How We Teach & Support
It’s the little things we do to support an individualised learning program that get us the big results
How we teach and support
Our entire teaching staff is dedicated to the detail and we want to ensure every child achieves to their own potential.
This means ensuring we have a robust system of teaching and support that not only caters to the average (or middle student) – but also the advanced student or the student that needs some extra support.
For learning to take place we need to ensure that every child feels safe, happy and confident within themselves – and so a huge emphasis is placed on a strong wellbeing and support program that achieves just that!
STUDENT EXCELLENCE PROGRAM
Lower Plenty Primary School’s Student Excellence Program is delivers a range of initiatives to support and extend their high-ability students.
High-ability students from Prep to Year 6 benefit from the Victorian Challenge and Enrichment Series, a series of high-quality, funded extension activities across all areas of the curriculum. Schools can nominate students to participate in activities within the series according to their abilities and interests
The Victorian High-Ability program provides up to 48,000 high-ability students in Years 5 to 8 at government schools the opportunity to participate in 10-week online extension and enrichment programs, in English and mathematics.
The virtual program, delivered by Virtual School Victoria, focuses on extending and developing students’ mathematical and English abilities.
After completing the virtual program, students participate in a face-to-face masterclass with other high-ability students from schools in their local area. All masterclasses will incorporate the latest COVID-19 advice and risk mitigation strategies to maintain a safe environment for students and staff.
EXTENSION OPPORTUNITIES IN THE CLASSROOM
Learning extension opportunities for students achieving above expected standards. Students who consistently demonstrate that they have mastered the standards of their current grade level are challenged through explicit teaching in the classroom to progress to the next level of work. This can include a range of tasks designed to extend these students, including:
- Reading more extended and complex texts, and discussing these with peers in guided groups and literature circles
- Developing knowledge of more advanced vocabulary and elements of grammar and punctuation
- Being challenged to solve multi-step mathematical problems
In every class at Lower Plenty Primary School we also have students who have extra learning needs. These students will have individual learning goals targeted to their own learning needs. They will also have Individual Learning Plans (ELP’s) that will be discussed with parents outlining the steps and activities so that parents can also help their child achieve to their maximum potential.
We have intervention programs across the school for those students who have not met the achievement benchmarks. These students work in small groups, with a specialist teacher trained to help student get back on track with their learning. All students who participate in these programs are continued to be monitored by leadership after they leave the program for the rest of their schooling.
All of our teachers implement the Write to Read Method from F to 6. W2R is based on worldwide research that identifies the following essential areas: phonemic awareness, explicit phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension as being critical for successful literacy instruction.
Lower Plenty Primary School is a lead school in The Respectful Relationships Program, which came about as a result of the Victorian Inquiry into Family Violence.
The Respectful Relationships Program involves a whole school approach and requires the support and involvement of students, parents, families and staff.
Across years P-6, students take part in teaching and learning that focusses on each of the following eight topics:
– Emotional Literacy
– Personal Strengths
– Positive Coping
– Problem Solving
– Stress Management
– Help Seeking
– Gender and Identity
– Positive Gender Relationships
Teachers are provided with the resources required to deliver the lessons and the school has invested significant funds to upskill staff in their knowledge of the program by allowing them to undertake Professional Learning.
Students at Lower Plenty Primary respond positively to the program and, it is the aim that each student leaves us with a solid understanding of what a respectful relationship looks and feels like. We also aim for students to understand their rights and responsibilities, have recognition and acceptance that everyone is unique and identify the personal strengths that they possess. In addition, it is expected, that as part of this program, students strategies they can implement to help cope with difficult situations and to know what support is available should it be required.
Better Buddies Program – Alannah and Madeline Foundation
Through Better Buddies, children in their fifth and last year of primary school buddy up and learn the values: caring for others, friendliness, respect, valuing difference, including others and responsibility. All children in the school learn these values through formal and informal activities, including their interactions with the mascot Buddy Bear, our giant, fun-loving and caring purple bear.
Better Buddies enables younger children to feel safe and cared for while older children feel valued and respected. It is designed to enhance existing buddy programs or introduce a buddy program to primary schools for the first time. The evidence-based framework complements existing school welfare programs, is easy to implement and links to national curriculum initiatives.
Research, which has been predominantly conducted in primary schools, suggests there is no discernible difference between composite and straight grade classrooms in terms of academic performance.
However, benefits relating to student independence, responsibility and study habits have been highlighted. For example, younger children within a composite grade generally aspire to emulate older children in their work, and older children enjoy leadership and mentoring opportunities that lift their self-esteem.
At Lower Plenty in addition to our Better Buddies Program we run multi-age classes across the school. All students are taught how to be leaders and take on leadership positions within the classroom. In particular this works at Lower Plenty PS with the older students taking on mentoring roles within the class.
Student agency is an integral part of the education of students at Lower Plenty PS. Students are encouraged to be active participants in decision making within a learning environment that optimises choice and challenge. This allows them to feel a sense of control over their learning and their lives as well as nurturing responsibility for actions.
We believe that all students should be supported to develop leadership skills, and as such, all students engage in authentic leadership opportunities and contribute to their community. This is evident in their classrooms as well as in initiatives such as the Children Representative Council, Environmental Committee, Year 6 Leadership Program and participation in community volunteering programs.
At Lower Plenty school leadership isn’t just about badges, it is about empowering children to make a difference by providing them with the skills, inspiration and support to solve real-world problems that have an impact.
Kinder to Prep Transition
School for our new Foundation students starts in the year before their Foundation year with many opportunities to come to school and familiarise themselves with the school, teachers, facilities and playgrounds.
This includes a series of Transition days where the children get to spend time in the Foundation room with the Foundation teacher and do some activities.
Year 6 to Year 7
Our school feeds to all of the secondary schools in the local area and thus secondary transition focuses on this important move into secondary schooling.
Grade 6 students and parents attend open days and evenings at the secondary colleges, including attendance at a designated orientation day in December.
We actively work with the local secondary schools to ease students through the transition process. Information is forwarded early in the year setting out the regional timeline for enrolments. Secondary school students visit Lower Plenty Primary School to inform Year 6 students of their experiences and exciting programs as many secondary schools set up a learning environment that is similar to primary school. At Lower Plenty Primary School our year 6 teachers liaise with Year 7 coordinators to discuss the needs of students attending their schools.
Foundation Buddies – Our grade 5 & 6 students build a special relationship with our Foundation students to promote an easier transition from kindergarten to school. The Buddy Program offers Foundation students a familiar face within the school yard and someone they can rely on to look out for them during the transitional first year.
It’s quite common for children to move schools. It’s also common for children to resist change and feel stressed about going to a new school. So if your child is moving schools, the best thing you can do is prepare your child for the change.
You can do this by involving your child as much as you can in the process of choosing and moving schools. This will help your child see the exciting and positive aspects of the move. Your child will be happier if they know that their needs are important.
If possible, discuss the move with your child well in advance.
Be enthusiastic about the move yourself.
Ask your child to talk about, draw or make a list of the things they’re looking forward to about going to a new school.
Ask your child to talk about, draw or make a list of the things they’re worried about. Take time to acknowledge and discuss each concern.
At Lower Plenty Primary we regularly welcome students into our school at levels other than Prep. We understand the importance of a smooth transition in order for a new student to feel safe, supported and welcome!
Families are always encouraged to take an extensive tour of our school to visit our learning spaces, meet our teachers and see learning in action. They are also welcome to contact the school at any time for further information.
We can tailor a transition program to suit the needs of the student, including spending time in a learning space prior to beginning a new school year.
We encourage families to work in partnership with us from day one, sharing any information that will assist in meeting the needs of the individual student.
We arrange for a `buddy’ student’ (peer) to support the student in the first few days or weeks of transition, both in the classroom and on the playground.
A Word From Our Parents
Lower Plenty has taught my son not only about academics but also so much about himself. The school model allows him to explore his thoughts and ideas– through both successes and failures – pushing him beyond his own preset boundaries. The teachers celebrate his successes and steadfastly stand by his side with support when it is needed. It’s a wonderful environment to grow in.