Schools are facing the challenge of preparing students for an unknown future, where “65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new jobs types that don’t yet exist” – The Future of Jobs, World Economic Forum 2016
The rise of automation and technology is highlighting the need for students to develop a range of transferable skills and competencies that can be used across disciplines and situations. The 21st-century skills for lifelong learning have been widely quoted in recent years, building from the foundational literacies, competencies and character qualities. At St Columba, we are working on the Deeper Learning Project, a whole school initiative, based on the work of Michael Fullan.
Michael Fullan has described Deeper Learning as “quality learning that sticks with you for the rest of your life”. Deep Learning includes the Six Global Competencies: creativity, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, character, and citizenship. According to Fullan, learning should be “irresistibly engaging, elegantly efficient, technologically ubiquitous, and steeped in real-life problem solving”. The Deep Learning Competencies, better known as the 6Cs, are the competencies that each and every student needs to achieve and excel in, in order to flourish in today’s complex world.
SCAS Start Interviews
You should have received an email informing you of the date and time of your child’s SCAS Start Interview. These interviews happen in the first three Wednesdays of the term and provide staff with a chance to run individual testing in a number of areas to determine a student’s specific learning needs. These interviews run for 30 minutes per student and only your child is required as this is a 1:1 interview between them and their Kindergarten Teacher. They are a chance for our teachers to really get to see where your child is starting their learning journey without the influence or distraction of others. On Wednesday 19 February, you will have an interview with your child’s teacher. An invitation to book times will be sent out early next week.
Our English program is about promoting a love of literature as students learn the power, value and art of communicating in many textual forms. Learning is across areas of speaking and listening, reading and viewing, spelling, grammar, writing and representing, handwriting and word processing skills, as well as reflecting on how they express themselves. For all areas, we look at how our students respond to texts and also their own compositional skills. Literacy is the fundamental skills or building blocks needed to access English. These areas are taught explicitly as well as explored within the context of English.
We have a strong reading program within our school focusing on the reading of quality literature which promotes broadening of vocabulary and deeper comprehension. Therefore, in Term 1 we only send home rich texts with the expectation that parents will read with their child. At this time, the emphasis is on modelling the skills of a great reader, using expression, pausing and phrasing words in groups to build meaning. The aim is that this text is studied over the week, with a different focus each day. The first day the focus is on listening and absorbing the story with no discussion. We provide a prompt bookmark that guides your weekly discussions.
Students begin school reading from the very first day. During Term 1 readers are read in the classroom and from Term 2 your child will bring home a reader for them to read to you as well as a rich text which you are still expected to read. In addition to this, each week there are focus high-frequency words for your child to learn. Making flashcards is a great way to revise this. Having them visible for the week is really beneficial. Each day students revise these in class and read these within sentences. On a Friday these are tested. Should your child be identified as already knowing the majority of these words, they will be encouraged to learn to spell them. Your child will also have access to Reading Eggs or Reading Eggspress to provide an online learning forum to revise reading and phonics skills at home.
Mathematics is another fundamental part of our lives. Students spend three days a week exploring number concepts and two days exploring space, geometry and measurement. The main theme in Kindergarten mathematics is number identity, deepening their understanding of number values between 1-30 and also the comparative language of mathematics, bigger/smaller/longer/shorter. We encourage students to investigate mathematical concepts, pose questions and challenge concepts. Students have access to Matific as an additional online program to revise learned skills.
Science and Technology
Our aim is to create passionate young scientists who learn skills to investigate the world they live in and explore their curiosity. Our lessons are inquiry-based with students posing questions and testing hypothesis. Students also learn how to present and analyse results and ways to communicate their findings to others.
Geography and History
The focus for these units is for your child to learn more about oneself and the immediate environment in which they live as they begin to use tools and develop skills needed by historians and geographers. The first semester they will focus on history, exploring their own histories in Term 1 and then exploring how their family histories influence their own lives. Later in the year, they will study maps, images and landmarks within their immediate environments of the home and school.
Students learn French through every grade in the Primary School. At this early age, the focus is on learning that people around the world speak different languages from us. Throughout the year they learn keywords through songs and activities. Some of these will be shared with parents so you can support the revision of words at home.
Personal Development, Health and Physical Education
Our PDHPE program is a strength-based program which aims to build knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes important for students to take positive action to protect and enhance their own and others’ health, safety and wellbeing in varied and changing contexts. Your child will engage in physical activity every day of the week, playing structured games, participating in gross motor activities and learning to climb, swing and balance. On Fridays, Kindergarten has an allocated longer sport session where they engage in ball skill development and athletics skills. They wear sports uniform to school on a Friday and remain in them all day. It is also recommended to pack extra water on this day during the warmer months.
Primary Behaviours for Learning
We have three main pillars that guide our behaviours at SCAS. We unpack these explicitly as part of our well-being program and embed them into all parts of our School.
At SCAS, we have a strong wellbeing program that addresses the need for us to explicitly teach skills of social competence to ensure all children can positively interact with others in society, moving from being predominantly ‘me thinkers’ to ‘thinking about others’. Students learn that their thoughts control their feelings and that people have varied responses to others based on how they behave. They also learn about expected and unexpected behaviours and how unexpected behaviours make people feel uncomfortable and less calm. We encourage the use of this language at home as well as at school.
Zones of Regulation
This program is also part of our social skills program, specifically focusing on teaching students how to identify emotional reactions within themselves and others and to learn strategies to manage these emotions. Our message is that throughout life we are still learning to do this and we encourage you to share with your child that we all experience a myriad of emotions in our day. What matters most is how we manage these emotions and how they define the rest of our day.
Creative and Performing Arts
Performing Arts Hour
What do they do in Kindergarten Primary Performing Arts Hour at St Columba Anglican School?
Performing Arts Hour occurs every Thursday. Kindergarten will need to attend school in their sports uniform.
The Performing Arts classroom directly links to content and concepts explored in the Kindergarten classroom and wellbeing. Participation and collaboration is key to the success of Performing Arts Hour. Each lesson is designed to deepen cognitive learning through sensory engagement and arts embodiment learning. Performing Arts hour stresses the interrelated relationship between body, mind and environment. Providing a deeper learning experience for students to develop their 21st-century skills through creative and fictional settings that explore real concepts relevant to their world; concepts such as cultural diversity, empathy, globalisation, sustainability. Primary Performing Arts Hour presents dance, drama and music in one multidisciplinary classroom setting and on a wider scale provides students with transferable skills that connect a cognitive understanding of curriculum subjects with physical embodiment and creative thinking. Students learn through being creators rather than passive consumers of knowledge. The lessons designed make it possible for students of little or no dance, music or drama experience to have as much success as those who have had the opportunity to have years of training in one or more of the subjects. The aim is to build collaborative skills, allow students to create through experimentation and participation.
In Kindergarten, we build basic skills and nurture a love of music through being “Tuneful, Beatful and Artful”. We learn through play, props, games, fun, laughter. There are many ways to help and encourage these skills at home. Sing with your child and get them to share their songs from school. Play all kinds of music, tap your foot to the beat, dance, move. Students receive a 1-hour lesson per week and also have a 30-minute singing session. This session will integrate some of the themes from their classroom programs, e.g. rhymes in Term 1.
Kindergarten have one Visual Arts lesson a week in the Primary Art room. Students will learn some routines such as how to put their smock on, how to use different materials in the art room and how to tidy up. They will begin their Visual Arts journey with some general drawing and painting activities. From Term 2 onwards their artworks will be inspired by what they are learning about in the classroom. At the end of Term 4, we celebrate all the children’s work with our SCAS ART exhibition. Please ensure that student’s art smocks have their name on them, stay in their classroom and are brought to the lesson each week as needed.
Christian Studies and Chapel
SCAS is a faith-based school, and therefore follows the ethos of the Anglican Church of Australia. We have the privilege of attending a weekly Chapel service. In addition, your child will be having a half-hour Christian Studies lesson each week, following a book called Beginning With God. Some of the take home pages will be shared with you throughout the year. Your child will work on memorising verses of Scripture which they will hopefully carry with them for life. Junior Crusaders is an optional Monday lunchtime club where we delve into what it means to live our life the Jesus way. Drama, colouring, singing and Bible stories comprise this time together.
Service: Compassion Project
This year we are encouraging service by students in the form of earning pocket money from doing jobs. This will be collected monthly to the maximum amount of $1 with individual jobs earning small amounts so they learn the value of money and feel they are contributing to society. The money raised will help sponsor a foster child from around the world through Project Compassion.
We have two main off-site excursions for Kindergarten. Your child will be enjoying a visit to The Glasshouse to watch The Magic Beach which fits beautifully within their Term 3 English program on imagination. They will also visit Ox Hill Farm to learn more about the production of food in sustainable ways. Beyond these, your child will enjoy a number of incursions and special activities throughout the year.
SCAS is a world of opportunities so it is not surprising that we have a vast co-curricular program. Your child can choose to be involved in dance, Crusaders, the gardening club, or a skipping club. As they progress through the school the opportunities increase, as they learn to manage their time and become less fatigued by the school day itself. All information about the activities available as well as time and location can be found on Explain SCAS.
Your children will learn the “expected behaviours” from their first day. They are required to put their lunchbox and water bottle into a tub and put their diaries onto their desk. As we are a ‘No Hat, No Play’ school, please also encourage them to check they have their hat in their bag each day. It is a great idea to have a spare hat which is left at school. Our main message that helps with organisation is label everything as clearly and in as many places as you can.
Drop Off and Pick Up Routines
Drop off for the first few weeks will happen in our Library. This is a great meeting point where many distractions can be provided. Should your child have difficulty separating, which seems to happen to all at some point and often when least expected or needed, you can seek support from a staff member. At this point ensure you have already said goodbye. The staff member will aim to distract your child and give you a chance to duck away. If this happens, please go. Do not stay for one more kiss as this is cruel and generally promotes more prolonged distress. Over time this separation gets easier.
Please write your child’s afternoon routine in their diary for the first week or so, until you have completed a form from your child’s teacher indicating the general routine your child will follow. After this time you are only required to write any changes to routine in your child’s diary on that day. Any last-minute changes to routine should be communicated through our Primary Office.
This year we are completely rubbish free or at least that is our intent. We encourage healthy lunches that are free from packaged waste. Our Canteen is also pursuing this as much as possible. Should your child bring rubbish home this is just our way of teaching them to look for other ways to wrap/package lunches.
The only compulsory homework is reading and frequency word revision. That said, some days this won’t happen and that is okay occasionally. We use a grid system that allows your child to have choice within their homework, as well as some must-do activities. We encourage mindful activities and also for your child to participate in physical activity as well. In this way, we are teaching your children about the importance of balance in their lives.
If you have not already downloaded the SCAS app then we strongly encourage you to do so as all our links can be accessed through the app. Our main reference if unsure of anything is Explain SCAS. If you are unable to find your answer here, please email it through and it is quite possible that we will add that information to the site. Your child’s diary is their organisational tool and all communication in the diary is about helping that. Should you wish to meet with your child’s teacher please avoid doing this before school unless this has been organised prior. Our recommendation is in person or verbally on the phone is best. Email can be sent to teachers for minor issues or to inform them of something but please remember they are generally not on emails during school time so may not reply.
Finally, a quote to remind you all that every child’s learning journey is unique and special. Children learn at different rates and we can only support and encourage them to do their best.
We look forward to seeing you all again at the Stage 1 Cocktail Party. This is a fun night to dress up and meet many new parents who will become part of your family as time moves on.
Please find a PDF of the presentation here.