Junior Class K-2
The Literacy Programme in the Early Childhood classroom has a strong phonics focus, with the use of Jolly Phonics and Sound Waves Phonemic Spelling Resources. The Interactive Whiteboard is utilised for a warm up session every morning, where children chant the sounds and do the Jolly Phonics actions to go with each one. The sounds are linked into the Sound Waves spelling each week for the pre-primary to year two students. The kindergarten students complete craft activities based on the sound for the week. All students are able to access ‘Reading Eggs’, an interactive reading programme on the computer.
Writing is taught based on the gradual release model – the children being given explicit instruction in format, structure, grammar and punctuation. They are then able to create their own writing and learn to read their work and edit. The pre-primary to year two students also have formal handwriting lessons each week.
The Bug Club Reading resources are used for Guided Reading in the classroom and the activities relating to this involve comprehension, phonics, writing, grammar and punctuation. A comprehension Reading Box and Rainbow Reading programme are also used with the year one and two children as part of the Literacy Block. This enables some children to work independently, whilst others work with a staff member.
Children are encouraged to read with parents every night, and kindergarten children have first sound home readers for the second half of the year. Pre-primary to year two students also have sight words to practice.
The Numeracy Programme is based on Go Maths resources and involves many hands-on, exploratory activities for all children from kindergarten to year two. This is then consolidated in workbooks for the pre-primary to year two students.
The Interactive Whiteboard is also utilised in Mathematics for demonstrating various concepts and for reinforcement with games that the children could take turns interacting with. The pre-primary to year two students also have access to Mathletics on the classroom computers and at home.
Parent help is utilised whenever possible in the classroom, particularly for help with craft activities on Kindergarten days, and to listen to children read.
Senior Class 3 - 6
The senior class students are encouraged to achieve to the best of their ability and to gain independence and confidence. We want our senior students to take on any challenge they may face now or in the future with the skills they require.
The senior room environment is a safe area where students feel they can take risks with their learning and receive support in their endeavours. The students have the opportunity to work in small collaborative groups with others and by themselves. The students are offered a range of creative and critical thinking activities to make their learning as interesting as possible while catering for individual differences. Small group and individual instruction are provided to students requiring addition assistance.
The senior class has a strong emphasis in literacy, numeracy, technology and the arts. The students work in a literacy and numeracy block every day. The literacy block integrates the three strands outlined in the Western Australian Curriculum. The numeracy program encourages students to develop Mathematical understanding, logical reasoning, analytical thought and problem solving skills. The students are provided with explicit teaching models and the opportunity to practice and consolidate skills.
The children in the senior class make the environment warm and inviting as they work well together and allow for differences. The children are kind, caring and considerate towards each other and their teacher.
Our school is multi-aged in all classrooms. This means rather than one class per year group, our children are advantaged by having multiple year levels in each group.
What The Research Says:
Sixty four research papers on multi-aged classrooms found that 58% of the children in this situation did better than their peers who were in straight grades, 33% did as well and only 9% did not do so well.
Research showed that multi-aged children were more likely to have good ‘self’ concepts, better attitudes to school, greater resiliency and higher self-esteem than children in straight year levels.
Arthur Whimby ( a recognised research leader in this field), in his research program TAPS, indicated that the older children demonstrated higher academic improvement and IQ (up to 18 points). This was because they were mentors and leaders demonstrating their knowledge and understanding on a regular basis.
In another study in the 60’s (this concept is not new) indicated that older children, even if they were the poorer readers, improved their own reading by up to two years.
The advantages for children are-
quality relationships with teachers, in all rooms;
a positive classroom climate as is developed by teachers with children across the school.
enhanced learning opportunities from peer tutoring and learning. The older children may be given the opportunity to peer tutor. This is one of the most potent forms of teaching and learning in education. The younger children will experience this and the older children are provided with the opportunity of modelling their learning.
increased independence from teachers. More and more of the children at Wandering and in the system are having to develop individual learning techniques. The use of modern technology demands this, children in both year levels are able to model, teach and apply these skills. (University results)
a wider range of roles within the group for students.
smaller groupings, split years have less children;
enriched academic activities, because of the development of skills in independent learning, there is the opportunity for children to work on more specialised programs if the teacher so decides;
extended opportunity for socialization. Children may have two year levels to play with instead of exposure to only one.
improved self-esteem. Children in the senior section of the class are provided with a chance at leading their younger peers. The younger children become confident because they are dealing effectively with older children every day and may also take on leadership skills impacting on children older than themselves.
respect for individual differences may be developed more expediently;
students are assessed regularly as is the case in all classrooms. Performance is monitored to ensure that children are attaining suitable standards and not falling behind their expected year level attainment.
learning is based on the individual as much as is possible;
the focus is on success, the student moves forward, building on prior knowledge as is the case with all children.
students think of learning as fun, and therefore become life- long learners. All teachers aim at making this a priority.
that when teachers plan they do so for different ability groupings in the class. This is exactly the same in straight classes. A straight year class may have up to four groups in language and mathematics. This means that programming, evaluation and reporting are required for these groups. For that reason straight year placements are the same as a split year placement. This fact is not realised by many parents.