Prep-Year 2 Group News
Welcome back, and here we go, another different looking term. It was great to catch up and touch base with you all during Parent Teacher Interviews, in the comfort of our own homes. The children have impressed us with this term with their resilience and ability to keep smiling and laughing throughout these COVID times, accepting and embracing the continuous changes we are all experiencing. The children's engagement in our Zoom sessions and Seesaw is to be congratulated and again hats off to the parents. We rely on you so much to make this work! You've suddenly had to take on the roles of teacher, photographer, videographer, and IT support technician. We feel we have found a better mix between Zoom and Seesaw tasks this term, and we hope it's suiting your needs as a family. As always, please let us know if it's not working for you, and we can see what we can do to help. Stay safe!
While this term hasn't gone to plan, there is much for us to celebrate with the students making continuous gains in their maths and Literacy, and we can't forget '100 Days of Prep'! We've been counting down until this moment all year, and the kids were so excited to celebrate this special milestone as 100-year-olds, of course! There was grey hair, wrinkles, walking sticks, reading glasses, knits, and everything old!
This term, we have begun exploring our new central idea 'Products and services are created to meet the needs of a community.' It has been wonderful to see the children starting to think about roles and responsibilities, occupations, and different products and services. They have been encouraged to explore these ideas, engage in the design process, and be creative and critical in their thinking. The children have enjoyed being inventors and engineers. In the following weeks, the children will use these skills in a mini project linked to areas of personal interest. We will focus on procedural text for literacy links, and for maths, we will explore money. Stay tuned!
This term, we will continue to play lots of number games to reinforce number sense. We have introduced naming, making, and recording two-digit numbers to build on their understanding of place value and will continue to focus on this. Counting forwards and backward will be another ongoing focus. We will also explore subtraction to make numbers smaller, using 'take away' language.
We will continue to revise phonograms learned so far and introduce new multiple letter phonograms. The children will be encouraged to have a go at independent writing and experiment with finger spaces and simple punctuation such as capital letters and full stops.
We have also introduced weekly spelling sessions where the children will learn about 'markings' and spelling rules so they can start using these skills in independent writing. 'Inventive' spelling is a big developmental step for children at this age, so please encourage them to have a go and break the words into syllables so they can hear all the sounds. It's all part of the learning process, so go with it and remember to celebrate it!
Reading will be a big focus this term. Please continue to work your way through the 'Reading Pathways' program and AYERS words sent home. It's been great to see so many Preps reading; I'd love to see more videos of how your child progresses with their reading.
It has been a great start back this term, and while it's not ideal that we are all home again, the children certainly seem engaged and enthusiastic in their learning. I feel we have all taken some lessons from the last time about what worked and what didn't work, and have committed to this new style of teaching and learning. This term, we are starting our unit on Sharing the Planet with a focus on resources and sustainability. Our central idea explores the way we use resources and the impact this has on our earth.
The unit will have a strong Indigenous focus, and we will look to the Country's first people for lessons on how to use resources with respect and minimal impact on the environment. We have asked Peter Aldenhoven from the Willum Warrain Aboriginal Association in Hastings, to run a 'virtual' incursion looking at 'Mother Earth.' Each Thursday for the next three weeks, he will run a zoom session to explore different ideas related to this theme. Peter has a wealth of knowledge and a beautiful storyteller, so we are very excited to join us.
We have started working on persuasive texts in Literacy, and the students will be using their persuasive skills to try and convince those around them to look for and adopt better ways to use everyday resources. We will continue to build the development of specific reading and writing skills and have introduced weekly spelling sessions that seem to be working well online! We have been so impressed with everyone's progress in reading in particular. Keep encouraging your child to read each day from either the Pathways page or the online readers (or any other suitable reading material you may have at home). In Maths, the children will also use their knowledge of tally marks and graphs to record and collate data about how we use resources. We will even start a new unit of multiplication and division, where we explore ideas of 'equal groups' of objects and 'sharing fairly.' This is the foundational step before students move into formal learning of times tables in Year 2 and 3.
We have introduced a 'Happiness Book' this term as a way to focus on wellbeing and resilience in these tricky times. Inspired by the studies of The Resilience Project, we will use these books to explore and practice gratitude, resilience, and mindfulness - all considered to be essential for helping improve mental health!
This term, the Year 2 Unit of Inquiry, focuses on 'Sharing the Planet.' Our Central idea, 'People can work together to create sustainable practices and solutions,' has already created an abundance of curiosity. Last week, we wondered why divers are finding disposable masks and disposable gloves on the ocean floor in Europe and discussing what choices we can make to diminish the waste. We are also investigating persuasive texts and how different advertisements persuade their audience to purchase their items. We will also be looking at multiplication and division in maths and looking at money - so keep that stash of Australian coins handy.
Together we're all being open-minded inquirers and principled thinkers in this new world we are living in. It is now critical that we also remember to be balanced in these times. The importance of physical and emotional balance needs to be recognised for your child and your well being.
OLIVIA, CATH, BRITT & HEATHER