Helping preschoolers to grow

Preschoolers at Braddock Public School

A garden planted at Braddock Public School by preschool children will symbolise growth and change for the youngsters as they enter the western Sydney primary school next year.

The gardening exercise is part of an innovative transition-to-school program launched this year and funded under the National Partnerships Program.

Known as The Braddock Early Learning and Literacy Centre (The Bell), the program offers early childhood education on-site at Braddock Public School.

Two groups are targeted under the program:

  • Three-year-olds attend once a week on Monday for three hours for a range of play-based activities.
     
  • From Tuesday to Friday, four- and five-year-olds who will attend Kindergarten at Braddock in 2013 are involved in a range of learning activities.

Teacher Gillian Trimingham works in collaboration with local services, the children and their parents throughout the program to prepare families for the experiences and demands that come with school life.

Fostering ownership

Ms Trimingham said in Term Two the older group, known as Bell Stars, designed and created a new garden for their outside play area.

"This was not only fun but fostered a sense of ownership amongst the children and belonging to Braddock Public School," she said.

"The children will learn that as they progress and grow through their years at Braddock, so too will their garden that they can often return to and see grow and change."

In Term Three the children were involved in a Teddy Bears Picnic to introduce the children and parents to key Braddock staff and community workers.

Play-centred learning is a key feature of The Bell program. As part of their social development, children were also explicitly taught the meaning and context of Braddock's four core values; safe, respectful, responsible, learning.

Each term discussion and practical activities were integrated throughout the day to teach the children how to participate at school with these values in mind.

Key learning areas

Other areas of knowledge and skill development included art and craft, music, creative movement, social and personal development, science and discovery learning including interactive whiteboard technology and a key focus on early literacy and numeracy development.

"We aim to teach the children that school is a safe and happy place where we are free to express ourselves, follow our interests, progress at our own pace and experience success as an individual and in collaboration with others," Ms Trimingham said.

Photo: Gillian Trimingham and Nicolena DeSousa

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