Phoenix Preschool operates under the Early Childhood Curriculum (Te Whariki) which supports development of attitudes, skills and knowledge for a successful transition to school.
Children moving from an early childhood setting to the early years of school will need to develop skills such as self-care, independence, able to problem solve, work within a group, communicate and share ideas, listen and follow instructions. The early childhood curriculum is founded on the aspirations that children will ‘grow up as competent and confident learners and communicators, healthy in mind, body and spirit, secure in their sense of belonging and in the knowledge that they make a valued contribution to society’ (MOE 1996,p.9).
Key teachers, work with all parents and children on their individual learning journey to develop goals and extending knowledge based on their interests and enhancing dispositions.
Opportunities for the older children to develop skills for formal learning at Phoenix, happens naturally in our environment as well as at set group times. Each day, a set group time is provided, alongside the current group focus. These group times are planned and supervised by a teacher and may include things such as enhancing scissor skills, writing, drawing, letter recognition, researching topic knowledge as well as working and listening to others’ ideas.
4 year olds are encouraged to take a leadership role at Phoenix, teaching and supporting younger tamariki to develop skills and share knowledge. At lunchtime, 4 year olds eat their kai outside, alongside a teacher. This time is designed to support lunchbox and food management. Just as it will be at school, students have to open lunch boxes and food, and eat sitting on the ground. This lunchtime is also an opportunity for teachers to lead a news time, talk about the letter of the week or read a story.
Phoenix Preschool uses a phonic-based programme called “Letterland”. www.letterland.co.nz It is a unique phonic approach that supports and development of reading, writing and spelling. Pictograms characters are used to explain word sounds and shapes. The letters live in an imaginary place called letter land and their stories develop imagination and activate memory. A new letterland letter is introduced every 2 weeks at Phoenix, often alongside a focus or interest, for example Summer – Sammy Snake’s letter Ss or Holidays – Harry Hatman’s letter Hh. The letter is displayed along with any children whose name starts with that letter. Songs, activity sheets and stories are used to extend knowledge of sounds and letter formation.
Phoenix Preschool students feed into many Mid Canterbury Schools. In the past, we have facilitated small group visits to neighbouring schools to support the transition process. This has help many four year olds become familiar with the school playground, toilet area, introduced them to their teacher, classmates and to the routines of the school classroom. Copies of the local school news letters are displayed on the parent notice board along with any school open day invitations. Phoenix Preschool also have a transition to school folder to help parents who haven’t decided on the school of their choice, with helpful information regarding choosing the right school for their child.