Lansvale Public School Preschool
Lansvale Public School Preschool, the first Department of Education Preschool in NSW to be awarded ACECQA’s Excellent rating, 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.
13 September 2021
We are a proud and inclusive learning community where our families are predominantly of Southeast Asian origin, with 96% of children coming from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. We are committed to our Preschool philosophy, which underpins our everyday practice and our decision making to ensure that all our children are known, valued and cared for. We are proud to be the first Department of Education Preschool in NSW to be re-awarded ACECQA’s Excellent rating this year.
Lansvale’s exceptional learning program is a direct result of our educators frequently being challenged to develop new skills, knowledge and approaches. Educators attend professional learning, work alongside their preschool and primary colleagues and literacy/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 and their core belief of learning through play. For example, during professional learning with our colleagues, we developed an understanding of the 5 stages of learning numeracy concepts. We were able to then identify our emergent, perceptual, figurative and counting on/backwards counters through our observations of the children engaged in play.
With this new understanding, educators are able to see children’s mathematical understanding through fresh eyes and are able to better understand and deeply analyse children’s number sense and knowledge. 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.
At Lansvale, we also utilise a range of technological resources to develop children’s maths and literacy skills. Bluebots, Green Screen technology and Osmos continue to be a part of the preschool program. We have also used Spheros, Virtual reality, Augmented reality (AR) and ozebots.
As a result, our preschool children have had the opportunity to explore their interests in dinosaurs through Virtual reality goggles and Augmented Reality technology to imagine and tell a narrative about dinosaurs in their own preschool environment. The children have developed a deeper understanding of patterning and positional language through the use of Spheros and Ozebots. We use green screen technology to take a well-loved story book or traditional tale and find ways to retell it in an active, playful and hands on way. Research shows that this is the best way to consolidate learning and to develop confident readers and writers in later life.
The limitless opportunities in the Creation Station launch our children into future focused learning by encouraging them to communicate and collaborate. When our children re-enact stories on the green screen, they become the characters and learn to tell stories that allow them to express themselves in a unique and captivating way.
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. 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, our 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 we are collectively supporting our learners to be successful readers, writers and communicators.
It takes a village to raise a child
At Lansvale we believe in the African proverb that “it takes a village to raise a child", and that is why we invest in building trusting relationships with the aspiration that authentic partnerships are developed through active communication, consultation and collaboration with our families.
One of the ways we support this endeavour is to encourage our preschool families to actively participate in our Parents as Teacher Classroom Helpers (PaTCH) Program. This 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 of our preschool parents has 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 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.
Lansvale Preschool has also developed parent modules to support our 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 Early Years Learning Framework. 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.
We received positive feedback from our families on completion of these modules. One of our parents informed us that she now reads to her child every night after learning about the development of early literacy skills through listening to stories and rhymes. Our parents have expressed that they now feel they have a better understanding of children’s mathematical thinking and are more confident in using their everyday routines and play experiences to extend on their child’s learning.
We have also ensured our quality program continues during remote home learning. We maintained this partnership with our families by providing scaffolds for our families in delivering learning experiences by providing learning intentions and guiding questions to support our families in implementing and providing feedback for future directions. Our families were encouraged to record their children’s learning from home and our educators would use this vital information to write learning stories or reflect on the children’s learning to inform their future planning. The resources and the scaffolds provided by the educators for our families and children resulted in rich feedback and analysis of the children's learning. This ensured the children’s individual needs, emerging interests and strengths continue to drive our quality learning program.
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. Our preschool children begin Kindergarten with confidence and success as their strengths are built upon. Furthermore, 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. In the words of one of our Kindergarten teachers “for those who have individual needs, we were well prepared to differentiate learning programs and target student needs.” As a result, our 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 as soon as they enter into Kindergarten.