Prep @ Mano
Mano offers a comprehensive Transition Program, designed to provide every child with the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the school, teachers and future classmates. We currently offer three classroom sessions during Term 4 as well as an option to attend sessions which provide a sample of our Specialist Programs. These currently include Art, Performing Arts, Physical Education and STEM. Days and times are varied to avoid regular clashes with kindergarten sessions. During the visits the children will engage in a range of activities, including stories, games, art/craft and a tour of the school and playground. They will also meet their Grade 5 buddy allocated to assist them as they settle into school life at Mano. A parent information session (prior to the first student session) aims to provide information about getting ready for school at Mano and what to expect in the first few weeks.
Starting the School Year –
It is a big step moving from pre-school to formal learning, so a significant focus during Term 1 is supporting our new Prep students to become familiar with school routines, to develop strong social connections and most importantly, to foster their emotional wellbeing. We aim to provide opportunities for students to become resilient and independent members of the wider Mano school community with our ‘Starting Right’ program and ongoing learning.
Prep students are actively involved in a range of varied and engaging programs, with Literacy, Numeracy and Social/Emotional Learning at the core of our teaching and learning,
and the framework on which other curriculum is based.
A daily two-hour Literacy Block focuses on developing a strong foundation of phonemic awareness in our students. Explicit, systematic, synthetic phonics and evidence-based teaching strategies (guided by the Orton Gillingham approach), underpin our Literacy program, with a focus on developing effective decoding (reading) and encoding (spelling) skills. To encourage early confidence and success for our students, decodable reading texts are used in class and for home reading, with transition to predictable/levelled texts as decoding skills develop. Daily lessons focus on establishing automaticity in the recognition of letters/sounds, irregular words/high frequency words, guided practice to improve reading fluency as well as explicit teaching of comprehension strategies.
Early Writing tasks involve dictation activities where the children apply letter/sound and learned high frequency word knowledge to encode (spell) and record simple sentences.
Handwriting, including the development of fine motor skills and letter formation practice is a fundamental aspect of our Literacy work.
Measurement and Geometry, Statistics and Probability. All students take part in a minimum of 5 hours of mathematical learning each week, where lessons involve many ‘hands on’ activities incorporating a range of concrete materials to support learning.
Numeracy sessions include:
- Tuning in games and activities to assist development of counting, subitising and automaticity in basic number skills.
- Rich learning tasks, often linked to literacy texts and real-life experiences.
- ‘Enabling’ and ‘extending’ prompts to scaffold or challenge students at their point of need.
- Open-ended problem-solving tasks providing students with an opportunity to apply their thinking skills.
Inquiry topics and activities are integrated wherever possible with Literacy and Numeracy studies and may include investigating: ‘Where do I fit in?’ ‘The History of toys, games and stories’ or ‘Science-exploring the world and ‘living and non-living things’.
Social Emotional Learning & Wellbeing
In line with our ‘School Wide Positive Behaviour Support’ approach (SWPBS), explicit teaching aimed at developing social, emotional and general wellbeing skills are an important weekly focus. Tasks and practises supporting students to recognise and regulate their emotions, develop empathy for others and to understand relationships are also at the core of this learning. Age appropriate and engaging activities are designed to help students establish and build a framework for positive relationships, to work effectively in teams, to develop leadership skills, and to handle challenging situations that might arise in their lives.
Each week, the three Prep classes are involved in a combined social play session in our shared ‘hub’ area. This provides further opportunities to develop skills such as sharing, co-operation, and fair play. There are a range of toys, (construction, home corner, dress-ups and craft-based) for the children to engage in according to their interests.
As an introduction to the Mano Camps Program, the Prep children participate in the annual Prep Barbecue in late Term 4. The day is lots of fun, and might include activities such as a treasure hunt, outdoor games, bbq dinner and culminates in a mini disco.
Excursions, Incursions & Special Days
The Prep students participate in a range of excursions and incursions linked to the Inquiry focus each term. Incursions/excursions may vary from year to year, but always have an educational purpose designed to enhance understanding of the focus subject area. Recent activities have included visits by science-based presenters bringing live mini-beasts or Australian animals for hands-on learning opportunities. Interactive drama shows with themes related to social/emotional and class learning which allow students to learn through music, humour and performance, whilst opportunities to explore and learn about toys and games from the past have supported our History unit. The team from Urban Upcycle have complemented our learning about sustainability and provided opportunities to re-purpose materials through a teaching and craft session. This is only a sample of activities, and these may differ depending on Inquiry units of study from one year to the next.
Letterland is a phonics-based program to support the learning of letters, sounds and reading. It is based on a collection of colourful, friendly characters which represent each alphabet letter. The characters and program offer a visual support for students starting out on their Literacy journey. At Mano, Letterland is one of several tools used to assist children to develop letter/sound knowledge. At the end of the program, we celebrate with a parade for the school community, where the Prep children and staff choose to dress up as their favourite Letterland character.
Other special days might include our popular Grandparents visit held during our ‘History of toys, games and stories’ Inquiry. Grandparents are invited to come along and share interesting stories about the games and toys they enjoyed as children. Literacy/Numeracy/STEM and Book Week celebrations sometimes include themed dress-up days, pyjama day and open sessions for parents to join us in the classroom.
100 Days @ School
This day celebrates the 100th day of formal learning at school. The day provides a special opportunity to reflect upon and celebrate major milestones in our student’s personal, social and academic achievement and an opportunity to explore many numeracy and literacy concepts based around the number 100.