Our Programs - JUNIOR SCHOOL

The 2017 Junior School team consists of Shirley O’Shannessy, Charleigh Nichols, Nadia Pulvirenti, Tess Richardson, Emma Harris, Josh Normoyle, Nicole Furlong, Genevieve Moriarty, Carmel FitzGerald, Helen Stanley, Michelle Bird with Educational Support Marilyn Di Paola and Sharon O’Connell.

The following information is intended to give an overview of what will be happening in the Junior School this year. As each teacher brings to the classroom individual strengths, interests and talent, there will be differences in the day-to-day activities in each room. However, the overall program will provide common experiences, and will ensure that the children are working towards appropriate Victorian Curriculum Standards.

In all areas of the curriculum we are using the Yarrambat Primary School Learning Process. We begin by building knowledge – bringing what the students know to the topic, using their senses and trying things out. Using this information we can make meaning – sort and group ideas, compare and contrast, and evaluate. We then apply our understanding by taking action, deciding how to present the information, design, solve and create. Using this process allows students to understand where they are up to in the process at any time, and gives them responsibility for their own learning.

We use an Inquiry approach in our classrooms so that the learning from different curriculum areas is linked and made meaningful for the children. We offer differentiated learning to cater for individual students’ needs. The school year commences with a Gold Start program which focuses on our school values, classroom expectations and routines, student wellbeing and learning stamina. Inquiry Learning involves students forming their own questions about an area of interest and developing research skills to discover the answers. It also provides opportunities for various incursions and excursions throughout the year to enhance the learning taking place at school and offer new experiences. The students are both problem posers and problem solvers, and are encouraged to examine the complexity of the world and form understandings and generalisations.

Junior School teachers work as a team to plan, organise and implement differentiated learning in Reading and Viewing, Writing and Speaking and Listening. Each unit combines their classes for reading activities to ensure the wide range of abilities are catered for. Children are involved in 10 hours of literacy activities per week. The school offers further literacy support through Reading Recovery, Reading Discovery and Fluent Oral Reading programs. Students are encouraged to change their home share books daily and read to or with an adult or sibling each night. The books that the students borrow are designed to be easy, this is because at home we would like them to practise fluency and expression rather than decoding. Whilst the range of home share books is adequate and varied we also suggest that children read a variety of text types from different places e.g. home, local library or school library. During Term One, children are focused on establishing a home reading routine. It is important for them to see the value of practice in improving the skill of reading. Once Term One routines are in place, daily writing and spelling activities will form part of the writing program. Spelling will be taught strategically using a variety of approaches .The THRASS (Teaching, Handwriting, Reading and Spelling Strategies) program is used to develop letter-sound relationships and spelling choices. Over the year we will explore a number of writing genres, including recounts, procedures, narratives and reports. The third component of English is Speaking and Listening. Each classroom will provide a rich oral language program with daily opportunities for children to develop their skills. Using a confident voice, organising thoughts, listening attentively and asking clarifying questions are important skills that are specifically taught.

Our Mathematics program is based around real life experiences and activities. The program has a balance between Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry and Statistics and Probability. Children work daily on mathematical concepts following the Early Numeracy format - whole class, small group, whole class. Children work in groups based on their learning needs where they experience activities that use a variety of materials and challenge their problem solving skills. We cover 5 hours of mathematics per week beginning each session with Number fluency (number facts and counting). We encourage you to practise Mathematical concepts at home with your children.

Information Technology
Students have access to laptops and iPads in each double room providing them with flexibility and engagement. They use a range of technologies to aid their learning in all curriculum areas. Students are taught specific computer skills to allow them to use computers independently. All Junior School classrooms have access to an Interactive TV which engages children in their learning and provides diversity in the delivery of the curriculum.

Personal Development
The Personal Development Program at Yarrambat Primary School is a highly valued program that gives children an hour per week on whole school topics and ongoing involvement in discussions and problem solving. This incorporates the KidsMatter mental health and wellbeing framework which aims to nurture happy, healthy kids. These programs empower students to be the best learners, problem solvers, friends and individuals that they can be. Children will begin to see how their adherence to the school rules assists them in developing the values that the School Community have deemed essential for everyday life. The Junior School Rules incorporating the School Values are as follows: 1. Always do as the teacher asks the first time. – This demonstrates you showing respect for yourself, peers and teachers. 2. Use your manners and put your hand up when you wish to speak. -This demonstrates using manners and politeness. 3. Always try to do your best. - This is you striving for excellence. 4. Always be kind and friendly to everyone- No Bullying. -This is you demonstrating kindness, friendliness and rejection of bullying. 5. Behave in a way that is safe and allows others to learn. -This is you demonstrating kindness, friendliness, confidence and respect.

Parent Involvement
Parents are welcome to assist in the classroom, and are often invited to assist on excursions and come to special events. All Junior School teachers are available to discuss any concerns at a pre-arranged suitable time. The beginning of the day when teachers have responsibility for the class is usually not a convenient time. A phone call to the office or a note to your child’s teacher is always preferable to organise a time to talk. We look forward to an exciting year ahead, encouraging and supporting the children in their journey of discovery and learning.