Step by step….we’ll peep into prep!
Welcome to the wonderful world of Prep! We deliver an exciting and dynamic program for our students as they begin their school journey at Mernda Primary School. We work collaboratively with parents to ensure the transition from kindergarten to primary school is a smooth and harmonious experience for our students, parents, and carers as we understand the social and emotional needs of our children are paramount for them to settle happily into school life. We believe that once our students feel comfortable and feel a sense of belonging in their new environment, they will thrive and succeed in their learning.
Our Prep year is all about ‘learning to learn’ where routines and structures provide a supportive and caring environment, which allows students to form friendships and begin to grow into confident independent learners. We begin our school year with a start-up program that immerses our children in the routines of school, with plenty of hands on, fine motor activities and social development play both inside and outside the classroom to engage and excite our Prep students. We teach our children how to ‘Be Kind’, ‘Be Safe’, and ‘Be a Learner’ daily through our School Wide Positive Behaviour Matrix model and values of R.E.S.P.E.C.T.
Curriculum in Prep
English – Our Literacy program is designed to develop the foundational skills of Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. Our students are introduced to a wide range of texts that foster an excitement for reading. The teaching of synthetic phonics is an important part of our program which is taught through our Read, Write, Inc. Program. Students are also provided with rich speaking and listening opportunities through our interrelated Inquiry program.
Our students are introduced to writing from the day they start school. In the early years we strongly focus on building each students’ oral development and believe that “If they can’t say it, they can’t write it!” Our students are encouraged to explore writing through fun, interactive and play based activities that stimulate each students’ imaginations and build upon their personal experiences. We have an emphasis on Big Talk, Big Write and VCOP which aim is to scaffold our student’s learning to allow the children to become articulate thinkers and speakers and in turn become articulate writers. It is through these, activities, experiences and conversations that our students develop their love of writing and develop an awareness of themselves as a writer and begin to understand their writing has a purpose.
Mathematics – In Maths, students learn about the concepts of number and begin to ‘trust the count’, building their confidence as mathematicians. To support this, we make learning about Maths hands-on and fun using concrete materials, mathematical language, and problem solving where they apply their knowledge to real-life examples. Our activities range from learning about measurement of Capacity or Length in the sandpit, interviewing teachers, and peers in order to gather information and collect data to graph, to exploring the school looking for 2D and 3D shapes. We ensure our activities focus on examples that relate to the children’s world experiences.
Inquiry Learning – One pedagogical approach to teaching is through Inquiry learning. We develop units of learning that allow our Prep students to predict, pose questions, explore, observe and record events in their everyday lives. They use these skills when exploring a range of topics such as ‘Me at School’ and ‘My Community’. These topics are further explored during investigations in our Prep Discovery Centre and are connected to other areas of the curriculum.
Digital Technologies – Students at Mernda Primary School are exposed to the learning of digital literacy from early in the Prep year. Using laptops and tablets, students are able to connect to online programs and apps. Digital literacy is encouraged to both enhance their topic of learning in the class and for reading enjoyment. During Prep, students are taught how to use Word to publish their writing and how to recognise and use keyboard symbols.
The Better Buddies program is an integral part of Mernda Primary’s transition program and runs throughout your child’s first year at school. Through Better Buddies, children in their first and last year of primary school buddy up and learn the values: caring for others, friendliness, respect, valuing difference, including others and responsibility. The program enables younger children to feel safe and cared for while older children feel valued and respected.
At Mernda Primary we value this system and integrate the framework within our curriculum. Each year, all Prep Students are ‘buddied’ up with senior students to ease their transition into school life. A lot of time is spent on building these relationships and provides your child with another support person in the school. During class time each week, the senior students will assist the Preps with a range of interactive and engaging activities. This provides a two way advantage for the students involved in the program, where senior students are able to develop their leadership and mentoring skills whilst the preps are helped to settle in and become more confident in the school yard knowing they have a ‘buddy’ to turn to.
Once buddies have been established students and their families are invited to attend our Better Buddies picnic where everyone is encouraged to bring along a snack and picnic rug. During this time we celebrate our buddies by coming together, singing songs, dancing and making new friends.
During class time each week, the senior students will assist the Preps with a range of interactive and engaging activities. This provides a two way advantage for the students involved in the program, where senior students are able to develop their leadership and mentoring skills whilst the preps are helped to settle in and become more confident in the school yard knowing they have a ‘buddy’ to turn to.