NSW Department of Education celebrates excellent rating for Lansvale Public Preschool
Lansvale Public School Preschool has the distinction of being the first Department of Education Preschool in NSW to be awarded ACECQA’s Excellent rating, meeting recently with the Department to discuss how they develop numeracy and literacy with children, and their parent modules, created to support families to understand the vital role they play developing their children’s literacy and numeracy skills.
The service, a Lansvale spokesperson said, is a proud and inclusive learning community where families are predominantly of South East Asian origin, with 96 per cent of children coming from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
As such, the service has worked hard to develop initiatives which respect the cultural backgrounds of children and families whilst also giving them the best possible start to school through literacy and numeracy programs which have been developed in consultation with the school.
Educators are challenged to innovate and develop new skills, knowledge and approaches through attendance at professional development opportunities, as well as working with literacy and numeracy instructional leaders to learn from and learn with.
“Although some of these initiatives have a primary focus, our exceptional preschool teachers adapt and modify these teaching practices to align them with the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) and their core belief of learning through play,” the spokesperson explained.
While engaging in professional development, educators developed a deeper understanding of the five stages children walk through when learning numeracy concepts, which allowed them to identify emergent, perceptual, figurative and counting on/backwards counters (children) through observations of the children engaged in play.
“With this new understanding, educators were able to see children’s mathematical understanding through fresh eyes and are now able to better understand and deeply analyse children’s number sense and knowledge,” the spokesperson said.
“To ensure we were still meeting EYLF outcomes, we planned experiences that were open-ended and catered to the different needs and abilities of all the children in our care. We practised one to one counting with our emergent counters and played games with dice to support our perceptual counters to visualise.”
Quality language experiences
Lansvale is also committed to driving a school-wide adoption of quality vocabulary practice, which begins at preschool.
“Our focus is to explicitly teach Tier 2 (sophisticated language) words through play,” the spokesperson explained.
Planned learning experiences in the preschool classroom include discussions about how people learn new words, why words are important, how words make people feel and how words are used.
Through picture books, posters, yarning circle discussions and play experiences, the children are given opportunities to hear and use the new vocabulary learnt. As a result, the children have become more word conscious learners and they are able to understand and use more complex vocabulary when communicating.
As the children transition to each stage of learning from preschool to primary school, they will continue to build on their vocabulary knowledge as targeted, explicit teaching of vocabulary will be explicitly taught in each stage. This whole school approach ensures the preschool is working collectively with the school in supporting learners to be successful readers, writers and communicators.
PaTCH Program invites families in
Building on the African proverb that “it takes a village to raise a child”, the preschool invests in building trusting relationships with families with the aspiration of building authentic partnerships through active communication, consultation and collaboration.
One of the ways this is supported is by encouraging preschool families to actively participate in the Parents as Teacher Classroom Helpers (PaTCH) Program. The program is aimed at maximising the benefits of a working alliance among home, school and community. It involves workshops that explore the vital progressions around how children learn to read, write, speak, listen, develop numeracy skills and acquire the competencies needed to be a future focused learner.
One parent referred to PaTCH as “a program that has allowed me to gain insight into how our little learners are supposed to learn. Pens and paper are no longer enough but interactive educational games, problem solving activities are the way to go because they are more fun and therefore engaging.”
“Our PaTCH program gives our preschool parents more confidence in supporting children’s reading, writing and mathematical skills in the early years of schooling,” the spokesperson explained, and provides a supported pathway for parents to actively involve them in the school setting for the benefits of children, parents, educators and the wider school.
The preschool has also developed parent modules to support families to understand the vital role that play has in developing early literacy and numeracy skills.
“We presented these modules as parent workshops with a focus on supporting our families in exploring how children learn numeracy and literacy concepts through play, aligned with the outcomes of the EYLF,” the spokesperson explained.
“These workshops included hands-on experiences such as manipulating play doh, blocks and recyclable materials (boxes and cans) to identify and explore mathematical concepts. Our parents and families were also given opportunities to notice, explore and talk about mathematics and literacy in their environment such as the home, park, street, shops and TV.”
Families gave positive feedback at the end of the modules, expressing that they now feel more confident in using their everyday routines and play experiences to extend on their child’s learning.
As a result of Lansvale’s quality literacy and numeracy programs, a high percentage of children who attended Lansvale Preschool demonstrated early stage one skills in reading, writing and mathematics. The structured opportunities to engage in quality dialogue with the kindergarten teachers regarding individual learning plans, needs, interests, strengths and other crucial information about the children is a great source of information and reference for kindergarten teachers to get to know the preschool children more.
As a result, Lansvale’s youngest learners enter their first years of formal schooling “full of confidence and enthusiasm as well as feeling safe, secure and supported as their individual needs and interests are recognised and planned for.”