conference, I was delighted to have the opportunity of getting to know Jo Aitken, Deputy Principal at Northcote School in Christchurch, as well as the privilege of attending her workshop and discovering how Learning Stories can work outside the early childhood environment.

Jo shared how, in 2007, she introduced Learning Stories as a primary assessment tool school-wide and how this initiative evolved and was adapted over time. Jo's passion for her all her students was evident as she shared how Learning Stories have not only supported students to build positive images of themselves but also of their peers. She shared examples of how the assessment documentation has been crucial in developing relationships between wh?nau, the school and the students. The feedback that teachers and students are receiving from parents is having a profound effect on the image the children hold of themselves, as well as the image the teacher has of relationships at home. Learning Stories has been the vehicle for building relationships and enabled each child's individual achievements to be celebrated."

  • Helping Buddy

    Helping Buddy is a story about Bonnie's kindness as she uses her 'relating to others' key competency to help Braydon settle into the new class environment.


  • Working Together

    In Working Together Jo describes a building episode she observed during developmental time and notices a number of different habits of mind.


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