Reading, writing and speaking and listening are all linked, as in real life. Purposeful activities and explicit teaching are carried out at all levels requiring children to write and to talk about actual experiences and imaginative adventures. Over recent years, we have been very successful at implementing best-practice Early Years Literacy strategies—reading, writing, speaking and listening—throughout all year levels through a 2 hour literacy block each day. We pride ourselves on our ability to teach its students to read, understand, appreciate and communicate!
When writing, children are encouraged to try to use new words to extend their vocabulary; and so at the first-copy stage, less importance is placed on spelling. However, the significance of correct spelling for the final copy is emphasised. The school has adopted formal writing and spelling programs such as SMART SPELLING, which is supported by THRASS principles (Teaching of Handwriting, Reading and Spelling Strategies) and Words Their Way (Grade 5-6 explicit spelling program). This has improved the continuity of writing and spelling programs. The school has also developed a plan for the explicit teaching of different and increasingly-complex writing styles (genre) to the students. Writer’s Notebook, VCOP (Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers, Punctuation) – Cold Write and Big Write ar e incor por ated thr oughout the school.
In junior grades (Prep to 3), children read sequential readers, large and small picture- story books and a variety of other materials. Through consistent daily practice, students are assisted to develop a love of reading, a knowledge of phonics [alphabet and sounds], an ever-expanding sight vocabulary and most importantly, comprehension skills. They learn to identify and use word families and to gain meaning from words by reading them in context. Buddy reading programs also operate on a weekly basis with the Prep/1 and Grade 5/6 classes. Students participate in SQUIRT, shared reading and partner reading.
In the upper school (Years 4 to 6), reading should be mostly independent, but some children still need to be taught specific decoding and comprehension skills. At this level, students learn to read critically and appreciatively by reading books from a variety of sources.
At least once a week, children at all levels work with a teacher for a session of Guided Reading. During this structured reading session, a small group of children read the same text, discusses its contents and also their reading strategies. Teacher-guided discussion develops and assesses each child’s level of understanding of the text.
A library program operates where students are able to browse and borrow books from our extensive collection of books. Naturally, children are encouraged to love and enjoy good books, and to read for recreation and information.
Language intervention and extension programs are also run by specialist teachers and teacher aides such as reading, speech and oral language programs.
Speaking and Listening
Students from Prep to Grade 6 are explicitly taught how to speak in front of a group and audience. This may include Show n Tell and formal speaking activities such as the Lions Club public speaking competition (Grades 3-6).
Children actively measure, weigh, count, estimate and calculate, graph, draw and describe their solutions to real problems. Fractions, decimals, geometric shapes, area, volume, etc. are all taught and used in practical situations. Of course, a growing knowledge of tables and number facts and problem solving skills are vital to the whole process. Formal and abstract computations are taught as understanding develops.
Mathematics is a core subject and an ongoing priority. The school uses Booker , Michael Ymer planners and Powerpoints to sequence lessons each term according to the Victorian Curriculum and the KSPS Teaching and Learning Model to plan detailed lessons. To complement the explicit teaching, rich maths tasks have been developed across all year levels. We have purchased many new teaching and learning aids and are extremely well resourced. Through their growing involvement in both the Early Years and Middle Years Numeracy initiatives, teachers are introducing new practices to their mathematics teaching. From time to time, teachers conduct information sessions to help acquaint parents with the current ways by which children are taught mathematics. Teachers have undertaken significant professional development and followed this up by adopting a program to ensure that all facets of mathematics are covered in the primary years. Since our involvement as a Department SIP lead school from 2018-2021 in Maths, we have been using Essential Assessment throughout the school. Students also use Mathletics to develop skills.
We have teachers trained in EMU Maths. EMU stand for Extending Mathematical Understanding.
We provide the opportunity for all students to learn about the Indonesian language and culture. A specialist teaches Indonesian to Preps – Grade 6 and infor mal lessons are taken by class teachers. Additionally, children in each classroom are encouraged to practise basic Indonesian language—names of days and months, greetings, counting numbers and common objects—and in doing so, assist the integration of the language throughout the school and community.
Health & Physical Education
The school recognises the strong link between achievement in P.E., enhanced self esteem, a healthy body and the adoption of useful leisure pursuits. Kerang South has a strong P.E. program with a specialist teacher. The fitness, motor- coordination and social skills of its students often show up in advanced skill development.
The school also recognise the importance of helping children feel good about themselves and developing positive social skills. It runs a whole-school program called Respectful Relationships. This program incorporates ‘You Can Do It!’ that focuses on the teaching of skills and values related to success. The 5 foundations of success are persistence, organisation, getting along, resilience and confidence. Cybersafety and bullying prevention are also taught as well as Protective Behaviours.
All students participate in a diverse range of physical education activities including swimming, gymnastics, athletics, ball handling and minor and major games. Junior students are given activities to develop skills such as balance, hand-eye coordination, memory and self-confidence. Students in Prep-1 participate in PMP (Perceptual Motor Program) once a week for 2 terms to complement the P.E. program and support early development skills. Children are taught the fundamental motor skills i.e. to run, jump, catch and kick. Research has shown that the early development of these attributes improves the attainment of academic skills.
Students in the upper school have a weekly sport session through which modified major games are taught and practised. The school participates in most district and regional school sports and is often represented at state championships e.g. cross country, athletics, swimming, lightning
premiership winter sports. Visits by major games skill development officers via sports clinics are encouraged e.g. basketball, hockey, football, badminton and athletics.
All children attend swimming sessions at the local pool — usually for two weeks during first or fourth term – plus several other days. Small groups are taken by teachers with parental assistance. Children are kept active and warm on cool days. Adequate sun protection must be provided on sunny days. All children are expected to attend swimming lessons and a written note is required for non-attendance.
Students are involved in creating wondrous works of visual art with a wide range of 2 and 3 dimensional materials with an art specialist teacher. They are encouraged to express themselves and appreciate the beauty of form, shape and colour. A well-stocked art room and activities within the school’s Integrated Curriculum Plan support this program. Students, from an early age, are also taught how to create and manipulate art works using digital technologies.
The school runs a specialist music program to encourage the creation and appreciation of music. Forms and structures, rhythms, dancing, singing, and percussion instruments are all part of the enjoyable program. The children are encouraged to participate in various performances e.g. singing Club, Rhythm and Voice Workshops, Carols by Candlelight, Northaven activities etc. as well as the school’s weekly assemblies. At times, a volunteer also runs extra singing classes once a week in the junior school. In 2020, KSPS received a $6500 to purchase new instruments and work with the Song Room and also a $1500 class set of African drums after staff completed the training for African Drumming. This is beneficial for developing social skills, communication skills, fine and gross motor skills, and it also assists with many cognitive and emotional needs. It is a wonderful stress reliever and a means of improving confidence and self-esteem. Drumming is also therapeutic.
HUMANITIES, SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ICT
This year, all grades are using the Mappen integrated studies program. These engaging units of work cover all areas of the curriculum with the exception of explicit numeracy and literacy. This sequentially-planned seven-year program ensures that each child experiences a broad range of learning experiences especially around the Victorian Curriculum outcomes in History, Geography, Economics (Gr. 5 & 6), Technology, Science and the capabilities (Ethical, Personal & Social, Intercultural, Critical & Creative Thinking). The aim is to help children understand themselves, understand society and their world, and know how they can participate effectively in a democratic society. It is inquiry based and seeks to develop broad understandings about the world that we live in. Teaching focuses on the development of knowledge, skills, thinking tools, values and actions.
All grades from Prep – 6 follow either Mappen or the Science Units in the Primary Connections program. This program was adopted by the school 8 years ago to address Science outcomes as well as promote literacy skills.
“Primary Connections: Linking Science with literacy” is an innovative approach to teaching and learning which aims to enhance primary school teachers’ confidence and competence for teaching science. It focuses on developing students’ knowledge, understanding and skills in both Science and literacy.
Primary Connections key features:
- An inquiry and investigative approach
- A comprehensive professional learning program
- Award winning curriculum resources linking science with literacy
- An ongoing research and evaluation program
The Primary Connections: Linking science with literacy project is supported by the Australian Government.
Computers, iPads & Digital Technologies
Computers, iPads & Digital Technologies
Computers and iPads are used extensively across the school to complement and enhance, not replace, explicit teaching by staff. The school has over 150 computers, laptops, netbooks and iPads accessible to its students, 26 of which are located in the one room and the remainder distributed across the classrooms. In addition to this, each Grade 3-6 student has their own iPad for school and home use. All the computers are networked and connected to laser printers and selected Internet resources. Students use the computers for a variety of purposes such as word processing, multimedia presentations, problem solving, data gathering, keyboarding skills, spread sheet analysis and desktop publishing. Teachers use computers for teaching and administrative purposes. Each child has his or her own Mathletics, Essential
Assessment and Reading Eggs accounts (Raz Kids, Literacy Planet, Seesaw) and the ability to access a moderated suite of Internet resources. The use of both of these facilities is stringently controlled.
The school plans to replace its computers every three years. Students must sign a responsible user agreement at the start of the year. All classrooms have interactive whiteboards.
As a Primary Maths Science Specialist school (2016-17), Kerang South has a strong emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) from Prep-6 and has embraced the new Victorian Curriculum subject, Digital Technologies, which also includes coding.
Better Buddies School
The Alannah and Madeline Foundation’s Better Buddies Framework is an initiative designed to create friendly and caring primary school communities where bullying is reduced. Each Prep is paired with an older child in Years 5 and 6 who, as a buddy from the first day of school, cares for the child and helps with any adjustment to school life. Each pair engages in regular pre-planned activities. Students in other grades are also buddied up and engage in buddy activities once or twice a term.
As a part of our wellbeing program in the school, all students have been assigned to a teacher buddy (a teacher other than their class teacher). Several times a term, the buddy teacher has a special lunch with their buddies and also regularly checks in with their student buddies to make sure that everything in the yard and classroom is going well following up with any issues arising. Regular notes are kept to track each student’s wellbeing and engagement.
Excursions & Incursions
Excursions and incursions are a vital part of our curriculum. Please be prepared for the major excursion costs. These are usually:
15 Mile Creek
Five days (Term 1 – Every 2nd year)
Four days (Every 2nd year)
Bendigo / Melbourne / Halls Gap
Two-three days in Term 3 or 4
Kyabram, Swan Hill or Melbourne Zoo
One day in Term 2 or 3
Other minor trips occur from time to time at little cost. Parents with a current Health Care Card are eligible for the CSEF which helps cover some of the cost.
When sufficient teachers are not available for supervision, parents may be asked to accept responsibility for groups of children. Most often, their excursion costs will be covered. The school prefers that parents who accept such a role are not accompanied by a pre-schooler.
S.R.C. – Student Representative Council – Promoting Student Voice
Representatives are elected from all grades in the school to sit on the School Representative Council in addition to our school captains. The S.R.C. discuss ideas and issues that have been brought up in class meetings and they also organise fundraisers. Fundraising activities enable the school to contribute to selected charities. Emphasis is placed on supporting local organisations as a means of assisting the children to develop a social conscience.
Students have the opportunity to participate in an extensive range of extra-curricular
activities throughout the year. Extra-curricular activities are extra activities outside
the regular curriculum that complement our school programs. Some examples are as follows:
- Minecraft Club, children run clubs
- Sports Clinics e.g. badminton, A.F.L, hockey, basketball, open water
- Mother’s Day and Father’s Day activities and stalls
- Rotary Spelling Competition
- Rotary Junior Leadership Program
- Lions Club Public Speaking Competition
- ICAS (International Competitions and Assessments for Schools)
- Jump Rope for Heart & Healthy Lunch Days
- Arts Performances
- Excursions, Incursions and Camps
- S.R.C., selling mementos for the R.S.L.
- Book Parade and Book Competition
- Special Events e.g. Anzac Day, Remembrance Day, Family Science / Maths Night, Better Buddy Day, Day for Daniel.
- Guest Speakers e.g. Life Saving Victoria, J.R.F.H, Victoria Police, A.F.L.
players, Red Cross.
- Dress Up Days e.g. Olden Days, Easter Parade, colour days, Halloween.
- Special Local Days e.g. Emergency Services Day, Reconciliation Week,
- Rhythm and Voice workshop.
- GRIP Leadership Conference
- Tabloid Sports
- Clean Up Australia Day
- Fresh Fruit Friday
- Open Water
- Royal Flying Doctors