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Our Learning Journey in Sea Turtles

As children grow and develop, they become more curious of the world around them and are driven to learn and explore.

This is an important time to support their curiosity by exposing them to as many learning opportunities as possible. Pre-Prep programs are crucial for children in the early childhood years to provide stimulation of growth and brain development. Guiding children to learn at their own pace and preparing them for “big school”

Alongside our ‘Mindful kids’ Resilience, ‘Empowering Our Youth’ Indigenous and Nature Inspired Learning programs the Pre-Prep children are provided with intentional learning experiences guided by the Queensland Kindergarten Learning Guidelines and Queensland Health Developmental Milestones. The experiences vary daily to ensure that all children are provided with the opportunity to learn through play, across the different developmental areas.

Letter and sound awareness

Good phonological awareness starts with children picking up on sounds, syllables and rhymes in the words they hear. 

In the Pre-prep classroom, the children are encouraged to tune in to the individual sounds in words. Playing with the words they hear in everyday speech prepares them for reading.

What does this look like in the classroom?

  • Books with rhyming words eg; pointing out the parts of words which sound similar to others. Did you hear the “at” sounds when reading the story The Cat in the Hat.
  • Identifying & pointing our repeating sounds eg; One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. Stretching out the initial sounds.
  • Games which encouraging matching of letters and images eg; Alphabet Bingo, the image gives a clue to the letter sound.
  • Interactive “Pick and Click” activities using the smart board. Matching Images the it’s beginning sound.

Pre-writing skills

Pre-writing skills are the fundamental skills children need to develop before they are able to write. These skills contribute to the child’s ability to hold and use a pencil, and the ability to draw, write copy and colour. A major component of pre-writing skills are the pre-writing shapes. These are the pencil strokes that most letters, numbers and complex shapes are made up of.

The children are practicing their pre-writing skills when they;

  • Track and trace a letter, number or shape;
  • Complete a maze, following the curves and shape of the line;
  • Draw letters in the paint or sand tray;
  • Draw using straight, curved or diagonal lines;
  • Make letters in the air using large arm movements; and
  • Colour and draw for enjoyment.

Number sense

Is the ability to use and understand numbers, and also identify number relationships in order to solve mathematical problems. Number sense encourages children to think flexibly and promotes confidence with number.

In Pre-Prep, the children participate in whole group, small group and one-to-one intentional teaching opportunities. Through the use of concrete objects and manipulative materials the children are able to build on their current level of understand and work towards developmental goals.

  • Sorting and counting using loose parts;
  • Identifying patterns, complete the pattern cards;
  • Number matching puzzles;
  • Comparing objects, identifying differences and similarities;
  • Recognising Australian coins and notes values; and
  • Counting forwards and backwards in sequence.

Inquiry Based Learning

Inquiry -Based learning in Pre-prep is about asking questions, encouraging investigation, creativity and exploring new was of thinking and solving everyday problems.

Through the inquiry process, children observe, raise questions and make predictions. It is not about being correct, rather about being able to formulate an independent opinion and sharing ideas and thoughts. 

The Pre-prep children have participated in several Inquiry investigations over the past months.

  • Walking water – observing how capillary action can move water from one cup to another. Making prediction about which colour will move the faster and if the colours with mix to make secondary colours.
  • Skittles Rainbow – predicting how long it will take for the coloured coating of the skittle to dissolve when placed in different liquids. Observing the patterns made when the skittles are placed in a circle.
  • Growing Salt crystals – using a supersaturated salt solution to coat different materials to grow crystals. The children experienced their first experiment fail with this as they crystals only grew on the cardboard and not the wool, which produced a new discussion as to why this happened.  
  • Ice Cream in a Bag – making home made ice-cream without using any machines, just a lot of human powered shaking.

Gross Motor Skills

Gross motor abilities are not just about hand-eye coordination and brain gym, gross motor has an influence on everyday functions.

It plays an important role in preparing children for the physicality of school;

  • Sitting upright at a desk;
  • Moving between classes;
  • Carrying school bags; and
  • Navigating new environments.

Each day in pre-prep the children are encouraged to use their bodies effectively. Sitting correctly when eating their meals, standing at a table activity to build up their core strength, negotiate the obstacle course in different and challenging ways and participating in music and movement experiences.

Developmental Milestones

Developmental milestones are markers that are set forth by early childhood experts as a tool to measure a child’s growth in four primary areas of development.

  1. Speech & Language;
  2. Social & Emotional;
  3. Cognitive & Intellectual;
  4. Fine and Gross Motor.

Each week in the class engages in a series of intentional learning experiences focusing on these milestones.

Fine motor

  • Using writing tools and manipulative tools with confidence and purpose;
  • Making beaded bracelets and threading activities;
  • Designing a cubbyhouse; drawing with detail; and
  • Scissor snipping and cutting different materials for junk construction.

Speech & Language

  • Singing songs in the Yugambeh Language and learning the Yugambeh words for common Australian animals;
  • Sharing interesting facts about our weekend, holiday and family life;
  • Alphabet chants, raps and phonics songs; and
  • Participating in peer and teacher lead discussions.

Social & Emotional

  • Being able to resolve conflicts between friends;
  • Expressing our emotions and feelings;
  • Identifying emotions in peers; and
  • Engaging with peers in an appropriate way.

Cognitive & Intellectual

  • Compare objects eg; fast/slow, long/short;
  • Understanding 4 step directions;
  • Completing group and independent puzzles;
  • Becoming familiar with literacy and numeracy concepts; and
  • Problem solving, investigating and being creative.

This is just a snapshot of the learning occurring in the Pre-Prep room and does not include all of the incidental discussions, special occasions, celebrations and learning opportunities occurring weekly.  

Daily Journal notes are posted on the board in the classroom each afternoon along with work samples on the walls and in each child’s journal. If you have any concerns about your children learning journey, please feel free to book in for a meeting.

That’s all from Miss Patti and the Sea Turtles (Pingins).

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