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Prep

The preparatory class

At Blenheim State School our Prep students share a classroom with our year 1 and some of our year 2 students. As a result of our school’s growth, the Queensland Government commissioned the building of two new classrooms and a library. The Prep/ Year 1/ Year 2 class are taught in one of these new buildings.

Our prep students start their school day at 9.00am and finish at 3.00pm. When your child arrives at school each morning, they are allowed 10 minutes between 8.50am and 9am to eat a healthy snack prior to the commencement of their school day.

What you can expect from the prep year for your child

The Early Years Curriculum Guidelines (EYCG) provide teachers with a framework for interacting with children, and planning, assessing and reflecting on an effective Preparatory Year curriculum.

The guidelines are based on active learning for children through real-life situations, investigation and play. They incorporate descriptions of 4 early learning and development phases to help teachers to monitor children's progress and preparedness for Year 1.

The EYCG is designed around a framework of 6 factors that have been shown to influence students' school readiness and future success at school:

  • social and emotional competence
  • health and physical wellbeing
  • language development and communication
  • early mathematical understandings
  • active learning processes, with a focus on thinking, investigating, and imagining and responding
  • positive dispositions to learning.

The curriculum is based on active learning, which includes real-life situations, investigation and play. It recognises the importance of children's brain development through learning using all 5 senses, and the role of adults in facilitating, scaffolding and monitoring learning.

Evaluations have shown that using the curriculum in early childhood education provides a solid base for developing children's social skills, motor skills, and literacy and numeracy skills.

The curriculum builds on children's learning in their families and communities, and provides a foundation for their learning from Years 1 to 10 through:

  • valuing and expanding children's diverse social and cultural understandings
  • curriculum and teaching practices, including:
  • principles to guide teaching in the early years of learning
  • involving children in learning physically, socially, emotionally and intellectually
  • assessment that monitors and helps extend student learning
  • establishing positive relationships, including strategies for school-family partnerships
  • managing transition processes, including a report to Year 1 teachers on each student's achievements in Prep
  • encouraging good learning habits, such as perseverance and independence.

The EYCG uses 5 early learning areas to describe what children will learn.

These early learning areas are derived from the factors associated with school readiness and success at school.

Early learning area

Specific focus within the early learning areas

Key learning areas

Social and personal learning

Social learning

Personal learning

Studies of Society and the Environment (SOSE)

Health and Physical Education (HPE)

Health and physical learning

Making healthy choices

Gross-motor

Fine-motor

Heath and Physical Education

Language learning and communication

Oral language

Early literacy

English

Languages other than English (LOTE)

Early mathematical understandings

Early numeracy

Mathematics

Active learning processes

Thinking

Investigating

Imagining and responding

Science

SOSE

Technology

The Arts

Monitoring and assessing is an integral part of the learning–teaching process and is not a separate activity. The information gathered is used to:

  • plan for future learning
  • build a picture of a child's learning and development
  • give direction to conversations with the child, parents or carers, specialist teachers, the child's next teacher and other professional colleagues
  • record point-in-time judgments using the early learning record and report on these.

Monitoring, assessing and reporting on children's learning has 4 stages.

1. Gathering evidence of children's learning

Teachers monitor and assess by gathering information and evidence throughout the year, generally from children's everyday learning activities. They:

  • observe children as they learn
  • talk with children about their learning
  • help children identify what they have learnt
  • gather the things children produce during their learning
  • comment on children's learning in relation to the curriculum
  • have formal and informal discussions with parents, carers, and professional colleagues.

2. Using folios to organise evidence about children's learning

Teachers and children organise evidence of learning in individual folios. The folio becomes a dynamic record of examples of a child's learning and development in the Preparatory Year.

3. Interpreting evidence of children's learning in folios

Teachers interpret the evidence of children's learning to inform daily planning and to make overall judgments about how far children’s learning has progressed.

4. Using the early learning record to report on children's learning

The early learning record (ELR) documents judgments made about a child's learning in each early learning area. The ELR uses 4 phases to describe learning progress:

  • Becoming aware.
  • Exploring.
  • Making connections.
  • Applying.

Feedback from teachers has shown that children are generally in the 'Making connections' phase by the end of the Preparatory Year. Children do, however, vary in their learning and will be at different phases in different learning areas, depending on their experience prior to starting Prep and their interest in the learning area.

Teachers consider the range of evidence gathered throughout the year in the individual folio, to build an overall picture of a child's learning and development, and make judgments about the phases in which a child may be operating. The ELR is usually completed twice a year to monitor the child's overall progress.

The ELR gives:

  • Prep teachers a picture of a child's learning and helps them plan for the child's strengths and weaknesses
  • a focus for communication with parents or carers about a child's learning and development
  • Year 1 teachers an overall picture of a child's learning and development so that they can plan for a smooth transition from the Preparatory Year to Year 1.

The above information has been derived from the Queensland Studies Authorities