Bundoora Primary School is pleased to announce that a new initiative is available to Prep and grade one children enrolled at our school in 2022 – Ready to Learn.
The Ready to Learn program, developed by experienced teacher Jo Jolly in 2020 in response to the Covid pandemic and its effects on Kindergarten and Prep children, will not only cover fine and gross motor skills, but also the social and emotional learning of students. The aim is to equip students with these skills to best prepare them for the social and academic aspects of the school year in 2022.
This program will meet our students’ developmental needs and help them refresh and build on what they’ve already learned. The program encompasses:
- Fine motor skills
- Gross motor skills
- Social and Emotional Learning
- Classroom readiness to learn
To deliver this program, staff at Bundoora Primary School are partnering with an external occupational and speech therapy agency, Zanda, which also specialises in school readiness, and an occupation therapist from the Melbourne Occupation Therapy 4 Kids centre. While the four key areas of the program will be led mostly by school staff, we have engaged specialists from these centres to work with the students and teachers on the social and emotional learning (SEL) aspect and fine motor skills.
Aspects of the Ready to Learn program
Fine motor skills
An occupational therapist will train our prep and grade one teachers to give them an idea of what to look out for, skills to teach from the beginning of the school year, and how to do that explicitly. Our teachers will learn skills to work with students one-on-one and in small groups who are really struggling with fine motor ability. This is necessary as often we get a broad range of abilities when students start school, some of whom have never held a pencil correctly before, or they are unable to manage equipment like scissors. This is particularly the case after two years of Covid lockdowns.
Gross motor skills
PE staff at Bundoora Primary School will be working on gross motor skills with Foundation and grade one students as part of the Ready to Learn program, particularly to ensure they know how to use play equipment safely. We feel this is important as a lot of students have been locked out of playgrounds over the last two years and they don’t really have the experience of how to use the equipment safely. Gross motor is about outdoor play and how to access that play, which feeds into the students’ social and emotional outdoor wellbeing.
School readiness skills and Social Emotional Learning
The Social Emotional Learning aspect of this four-week program will address SEL skills needed for the classroom and the playground and will be directed by Zanda. This involves body language, how to get your body into a game, how to join a group, facial emotions when you want to join in playing with someone, and how to cope and what to do when things don’t go your way.
Other school readiness skills needed for the classroom will be covered with the students by our classroom teachers, such as asking for help, addressing your teacher, speaking with peers, and moving safely around the room.