Welcome to Foundation at Parkdale Primary School!
We begin the year building the students phonological and phonemic awareness skills. Phonological awareness is a broad skill that includes identifying and manipulating units of oral language (syllables, onset and rime, rhyming words)
Phonemic awareness refers to the specific ability to focus on and manipulate individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words. Phonemes are the smallest units comprising spoken language. For example the word ‘dog’ is made up of three phonemes /d/ /o/ /g/. Phonemic awareness is the foundation to a strong reader and writer.
We follow an order of sounds in line with Decodable Readers Australia to ensure the readers students take home the sounds we have explicitly taught in class first. We also use Cued Articulation (a set of hand cues for teaching the individual sounds in a word) and photos of children’s mouths to show the correct placement of the tongue, teeth, and lips when producing specific sounds.
The Big 5 underpins our Reading Instruction from Foundation to Grade 6. We believe the 5 pillars of: Phonological/Phonemic Awareness; Phonics; Vocabulary; Fluency; and Comprehension are the essentials for reading success. We use a structured literacy approach incorporating MSL/OG and a range of effective programs under the Big 5 umbrella. At Parkdale Primary School we reflect on what works best for our students, research best practice, and adjust accordingly.
Take Home Reading Program
We use decodable readers (words can be sounded out) for our beginner readers, who then progress onto levelled readers (e.g. PM) for take home books only once they have established strong decoding skills and moved beyond the initial code. Students take home a book each night to read to/with parents and return the next day. Each morning we have ‘Corridor Reading’ which is assisted by some wonderful Parent/Grandparent helpers.
By the end of first term we start to send home Sound Packs. This allows our students to:
We have Literacy Rotation sessions 2-4 times a week. This is when the students work in small ‘like ability or specific needs’ groups on a range of different reading and writing activities. One group at a time does a focused activity with the teacher. This allows us to teach explicit reading strategies in small groups and at students’ point of need.
We have set writing sessions throughout the week. Our MSL/OG Approach is well established and students grow and develop their writing skills in a supportive, positive environment. We model and explicitly teach the writing process, starting from recording letters to words, then onto sentences and beyond. The use of mini whiteboards and teacher roaming ensures students are helped at their point of need. Throughout the year we explore different writing genres, such as narratives, information texts, letter writing and procedural texts. Each Monday morning we write a recount and we encourage parents/carers to assist in our Monday writing session as a helper.
Handwriting is explicitly taught alongside the introduction of sounds. We work on fine motor skills, pencil grip and letter formation throughout the week. We use the Victorian Cursive font for handwriting, but also teach students other fonts to ensure they recognise them when they came across them in books whilst reading.
Speaking and Listening
Foundation children participate in Show and Tell weekly. Children also have opportunities to develop their speaking and listening skills through the use of the Seesaw app, as well as various classroom activities. Oral language has a strong relationship to reading comprehension and to writing.
We use Mentor Texts that are rich in literature to pull out new vocabulary for students to learn and use in conversations and their writing later in the year. Our Mentor Texts are also used to teach student’s comprehension strategies.
We have 5 Mathematic sessions a week. Number is our main focus and we have three Maths Group sessions in a week where students are grouped according to ability. We pre and post each concept to ensure students are in the group that will most beneficial for their needs. Our fourth and fifth Maths lessons are held within classes and covers the Applied Topics of Measurement, Shape, Statistics and Probability. We also incorporate the building of Problem Solving strategies skills such as making a model, acting it out, drawing a picture or diagram and more, within our sessions.
ADDITIONAL CLASSROOM LEARNING:
Children participate in 2-3 Social Skills lessons a week, plus incidental lessons. We incorporate the Resilience Project, Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships (RRRR) and MYTERN programs to ensure students build emotional literacy, resilience and the social skills needed to deal with their first year of school. We also focus on building understanding of our school 'Super Six' values.
Students study different inquiry topics each term. In Foundation, we cover the topics of All About Me, Materials, Transport, Healthy Me, The 5 Senses and Animals.
(Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths)
Children participate in 1 STEM lesson a week with a dedicated Specialist teacher in the Science room. In class we also have STEM lessons that are often linked with other curriculum areas, particularly our Inquiry units. To allow children to explore different areas of STEM, we provide 'Tinker Time', which gives the children an opportunity to design, create and build with very small boundaries.
Students attend 5 Specialist classes a week - Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Physical Education, STEM and Japanese.