Years 1-2, our Juniors (Sanderson whānau), are taught by Becky Hancock-Sims. Our Junior programme is designed to ease the transition into school and to provide all the learning and emotional support young children need to give them the best start possible.
All our classes merge regularly to enable opportunities for a variety of friendships to blossom without the restrictions of age, and allowing opportunities for positive peer mentoring and role modelling.
Every Friday 4 year-olds from our community join our new entrant class for a "learn through discovery", Reggio inspired, programme. Our new entrants are then given the opportunity to be the role models for our pre-schoolers.
A 'typical' day in Sanderson Whānau...
During the morning, Sanderson whānau work on their core learning; reading, writing and maths.
A typical morning follows this pattern:
We begin with Word Work - building knowledge and understanding of the alphabet and how it works.
This is followed with an outside break based on the Perceptual Motor Programme, using the school grounds to develop awareness of how our bodies can move, and develop practical skills that feed back into the classroom environment.
It's time for a 'brain food' snack: choosing something from lunch boxes that will help concentration until morning tea - a snack that includes protein or fruit/vegetables.
Children are now ready for Reading activities. In their reading groups, children work on levelled reading books, beginning with ones with simple repeating patterns in the text, and moving onto story lines as the students' skills and reading vocabulary expand. We work on the meaning (does it make sense?), the structure (do we say it that way?) and the visual (what can we see that can help us?). Along with the guided reading groups, we rotate around other reading activities such as alphabet apps, sight word and spelling practise, library corner.
The morning block ends and it's time for Morning Tea eating, News, and outside play.
After morning tea it's time for Milk (Milk in Schools) while we talk about our writing activity for the day.
Writing: Beginning writing is daily practise of letter names, sounds and patterns through Word Work, and using this to work on short pieces of writing relevant to the students' lives and experience. Learning about the structure of writing, such as punctuation and making it make sense, runs in tandem with this.
Maths: Working on the basics of number knowledge and strategy - what numbers look like, what they stand for, what we can use them for and how we can use them in everyday life.
On Fridays, we have our '4 Year Old Friday' session, when 4 year olds are invited to come and visit in preparation for beginning school. The students can choose from a range of activities that develop their motor skills while having the opportunity to socialise with upcoming class members, and the pre-schoolers can enjoy a gentle introduction to school not too dissimilar to their kindy experiences.
Incorporated through all of this, we work on social skills, particularly of working together, listening to others and accepting that we can all have different ideas, different strengths and weaknesses.
We also have an ongoing involvement with the natural world, through our daily visits to the edible garden, use of the school grounds in our work, and often having living things to watch and care for in the classroom, such as monarch caterpillars or seedlings.
Sanderson Whānau Teacher