Thank you to all parents who were able to attend this week’s class meetings for Prep, Year 1, Year 4 and Year 5 as we establish the all-important school-home learning partnership for 2020. If you were not able to attend, please feel welcome to contact your child’s class teacher for relevant information.
Next week (Tuesday 18 February) there will be class meetings for Year 2 (5.45pm-6.45pm) and Year 3 (6.45-7.45pm). The meetings commence in conneXions and include time in your child’s home classroom with the class teacher.
Literacy learning is a priority College focus right through the Junior School (as it continues to be into Middle School and beyond). Teaching, mentoring and guiding this for every student is a key part of every day at school, both in dedicated Literacy times and across all areas of the curriculum. Communication skills (listening, reading, writing, speaking, visual literacy) underpin all learning.
The critical foundation skills for ‘learning to read’ for emergent readers in the Early Primary years (EL-1) evolve into higher level thinking skills and strategies for ‘reading to learn’ for more independent readers through the Primary years (Years 2-5).
Class Teachers, in close partnership with Literacy Teachers at each level from Prep-Year 5, lead the Junior School program in this area. They are aided by Learning Support staff, Learning Assistants and conneXions staff and resources as each student’s learning needs are addressed.
Teacher knowledge of each student’s stage of development, interests and learning strengths is at the heart of guiding the program for the class and more specifically for each learner. This is complemented by a sequenced assessment schedule (from Prep to Year 10) to monitor progress through each year as well as year-on-year. Beginning with the Kindergarten Checklist in EL 4, then testing which includes the BASE assessment in Prep, annual Progress Achievement Tests (literacy and numeracy at all levels from Year 1 onwards), Reading Running Records (P-5), SWST (spelling) and NAPLAN in Years 3,5 (7&9), each student’s learning is analysed and able to be planned for on a needs basis.
Staff meet regularly to collaboratively plan programs, audit standards against the Australian curriculum and to participate in ongoing professional learning to keep abreast of current literacy learning research and pedagogical practice. This week, as an example, all Class Teachers and Literacy Teachers attended an evening presentation by Sheena Cameron and Louise Dempsey from New Zealand. Based on their recent publication, ‘The Reading Book’, they reviewed the essential components of a balanced literacy program in Early Primary and Primary classrooms.
Throughout this year we will continue to share information on literacy learning across the Junior School and to offer ideas for home support of this. Parents are always very welcome to visit classrooms to view evidence of the literacy program, to ask questions of staff, and importantly are encouraged to talk with their children about what they are doing at school in their literacy work.
Leadership development is one of the plethora of strands which mesh together to make up learning and life at Scotch Oakburn. It is one of the key IDEALS of learning in a Round Square school.
Learning, practising and modelling leadership skills starts right from the earliest years and in the Junior School, it reaches a milestone point in Year 5, the final year on the Elphin Campus. This week’s House meetings – the first with the new House system – for Year 2-5 students focused on ‘Belonging’ and ways in which older students can help younger peers to build a sense of belonging at school. ‘Belonging’ is a cornerstone of personal identity, social relationships and emotional security.
Also this week, Year 5 had a Leadership Day focused on each of us using our personal strengths to model for, and include and support others. Guest speaker Mr Chris Duffy introduced the word ‘diffability’ as a contrast to ‘disability’ when we think about how we are all unique in both our strengths and our needs.
The State Independent Schools Leadership Day in March and Round Square mini-conferences in Victoria at Billanook College and Woodleigh School are among the leadership development experiences complementing out internal Peer Leadership program for Year 5’s this year.
The Junior School House Swimming Carnival will be held in the school pool on Wednesday 26 February. All Years 3-5 students will represent their House in a number of events on the full-day program, which commences with a ‘first time in the pool on carnival day’ experience for all Year 2’s.
Parents and friends are warmly invited to join us for the day or to drop as the day allows you to. Students will bring home a program of their personal event times prior to the day to help spectators identify prime times to attend.