Foundation Information for Parents and Guardians
Thank you for taking the time to read this information. Hopefully, it will give you some ideas about how the curriculum will be covered and some of the teaching strategies used in Foundation. Our first term is a settling in time where
we work together to develop routines, appropriate work habits, and an understanding of school rules and procedures.
Foundation is an amazing and exciting year at school, and as your child’s formal education begins. As educators, we believe it is important that we are aware of your child’s learning needs. In order to gain a comprehensive understanding, each child is individually assessed, in both the areas of literacy and numeracy during the first few weeks of school. The results of these assessments enable us to group like-ability children to ensure that their learning is based on their individual points of need. As in all year levels, we want the students to enjoy school and to find it both challenging and exciting.
The following is a brief overview of how each Curriculum area from the Victorian Curriculum will be covered:
A minimum of two sessions each day are devoted to the teaching of Literacy which includes; reading and viewing, writing, speaking and listening.
During reading sessions at school, your child will be grouped with like-ability students to read. These groups change from time to time to meet the individual needs of the students as learning rates vary. Books are carefully chosen by the teacher to successfully build on each group’s skills. The daily teaching focus is reinforced with independent learning activities that the children complete while we work with other groups. Students participate in variety of engaging tasks; including, listening to reading, word work, read to self, oral language, fluency, comprehension, phonics and phonemic awareness activities. Big books, picture story books and other reading materials are used to explore whole-class focuses based around the CAFÉ (Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, Expand Vocabulary) reading strategies and other areas of need identified by the teacher.
Students will bring ‘take home readers’ daily. Take home readers provide the children with the opportunity to practise the skills that they are taught at school. These books are NOT meant to be challenging. They are an opportunity to develop fluency, confidence and to practise reading strategies taught at school. Nightly reading at home should be an enjoyable and happy time together. Always praise your child for the attempts they make. We always welcome any questions you have about reading at home and can discuss this with you individually if needed. An information evening is held at the start of each year to provide parents with skills and hints on how to assist your child when reading at home.
At the beginning of Foundation, we focus heavily on oral language, as one of the keys to being able to formulate and write sentences. Students are given the opportunity to write every day. They begin by writing repetitive sentences with lots of support from the teacher before moving into writing the sounds they can hear. Often students write the initial sound for each word they want to write, before eventually hearing and recording the final and then the middle sounds. As they develop greater understandings of letters and sounds, and learn to spell sight words (words that cannot be sounded out), they begin to write more.
We do lots of ‘modelled writing’ where we model writing for students. Eventually we move into writing pieces following the structure of a particular genre; e.g. recounts or narratives. Some of our big foci in Foundation are using capital letters, full stops, finger spaces and ensuring the direction of writing is from left to right. We will also do other forms of writing during the year, such as poetry, story writing, list writing, letter writing, recounts, procedures and information reports.
You are welcome to have a look at your child’s writing book at any time. Encourage your child to write at home. This will give you a good indication of the stage of writing your child is operating at.
We teach phonics throughout our reading and writing lessons, as well as through a program called Sounds Write; which is a sequential synthetic phonics program that is continued as your child moves into year 1, 2 and beyond. It is very important that students in their first year of school learn the ‘sounds’ of the alphabet. This enables them to have a go at sounding out words they wish to write and in some instances, in reading. Students learn small groups of letters and the sounds that they represent, through engaging, hands on lessons that are taught explicitly by the teacher. We also have a wide range of decodable books that are used in activities to follow up these lessons.
Cued Articulation is also used to help the children develop a greater awareness of how and where sounds are produced by using hand signs.
At the beginning of Prep we concentrate on correct pencil grip and sitting positions. The students do hand/eye coordination activities such as tracing, drawing, copying and colouring between lines. We also look at letter formation and practise on small whiteboards, particularly in relation to the letter we are focusing on at that time. Once the children have gained confidence and competence in letter formation, we work towards writing letters on dotted thirds.
A minimum of one session each day is devoted to the teaching of Mathematics, which includes: Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry, Statistics and Probability.
Throughout daily Maths lessons, the children are given the opportunity to understand how Maths will help them in their everyday lives. Many of the daily Maths sessions involve working on the floor and using concrete materials to count, sort and group. We play number games to develop the children’s skills and fluency. At this early stage, we like to make sure all of the students are confident with their concepts such as up/down, top/bottom, hot/cold, fast/slow, under/over, etc. A large part of the number work is done using numbers from 0-10. This may seem quite basic but it is important to make sure the students have a good understanding of these areas, before they move on. As they gain confidence and competence, we move onto understandings that are more complex, e.g. we will move on to simple addition, subtraction, numbers from 11 to 20 and then beyond. Counting patterns are practised through daily counting, as the basis of understanding Maths concepts. Measurement and Geometry areas include length, volume, capacity, mass, time and money etc. Statistics and Probability areas include asking questions to collect data, representing that data in various ways and interpreting that data.
Please do not expect your child to always bring home a worksheet. Most of the learning occurs during hands-on work and the sheet is often a quick follow up to the intensive session and is sometimes not required, as they have recorded their understandings in other ways. Many of the problems presented to the children are open-ended, which challenges their thinking and problem solving and provides them with a better understanding of how Maths works.
► Inquiry Learning Units of Work
Each term students engage in an Inquiry unit of work. Our Inquiry unit of work has a specific learning focus, e.g. on a topic from one of the following domains; Science, Design and Technologies, Digital Technologies, Geography, History, Intercultural Capabilities, Arts and Health. However, within our studies we integrate many of these areas in order to provide a comprehensive and relevant study of the topic. The Inquiry approach to learning encourages children to ask their own questions about the topic and then we work as a team to research and explore that theme.
We are incredibly fortunate to have such an exciting and stimulating library for our students to use, which has such a large number of up-to-date books, puppets and technological facilities. The library is open before school and during lunch times. We encourage our students to utilise the library as much as possible. One library session per week is conducted with the Foundation students to develop library skills such as borrowing, research and reporting, etc.
► Health and Physical Education
A specialist Physical Education teacher takes the Foundation students for one session per week. They engage in a variety activities that focus on being healthy and safe, cooperation, following rules, using trial and error, fundamental movement skills and sequences, using equipment, minor games, gymnastics and dance.
Foundation students are also involved in a variety of sporting opportunities throughout the year; including, Athletics, Cross Country, Hockey and swimming, etc.
In Terms Two and Three, we introduce PMP (Perceptual Motor Program) to the Prep class for an ½ hour a day, three days a week. This is an exciting program that helps to develop coordination, balance, memory and spatial relations. Parent helpers are greatly appreciated with this program!
► Visual Arts
Our Visual Arts program has been a priority at Terang College for many years. Children have one Visual Arts session each week with a specialist teacher. During these sessions, they explore colour, a variety of art mediums, construction and art appreciation.
Students participate in one Indonesian session per week. They participate in a variety of engaging activities to gain understanding of the culture and language of Indonesia. Activities are planned to allow students to connect their own understandings and interests to those of the people of Indonesia and the Indonesian lanugage.
► Wellbeing Programs
The wellbeing of our students is highly valued and a priority of our staff. We take a proactive approach through our Bounce Back and Respectful Relationships programs that are run by the classroom teacher. These programs help students to develop an understanding of their emotions, resilience, respect and ways to cope with stress, challenges and difficulties, etc. We also use elements of the You Can Do It program in our weekly Team Spirit sessions that include group challenges in each of the three houses, and are run by the House Captains. The Keys to Success (Getting Along, Organisation, Persistence, Confidence and Resilience) are regularly taught and referred to in everyday life at Terang College.
In addition to these programs, we also have a weekly whole-campus Assembly, where one class per week performs a weekly report. Students are also encouraged to perform, share work and successes. Student success are celebrated through weekly certificates and other awards.
Homework should not be seen as a chore. Homework will mainly consist of:
Daily reading to or with a parent/caregiver or older sibling
Practising sight words on a word ring (word rings are provided at the beginning of the year)
The extension of class work by practising skills or gathering information or materials.
This will generally not exceed 10 minutes per day.
If you have any questions about your child or the programs that are offered, please feel free to contact your classroom teacher to have a chat. It is always better to seek clarification, even if it may seem trivial, rather than worry or feel unsure.
At Terang College, we look forward to working with you as a team, and to have a great year with your child.
P-4 @Terang College