Welcome to Preparatory School
The Preparatory School is the beginning of the formal learning adventure. Children in the early years of schooling bring with them a natural wonder and curiosity about their world and their place within it. The role of the early childhood educator is to plan and implement learning experiences that will support each child’s learning and development.
The early years provide a critical foundation for lifelong learning and the acquisition of life skills and abilities. Early learning needs to be rich, contextualised, developmentally appropriate and connected to young children’s worlds and their community experiences.
This phase is characterised by children’s rapid rate of growth, learning and development, children’s different learning pathways and their multiple forms of expression. Children’s learning is socially and culturally constructed. Their social, emotional, cognitive, physical, aesthetic, spiritual and moral learning and development are highly interdependent and influenced by:
- parents and family;
- the school;
- the wider community in which they live; and
- the way in which the different parts of their world interact.
Play is especially important in early childhood education. It provides opportunities for children to express and test themselves and their ideas, make decisions, solve problems, explore, negotiate, and learn to regulate their own behaviour and that of others.
It is hoped that the Preparatory School experience will set a foundation of excitement and enthusiasm to continue the learning adventure into the Junior School and beyond.
The Preparatory School is driven by a commitment to provide a nurturing approach, stimulating classroom environments and a comprehensive Early Childhood education. This is undertaken through the careful crafting of a Kindergarten, Pre-Primary, Year One and Year Two program, which seeks to satisfy children’s cognitive, spiritual, physical, social, emotional and creative needs.
We recognise that by acknowledging a child’s developmental benchmarks, a relevant and meaningful curriculum can be delivered. Purposeful play, direct sensorial experience, physical engagement of innate curiosity, the valuing of serendipity, and exposure to acquiring knowledge in a variety of ways, are some of the strategies employed to scaffold the learning process.
Our philosophy is based on building solid foundations that encourage the blossoming of the ‘whole person’, and from which our students will invariably draw upon as life-long learners.
We continually endeavour to build a collaborative home-school partnership. We promote parents as being the ‘first educators’ of their children. In 2009, The Council of Australian Governments produced the Early Years Learning Framework that describes childhood as a time of belonging, being and becoming. Children feel they belong because of the relationships they have with their family, community, culture and place. Being is about living here and now. Children need time to just ‘be’- time to play, try new things and have fun. They start to form their sense of identity from an early age, which shapes the type of adult they will become.
The teaming of students and teachers into sub schools is a key feature of Ursula Frayne Catholic College. The structure allows the College to focus on the special characteristics of students in the early years of schooling. In particular, fine and gross motor skills, language development, social skills and being independent. In additional the structure facilitates early intervention strategies to give students the best start to their schooling.
Our integrated curriculum and learning area policies, assists us to manifest an approach that seeks to meet the cognitive, spiritual, physical, emotional and creative needs of all students.
The teaching of content, skills and values is in accordance with the student-based outcomes and year level targets, set within the guidelines of the Western Australian Curriculum Framework and Catholic Education.
We are conscious of ensuring that the curriculum is taught developmentally and sequentially, throughout the primary school years. The integration of learning areas occurs by the teaching of a broader ‘organising concept’ that is topical and correlates with student interest.
The acquisition of literacy and numeracy skills is emphasised greatly. The ongoing professional development and accountability of staff ensures effective pedagogy and models of best practice are devised. We have in place some very explicit assessment tools that allow for early identification and intervention and are complemented by the academic support and extension programs we offer. A ‘shared expertise’ is fostered in monitoring student progress and achievement, through links maintained with outside agencies, such as Speech Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Psychologists and Behavioural Optometrists.
The Preparatory School is the ‘gateway’ to our College community, where students and families are welcomed with friendly smiles and reassuring words. Our aim is to establish a positive attitude to school where our students embrace the learning opportunities given to them, in order to reach their potential it is essential for the children in our care to feel safe, valued and supported in the school environment. We strive to make the transition from home to school both a rewarding experience and a natural progression for our young learners.
We appreciate that next to families, schools provide much influence in forming beliefs, attitudes, values and behaviours. The innate guidance we provide is accentuated by the Catholic ethos that structures and defines our school community. The spiritual well-being of students, parents and teachers is catered for through religious instruction, access to counselling, regard for Christian traditions and the practice of Catholic rituals, such as Eucharistic and Liturgical celebrations.
Students are encouraged to be key contributors in decision making processes, as made evident in the teaching and highlighting of choices, virtues and active citizenship.
Within classroom and life experience contexts; respect for individuality, the development and showcasing of personal gifts and talents, the inclusivity of education, and creating for our students an awareness of the world around them, remain our primary focus.