Pinelands North Primary School

School Type: Public, Urban

Year Elected: 2014

Advancing on this principle of “universal design,” Pinelands North has become a national reference in inclusive education rooted in an “empathy in action” curriculum. The school is entirely geared towards a caring and warm environment: this is the ethos of the school. Several animals live inside the school, along with toys, colored walls, spaces together and relate. They also take care of the school animals and gradually learn how to relate and care for each other as they care and look after the animals. In terms of their inclusive methodology, PNPS serves as a training hub for future teachers and is considered a leading school on which other schools model themselves.

Changemaking Initiatives

  • Because many of the pupils struggle with their social skills (due to their different abilities), PNPS created a system where the students can leave the classrooms and play with creative toys, games and puzzles on small desks in the school corridors. 
  • “Caught in the act” initiative: Pupils can write down notes about other pupils who they “catch in the act”, but not the act of wrong-doing, rather the act of doing something right.