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!
Learning Through Extension
Enrichment opportunities for students at St Michael’s are offered within classrooms on a regular basis. When our assessment data indicates a student is operating at a higher curriculum level, our teaching staff look for ways to further the learning of the student through extending prompts and projects. Extension classes are also offered when a number of students within a level are identified as operating beyond the level. This has taken shape in Extension Mathematics classes, as an example, where students have been led through problem solving tasks which have required team work as well as engaging a range of skills to work through multi-step problems. These programs are designed to challenge students intellectually and help them to develop individual talents of students.
At St Michael’s, we offer several support programs to cater for the wide range of students’ needs. These programs include:
- Individual Needs
- Classroom Literacy Support (inclusive of Reading Recovery strategies to support all students)
- Pastoral Care
- Wellbeing structures (inclusive of active listening skills from staff for students)
- Early Maths Understanding (EMU)
- Multi-Sensory Learning Support
St Michael’s also has access to the resources available at the East Central Zone of Catholic Education Melbourne (CEM). These resources include general curriculum consultancy advice and personnel who provide professional assistance with education programs for children with special needs such as speech pathology, educational psychology and individual needs assessment.
School Wide Positive Behaviours
In 2015, St Michael’s commenced a five-year framework called School Wide Positive Behaviour Support (SWPBS). This framework is based on improving classroom and school climates, decreasing reactive management, maximising proactive management, improving support for students, and integrating academic and behaviour initiatives. It is a continuum of evidence-based interventions to improve the academic and behavioural outcomes for all students. SWPBS ensures all staff and students understand these school wide expectations, and that there is an explicit approach to behaviour management throughout the school.
At St Michael’s, our school wide, aka SMASH, expectations are:
- Stay Safe
- Make a Difference
- Act Responsibly
- Show Respect
- Help Others
Our SMASH expectations aim to offer a safe and harmonious environment for learning where it is recognised that we are responsible for our own actions. Parents/caregivers are encouraged to spend some time talking about these expectations with their children and how they might translate to the home environment. This will continue to make St Michael’s a safer and happier school for all.
Learning Through Intervention
Students requiring additional support and / or intervention with their learning can access this through a variety of means at St Michael’s School:
- Classroom program / Parent Partnerships – In consultation with the classroom teacher, parents have the opportunity to engage in discussions around additional strategies that can support students in the home eg. specific reading skills or numeracy skills. The nominated strategies can further assist a child to consolidate or embed classroom learning. This level of support also consolidates the role of the parent as a co-educator in their child’s learning journey.
- Small focus group teaching – Reading and Writing sessions at St Michael’s School are conducted using small focus groups, where teachers work with 3-4 students at a time with similar needs in their learning to guide them to next steps. Students are selected for focus groups based whole class assessment data, teacher expertise and knowledge of curriculum and on the ongoing assessments completed in classrooms every day. Numeracy sessions have a similar approach with small focus teaching as well as the use of “enabling prompts” for students who need more structure and guidance. “Extending prompts” are used to assist with students who need extension in their Mathematics learning.
- Strategic Intervention programs – If students require further structured intervention to support their learning, they can be selected for intervention programs. These programs are supported by trained practitioners and will often focus on the key areas of English and Maths. Students are chosen for additional support by their classroom teacher and other staff members, e.g. Learning and Teaching leaders, as part of a ‘Case Management’ process of identification. Intervention programs remain fluid, with students entering at different times and returning to classroom programs as well.
Please note, membership of intervention and extension programs at St Michael’s School remains with the specialist staff, the classroom teacher and the Principal in consultation with parents.
At St Michael’s, student voice is encouraged and valued. Student leadership is therefore emphasised and prevalent throughout the school. Assembly, line-up and meditation are all student led and there are also several opportunities for students in Prep to Year 6 to hold a leadership responsibility in an official capacity. In leadership roles, students are able to strengthen their mentoring and interpersonal skills with their peers, staff, parents and the wider community. By providing many pathways for students to lead and be heard, students can feel more confident and equipped for their transition into Year 7.
Year 6 Student Leadership in 2023 includes roles such as:
St Justin’s School Leaders; Sports Leaders; Arts Leaders; Media & Communications Leaders; Social Justice & Diversity Leaders; Wellbeing Leasers.
Towards the end of the year, all Year 5 students are eligible and encouraged to apply for a Year 6 School Leadership position. School Leaders are active representatives of the school who embody the St Michael’s vision, uphold the school wide expectations and in turn, set an example for fellow students. School Leaders also participate in additional school activities such as representing St Michael’s at Leadership Days, Church events, Open Days and some formal functions, facilitating Assembly and SRC meetings, and leading school sporting occasions.
Year 6 Student Leadership includes roles such as:
St Michael’s School Leaders; Sports Leaders; Arts Leaders; Media & Communications Leaders; Social Justice & Diversity Leaders; Wellbeing Leasers.
Student Representative Council (SRC)
Each term, two students from each class are selected by their peers to form the Student Representative Council (SRC). Representatives speak on behalf of their class at fortnightly meetings which are overseen by our Student Wellbeing Leader. These meetings give students an opportunity to discuss issues arising around the school and allow them to make informed decisions about their school environment.
Kinder to Prep Transition
At St Michael’s School, we believe it is important for children to build familiarity with the school and staff before commencing in the Prep year. This supports both the child and parents to be more at ease with their first few weeks of Primary School, which can be anxiety-ridden for many. Strategies to support families in this transition for St Michael’s School are outlined below:
Kinder Kids Reading Sessions
Throughout Terms 2 and 3 (April – September) St Michael’s conducts Reading Sessions for Kinder children in 3 and 4 year old Kinder whereby they come to experience the school. These are usually held first thing in the morning for an hour, during which children listen to stories, play games and meet our Year 5 students who support the children in connecting with the activities.
Prep Transition Sessions
Once children have been enrolled into Prep, acceptance letters are sent to families in May. St Michael’s School holds four transition sessions during term 4 (October to December) during which children grow further in familiarity with the school and staff. During these sessions, children engage in classroom based activities including literacy, some art / crafts and physical education activities, whilst parent information sessions are being held to inform you of some of the following:
- What to expect in Prep
- Literacy and Numeracy teaching and learning
- Student Wellbeing practices and tips for the home
- School policies
- School unforms
In the final transition session, St Michael’s endeavours to place children in their Prep classroom with their Prep teacher so you and your child will know where you will be going when you commence the Prep year.
St Michael’s School acknowledges that moving schools can be a challenging process, for both students and parents. At St Michael’s, we offer a range of strategies which can support your move to make the transition as smooth as possible:
- A pre-visit
- Buddy System – two students from the class trained and assigned to support transition
- Support from our Student Wellbeing Leader and Learning Diversity Leader – class visits and regular check ins
- Parent Check Ins – the class teacher and school leaders will check in with parents to review how the student is progressing
If you are planning a move for your child, feel free to call the principal, Annie Herbison, to have a discussion about transition on 9885 3105 or email at email@example.com
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