Tribes is not a curriculum, not a program or a collection of activities. It is an on-going goal-oriented process based on sound principles and practices that maximise academic, social and emotional development and learning for today’s children.

Tribes is a step-by-step process to achieve specific learning goals. At Rolling Hills Primary School six agreements are honoured:

Mutual Respect

Rolling Hills Primary School follows the Tribes process to develop a strong learning community, where all members are supported to become independent life-long learners.

Personal Best

Encouraging individuals to be the best that they can do with their own abilities and skills.

Appreciation/No Putdown

Encouraging everyone to focus their attention on appreciating people and the things they do, say and achieve.


Ensuring that students have a safe and supportive learning environment to thrive in.

Attentive Listening

Acknowledging the person who is speaking with full attention and eye contact. Paying attention to not only the words but also the feelings behind the words.

Right to Participate/Pass

Everyone has the right to participate as well as the right to choose the extent to which they will share in  a group activity. Choosing the right to pass means the community member prefers not to share information or opinion in the group at the moment.

Students learn a set of collaborative skills so they can work well together in a variety of groups. The focus is on how to:

  • help each other work on tasks.
  • set goals and solve problems.
  • monitor and assess progress.
  • celebrate achievements.

 The learning of academic material and self-responsible behaviour is assured because teachers utilize methods based upon brain-compatible learning, multiple intelligences, cooperative learning and social development research. The teachers and administrators in a Tribes school also work together in supportive groups. They too enjoy the participatory democratic process and creative collegiality.

Students achieve because they:

  • feel included and appreciated by peers and teachers
  • are respected for their different abilities, cultures, gender, interests and dreams
  • are actively involved in their own learning
  • have positive expectations from others that they will succeed.

The clear purpose of the Tribes process is to assure the healthy development of every child so that each one has the knowledge, skills and resiliency to be successful in a rapidly changing world.

Gibbs, Jeanne (2006) Tribes : A new way of learning and being together/Reaching all by Creating Tribes Learning Communities, Centrer Source Systems, Windsor, California.