Beaconhills College: Ready to welcome 2021 preps
Many parents are understandably anxious about their child starting Prep in 2021, particularly if they missed some of their important early learning programs in 2020 due to COVID-19.
While Beaconhills’ Little Beacons Learning centres stayed open throughout 2020, the College’s Early Years and Junior School teachers know that new 2021 Preps will have varying social, thinking and learning skills.
If your child is joining the College in Prep 2021, the message to parents is one of reassurance.
The Heads of Junior School at Pakenham (Kristen Smith) and Berwick (Matt Newman) said a balanced transition program would allow children to access some of the experiences they missed, while focusing on personalised learning – rather than a ‘one-size-fits-all’ model.
They said a strategy to help support this is through inquiry-based learning, which incorporates elements of play and investigation. “2020 has been a disrupted year for all of us. Many of our children have been learning from home for an extended period of time and have had a range of challenges and successes throughout the year.
“At our Junior schools, we recognise the importance of effective transition to support each child’s emotional and intellectual progress. We know they need to feel settled and safe and make meaningful connections if they are going to thrive as learners.”
The balanced program in Prep at Beaconhills offers time for whole group, small group and independent activities, with time for teacher-directed learning and for student choice.
Head of Little Beacons, Vicki Reid, said school readiness was not about expecting children to start Prep knowing how to read and write, but rather encouraging independence. She said building strong partnerships between the College and families was an important element.
Early Years educators and Prep teachers also work closely together to ensure there are plans in place that best meet the needs of children starting their school year.
Ms Reid said the question should be ‘what does the College need to do to have school ready for children?’ rather than focusing on having children ready for school.