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.