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THE TOOWOOMBA PREPARATORY SCHOOL

PREP YEAR PARENT INFORMATION BOOKLET


Lower Primary Department The Lower Primary Department includes the Kindergarten, Prep, Year 1 and Year 2 classes. Our goal is for every student to reach their potential by being confident and involved learners who engage in quality, approved Early Years curriculum and co-curricular experiences. The Arts, Languages and Physical Educational programs are successfully introduced and developed within the Lower Primary years of schooling, providing students with rich learning opportunities and effective communication skills.Technology skills and competencies are encouraged through the variety of relevant digital resources that students are able to access daily. Students develop a strong sense of identity and connectedness within the school and local community through our Pastoral Care Program and special weekly and yearly events such as Chapel, Assembly, Performances, Sporting Carnivals, Under 8’s Week and Book Week. We invite you to be involved and participate in the excitement and innovative twenty-first century education that The Toowoomba Preparatory School offers for your child. Educational Program The Australian Curriculum is our foundational curriculum document to ensure that quality learning experiences are planned and implemented throughout every year level.We provide an inclusive curriculum that caters for each child’s diverse learning and developmental needs. The children are encouraged to follow their interests, investigate, inquire and represent their thoughts. We aim to provide connections between prior knowledge and future learning in order to strengthen each learning experience. Teachers continually observe and assess the children’s learning in all curriculum areas. The acknowledgement of children as competent and capable learners and the significant role that adults play in optimising and enhancing children’s living and learning experiences is evident throughout the Early Years Learning Framework. Adults and children share responsibility for the learning process through interaction, negotiation and collaboration. Curriculum Areas The English, Mathematics, Science, History/Geography and Technology curriculums are planned in year levels as a part of the School’s Scope and Sequence based on the Australian Curriculum. A balanced literacy and numeracy approach is taught and assessed by the class teacher within English and Mathematics. The Science and Social Studies – History/Geography curriculum is planned and implemented from an inquiry approach involving engagement, exploration, explicit teaching, elaboration and evaluation. Technology is integrated throughout all curriculum areas as well as planned lessons to learn specific skills. English and Mathematic web based programs including Spelling City, Mathletics, Study Ladder, Oxford Owls E-Books are used for classroom and home use. Music Children participate in a weekly specialist Music lesson. Children will be given the opportunity to learn melody, beat and rhythm and enjoy singing and performing songs to a number of audiences. Physical Education Children are involved in a regular Perceptual Motor Program (Smart Moves Program) for 10-15 minutes three times a week and a Physical Education lesson weekly to enable further development of a student’s gross motor, ball handling, swimming and coordination skills. This promotes the School’s encouragement of active and healthy lifestyles. All children will be given the opportunity to participate in the Gymnastics Program, Swimming and Athletics Carnivals.

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Christian Education A weekly Christian Education lesson will occur for students to learn about Christian values with a focus on the Anglican ethos. French French lessons occur weekly in order for students to learn French literacy, numeracy and cultural language. Art Prep children participate in an Art lesson every week.Visual Art involves using visual art elements, concepts, processes and forms (both 2D and 3D) to express ideas, consider particular audiences and particular purposes, through images and objects. Class teachers also organise curriculum relevant craft lessons weekly as a part of the learning process. ‘Out of the Box’ Rotations Prep,Year 1 and Year 2 children are involved in the ‘Out of the Box’ program, which involves Drama, Media, Dance, and Technology/Design activities with a Cross Curricular Priorities focus. Library Attendance The children participate in weekly visits to the library to borrow books. This fosters their love of books, literacy and technology. Teachers encourage the children to borrow a variety of texts including fiction and nonfiction genres. Children are to return their books weekly in order to borrow new texts. Sport Prep, Year 1 and Year 2 classes participate in an organised Sports Program on a Friday afternoon. The Sports Program is planned to provide opportunities to develop fundamental motor skills such as locomotion, ball control, throwing, tracking/trapping, kicking and striking.The development and proficiency of these motor skills are the basic building blocks for a wide range of sporting activities. Regional sporting associations are invited to be involved in our Sports Program to give the children access to and experiences in different local sports. Chapel Lower Primary children attend a weekly Chapel service. Individual classes lead the service based on the Term’s theme/topics. Children are able to bring dry or canned goods, which are collected during the service and given to a local charity. Parents are very welcome to participate in our services. Assembly Lower Primary has a weekly Assembly. During Assembly, notices are given, birthdays are celebrated, School Values/Behaviours are discussed and awards are presented. Awards include Merit, Prep 5, Reading Rocket and Mathletics certificates. Students’ success in the eisteddfod and community/sporting groups are acknowledged and praised. Please notify your class teacher via email or personally if your child has been involved in or received an award outside of school so we can recognise their great efforts during Assembly. Prep 5 Our Prep 5 program promotes positive social behaviours amongst the students to create a respectful and supportive school environment. Students are encouraged and rewarded in class and Assemblies to follow the Prep 5 behaviours: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Be a good sport. Hands off. Kind Words/No Put downs. Respect property. Manners Matter.

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Prep Connect The Prep Connect program occurs once a week. All students at the school have been divided into 24 multi-age groups. There are eight groups for each of the three Houses, consisting of an allocated teacher and students from each year level.The goals of the Prep Connect program are to build companionship and friendships across all year levels, complete activities from the Personal Development Curriculum, Buddy Reading and School and Community Projects. School Events and Special Days Throughout the school year the children eagerly participate in a number of Lower Primary and Wider School events. These events include the Lower Primary Swimming and Athletics Carnival, Under 8’s Week, The Exhibition of Children’s Art, Song and Verse Performance, Grandparents’ Day, Easter Extravaganza, Fathers’ and Mothers’ Day activities, Book Week, End of Year activities and our annual Carol Service at St Luke’s Church. Please refer to the School 2014 Calendar for specific dates and times. Events are also advertised regularly in the Prep News. Homework By definition, homework constitutes the out-of-class activities that the teachers assign to students. These activities provide the students with an opportunity to apply and practise their skills. In the Prep to Year 2 classes, the quality and quantity of time the children spend reading with their parents and sharing talk is the most important aspect of homework.The time that parents and children spend together in this way stands to foster social and language development as well as a greater knowledge and understanding of the world. A home reading scheme, which includes school readers and library books, is in place to promote reading progress in lower primary years. Homework activities may also include practising spelling and vocabulary words, number facts and preparing speaking and listening activities. Some students complete their set homework quickly and we encourage students to apply their skills to the following activities: • • • • • •

Reading recipes and helping with cooking dinner (English and Mathematic skills). Reading a wide range of texts to younger or older siblings and grandparents. Playing board games that require literacy and numeracy skills. Writing a letter or email to a friend, teacher or family member. Website activities including Mathletics, Spelling City, Study Ladder etc. Using maths.e.g. Set the table together. Ask: ‘Who is coming for dinner? Mummy, Daddy, you and Pete. How many forks do we need?’ • Learn spelling and number facts by using play dough, using shaving cream to write the spelling words or numbers in the bath or on the shower screen, use a chalk board or a whiteboard to write etc. Please remember that the children have spent the day learning at school. Physical activity is an essential part of a balanced and healthy life and we encourage afternoon play and sporting/musical activities. We understand the complexities of family life and ask that if your child is tired or unable to complete their homework tasks that you write a simple note in their communication book. Please Note: Homework folders should be brought in to school each day, to allow for notes or messages to be added. It is essential that homework folders are returned to school every Friday for marking. Time Allocation Prep to Year Two students need to only spend 10-15 minutes maximum, including reading from Monday to Thursday. If your child is spending longer than this please talk to the class teacher to discuss different options.

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Ten Tips to help your child when reading We encourage all parents to help their children use the ‘Do the jive with the Reading Five’ strategies when they approach new and unknown words. 1. 2. 3. 4.

Look at the picture.Think of the first sound. Sound it out. Read on. Re-read. (Go back and read it again.)

Tip 1: It’s great to share! Don’t give up on talking about picture books, short chapter books and even sharing bedtime stories and information books with your child. Choose what to read together and exchange views. Sharing a love of reading will rub off on them! Tip 2: Take the lead! Try reading slightly more difficult books together – you read one page and your child reads the next, or you read the main information and they read the captions. Hearing you read fluently and seeing you read for information will help them to see what reading can be. Tip 3: Encourage an opinion! Talk about books when you’ve finished reading together. Talk about the characters and what happens in a story, or what specific bit of information was most useful, but also get them to give you their opinions too. Let them tell you if they don’t like a book, and why. It’s OK not to like some books or to prefer reading on-screen sometimes! Tip 4: Make links. As well as talking about the book itself, make links between events or information in the book and your child’s own experiences: ‘Do you remember when we did that ...?’Get them to ask questions too: ‘Is that how Grandad does it too?’ Tip 5: It’s important to listen! Your child may be bringing home slightly longer books from school now, but they are still likely to be part of a structured programme and levelled in difficulty so teachers can match the best books to your child’s skills. It should be a comfortable read – endless struggling is no fun and can put children off! Enjoy talking about it together too. Tip 6: Phonics and Chunking is important. It is effective to begin with a phonics first approach when your child gets stuck on a word. Sometimes your child will still need to work out an unfamiliar word sound by sound, but increasingly it might be easier to look at the chunks or syllables in a word, for example camp-ing or butt-er-fly. Help them to do this. Tip 7: Spot letter patterns in words. Ask your child to point out words that look like they should rhyme but don’t: home and come; do and no. And words which do rhyme even though they look different: come and sum; there, bear, hair. This will help with their writing too. Tip 8: Get your child to perform. When your child reads aloud encourage lots of expression and get them to use different voices for the different characters or to use different volume or pace. Reading to a younger sibling might demand this and is great practice! Or get them to try learning a poem off by heart. And making a sound recording is fun too. Tip 9: Quiet time and silent reading. As well as reading books aloud together, encourage your child to sometimes read alone and sometimes silently.This isn’t as easy as it sounds, but it shows that your child is reading more effortlessly. Show how you read your own book or newspaper silently. Tip 10: Hug a book! After a busy day just listening and enjoying a story is a childhood privilege.

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What do we know about children and their reading? • Some children are less likely to talk about what they are reading so try to find ways to chat informally about a news story, magazine, book or film... • Boys spend less time reading so don’t be too harsh if it seems too little! Even five minutes a day can make all the difference. • Boys like to read different books to girls. Boys tend to go more for humour, science fiction and action. • Both boys’ and girls’ interest in a topic really does seem to make a difference to their understanding so it really is worth choosing books that match their interests and hobbies. You can do it! Children often feel that mistakes equal failure. A child‘s response is to say that he/she ‘can’t do it’. To help your children feel that the CAN do it, give them lots of encouragement when they do something well. It’s also important to remember that mistakes don’t equal failure; it’s just the way we learn. Reading isn’t just about books! Encourage your children to read when you are out and about together. Try reading labels, signs, posters, instructions... the list is endless. Words are everywhere, so read them. Organisation School Day The School day commences at 8:25am and concludes at 3:20pm on Monday to Thursday and at 3:00pm on Fridays. It is very important for children to feel settled at the beginning of the school day so we ask that the children arrive and have their belongings unpacked ready to start at 8:25am. Classrooms open at 8:10am and teachers are finalising their preparations for the day and welcoming the children. Collection – Outside School Hours Care and Lookout As we have a number of options for your child to be collected in the afternoon, it is appreciated if you indicate daily on the Collection Sheet in the Prep Centre Foyer to ensure your child’s safety. If your child has not been collected by 3:30pm they will be taken to the office and then to Outside School Hours Care, located on the lower floor of the Roberts Building. Morning and Afternoon Care It is essential that you also book your child in Morning and Afternoon Care through School Reception as per our Booking Policy. Food Requirements Parents are required to provide Morning Tea and Lunch in a named lunchbox. We suggest adding an ice brick to keep the food cool. Morning Tea (10:30-11:05) All Lower Primary eat morning tea from 10:30-10:40am. We suggest food items such as fresh or dried fruit, raw vegetables, biscuits, cheese or yoghurt. The students sit and play in our Prep Centre outdoor area and are supervised by teachers on duty. Lunch (1:05-1:50pm) A nourishing, wholesome lunch of fresh food is desirable – sandwiches, baked beans, chicken, ham, tuna, salad, cheese, crackers, fruit salad, fresh fruit, yoghurt are good options. We recommend that children drink water during this time rather than cordial and juice. Please always send a named water bottle for your child even though water from the bubblers is available to children at all times during their day. The students sit in our Prep Centre outdoor area to eat and play for the first semester and are supervised by teachers on duty.

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To encourage good nutritional habits, please no chips, lollies, soft drinks, roll ups or chocolate products. Please include a piece of fruit and a healthy drink each day. Allergies Due to children with allergies enrolled in the school, we ask parents to not send any food containing nuts. Please ensure that your class teacher is aware of any food allergies as cooking activities may occur on special days, ‘Out of the Box’ and throughout the curriculum areas. Tuckshop Once a week the students are able to order tuckshop. This is organised through the P and F who use Flexischools website as their ordering system. Please refer to communication through the Prep News for 2014. Reading Only Reading The students are often tired after lunch and participate in Reading Only Reading as an opportunity to be involved in quiet individual reading activities. Treasures from Home We would appreciate it if no toys are brought from home. Toys or jewellery can often get lost or broken when brought to school, so it saves anxiety if these are kept safely at home. Your child is encouraged to bring to school any type of interesting specimen or object – rocks, shells, insects to enrich the program, or special photos of family members, events. Please be careful to provide air holes for insects to breathe. Plastic containers are safer than glass. Birthdays A birthday is a very special time for every child. On this special occasion you are welcome to bring along a cake, preferably cupcakes for your child to share with their class. Children whose birthdays fall in the holidays may share their birthday before or after the holidays. It is important that birthday invitations are only distributed within the class when every child is invited. Your child’s teacher will be more than happy to provide you with a full listing of first names of the children in the class. A sense of belonging within the community is very important; no child should ever come to Toowoomba Prep and feel they are excluded. Excursions and Incursions On occasions, the children will be taken on excursions to complement the curriculum. At other times visitors will be invited to offer the children an extension of their current program. Parents will be notified of forthcoming excursions through email communication and letters. Parents may be invited to share these valuable learning experiences. Permission slips will be issued for each excursion and must be signed by parent(s) prior to departure. Excursions/Incursions provide children opportunities outside the school to expand learning and transfer expectations into a new setting. Children also develop a sense of responsibility in relation to organising themselves for this day, taking responsibility for such items as bags and drink bottles. Health Centre All medical concerns are directed to our qualified nursing staff in the Health Centre. The nurses will contact you if your child is unwell or they require medication. Please ensure that Medical Forms and Contact numbers are updated regularly.

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Communication with Families Open, supportive communication between school and home is very important if children are to receive the optimal benefits from their education. The School sees itself as a community of students, teachers and parents where the correct emphasis is placed upon effective communication.When parents wish to discuss matters about their child, then the class teacher is the first point of contact in any matter concerning their child’s educational well-being. If you wish to speak about your child’s progress or any concerns please arrange a mutually agreeable meeting. We communicate with you as a family in a number of ways; letters delivered through your child’s diary/Prep Communication Book or emailed to families who have email facilities, our website and parent information boards which inform you of the class notes and events. The school emails a fortnightly newsletter, Prep News, which covers activities and information for all year levels. Communication Book A communication book is sent home each night with the children’s homework. It often includes important information about upcoming events or activities. There is a section allocated for parents to communicate any personal messages which the teacher should be aware of. Concerns, Complaints and Suggestions Having a procedure to follow concerns, complaints and suggestions encourages and allows issues to be dealt with thoroughly, comprehensively and with sensitivity towards all concerned. Please follow these guidelines should you have any queries or concerns. All enquiries regarding the program or individual children should be directed towards the educator concerned and then the Director of Lower Primary in the first instance. If necessary, issues will then involve the Deputy Head and following on, the Head of School. Parent Involvement Parent participation is fostered and welcomed throughout the School. Throughout the year, parents will be invited to attend social events, reading and maths groups. These are organised, not only to support our program, but also to be informative and encourage parents to get to know one another. Visitors, Students and Volunteers The Toowoomba Preparatory School believes it has a responsibility to the development of tomorrow’s teachers. From time to time, Universities and TAFE colleges request the placement of student teachers as part of their training process at the School. The acceptance of these placements is based on the children’s needs and the educational program during the period of placement. Students are always under the supervision of the teacher in charge of the class. Volunteers are also welcome. However, these volunteers must comply to the laws governing volunteers working with children in the community.

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Prep Year Parent Information Booklet 2014  
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