OUR JUNIORS

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Years 0-2, 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 Junior class for a "learn through discovery", Reggio inspired, programme.  Our Juniors 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 our ‘morning routine’ – a mix of welcome waiata and karakia, the roll, calendar maths, bilingual date and weather, and alphabet practise. Our ‘special helper’ of the day assists with tasks such as deciding on the language/greeting for the roll and organising the whiteboard signage.

This is followed with an outside ‘brain 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 then 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. While they all eat, some of the children share news.

 

The remainder of the morning block is taken up with literacy activities. This includes a mixture of some Word Work (building knowledge and understanding of the alphabet and how it works), spelling practise and handwriting. Once completed, the children make individual choices within a range of developmental activities around the classroom.

The morning block ends and it's time for morning tea, eating together and followed by outside play.

After morning tea we rotate around a mix of reading, writing and maths. We begin with a shared ‘big book’ which may relate to any of these areas, and also provides inspiration for our ‘Imagine, Make, Create’ time. This is where creative and imaginative play and crafting leads to experimentation with the new digital technology curriculum, the children taking beginning steps in understanding and using ipads to share their work.

 

Reading: 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, and the library corner.

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. We use practical activities and games to develop understanding, with worksheets in dispersed to form a record of what we have been working on.

 

Our afternoons tend towards the practical, through our topic work, or Values (Authentic, Passionate, Resilient Explorers), or mixing up the classes for a rotation of groups around a theme, such as Matariki, or science experimentation.


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.

Becky Hancock-Sims

Sanderson Whānau Teacher

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