Aiming to ensure the first experience at the School is a truly positive one for all of its students, Christian College Geelong is working to meet the needs of its youngest students.
Part of this is ensuring its Prep children to make the transition from kindergarten to school as seamlessly as possible – for both the student and their families.
Christian College says successful transition can be achieved by building on the commonality between the kindergarten and school learning environments, and supporting the students’ ongoing learning and development in ways that are familiar to both the child and the parents. Creating this progression involves building on the children’s prior experiences and knowledge to help them feel secure, confident and connected as they move into their first year of school.
Building on the individual kinder experiences children have had prior to starting at Christian College is vital. The teaching and learning in the Prep year provides explicit teaching of literacy, numeracy, and other key curriculum areas including specialist classes such as Music, Japanese, Art, Technology and Design, Health and Physical Education, Library and Digital Technologies. These opportunities continue to stimulate all aspects of the students’ development including their social, physical, intellectual, emotional and creative abilities.
One of the ways Christian College is building on its transition program, is the welcoming way the Prep learning environments are set up. Through the use of specifically designed learning centres and activities, Prep teachers draw upon children’s interests and lives to make learning real, relevant and meaningful. This is achieved by providing authentic opportunities for children to think laterally and creatively; to self initiate, explore, problem-solve, take risks, construct ideas and meaning, and to think deeply.
Doing so maintains the real interest in learning. Such a student-centred, individualised approach provides the children with a range of stimulating activities, which are developmentally appropriate for each child and nurture their growth, both academically and emotionally. Christian College provides learning environments that support the transition to school by:
- Reflecting and respecting the children’s ideas, interests and backgrounds.
- Providing creative and open-ended experiences.
- Providing opportunities to work alone and alongside each other.
- Promoting a sense of authentic choice.
- Embedding explicit skills of a range of curriculum areas.
- Focusing on the development of the ‘whole child’.
Throughout their Prep year, children also participate in the Bush Prep program. This is an extension of the Play Based Learning approach, in which children are regularly engaged in an outdoor bush or beach environment, and they come to understand and appreciate the natural environment as the ‘third teacher’.
Students enjoy having a different and wider space in which to design their own projects (such as building bridges, tree houses or teepees, imaginary kitchens, etc), discover special things unique to the outdoor setting (including the different sounds of the local frog population) and collaborate on how to solve immediate logistical problems (such as making a stick construction more stable) and so on. It is a time and space within their busy daily programs when the children can just ‘be’ and appreciate the opportunity to be in tune with themselves and their environment.
Bush Prep is an opportunity to provide a real, authentic context for students to focus on skills in a developmentally appropriate way. Students explore, experience, discuss, report on and create texts, read stories, and examine mathematical concepts in this real-world environment. It allows for the growth of their curiosity that they draw upon when back in the formal classroom.
Bush Prep is a way for Christian College to connect students with ideas and experiences they can readily identify with. They are encouraged to build a sense of belonging to their local and school community, and in turn, this grows to provide a sense of self-worth and a place in the world.
Christian College says that by integrating programs such as Bush Prep and Play-Based Learning activities into formal education teaching, it can maintain an important balance in the lives of its students. By creating meaningful learning opportunities for the children in its care, long-term retention and understanding is enhanced. The College also adds that this balance is very important in the early years.
To learn more about Christian College’s specialist programs or to book a tour, please contact your nearest Prep Campus option. For more information, please click here.