'Seeking the Kingdom of God in Education'
Strong Hearts Strong Minds
respectful, caring, responsible, active learner, thinker, wonderfully created
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind and love your neighbour as yourself” Matthew 22:37
MECS Primary is a wonderful place to belong, grow, develop and learn.
MECS Primary acknowledges that each child is unique and hence the learning community is diverse and multi faceted. Teachers work at creating pathways for all students to learn in a positive and inclusive environment.
Each child learns and develops at their own pace, guided by teachers and Learning Assistants who care deeply.
Students are a part of the rich tapestry of community through their class grouping, cluster level (Foundation, Junior Primary, Middle Primary or Senior Primary), MECS Primary School and Kindergarten and MECS wider community. Students work together in these multi-age classrooms to develop in their abilities and in their relationships.
More detailed information about the Primary School can be found in the Primary School Handbook - 'Focus on Primary School', below
Focus on Primary School
The Primary School is divided into Foundation classes and 3 multi aged levels:
We embrace the idea that students will develop ‘Strong Hearts and Strong Minds’ over the course of their schooling.
- Hearts & Minds that belong to God.
- Hearts that are learning to love and care for self and others.
- Minds that are strong, resilient and thoughtful.
- Hearts and Minds that acknowledge God as creator and sustainer of the world and acknowledge our need for forgiveness and restoration.
- Classes begin each day with devotions and prayer.
We have 8 key words that summarise the learning community of MECS Primary.
MECS students are learning to respect self and others. This includes fellow students, teachers, parents and self. We practice Restorative Discipline at MECS. Restorative Discipline is an approach, which assists children in understanding that when poor choices are made and things go wrong, relationships are damaged. Children learn to take responsibility for their actions and behaviour. Restorative Discipline helps them understand that there are consequences for our behaviour. This approach acknowledges each person’s perspective, helps to build relationships and helps children work towards restoring the problem. Children learn that issues and problems can be worked through, resulting in forgiveness, healing and restoration. We believe that this process is in line with a Christian perspective, we forgive each other as God forgives us. We seek restoration of relationships, as God does with us.
Staff follow a simple process by asking the following questions:
- What is the problem? We help children identify what went wrong, and understand that the child is not the problem, the problem is the problem.
- Who is affected? Who was hurt by these actions? How were they hurt?
- How can we fix the problem? We assist children to see the need for an apology and for them to put right the relationship and things that have gone wrong. They identify that the relationship and trust has been damaged.
- How can we make sure this doesn’t happen again? We help children identify why it happened and what underpinned that action that caused the problem. Consequences appropriately applied help the child consolidate their understanding and set right the broken relationship.
Restorative Discipline works hand in hand with the development of social skills and community building.
Students are learning to take responsibility for their behaviour, their learning and for the way they treat others and the environment. We have a garden (MECS Creation garden) and chooks in a beautiful chook shed. Students are chosen to work in the garden with “Pa Haartsen”. Each class has a turn of looking after the chooks and collecting the eggs.
Students are learning to care for self and others as part of a loving community. A community where children are playing and learning together and developing skills that lead to loving relationships. We acknowledge that children need to learn how to work together well and that getting along with others does not come naturally. Social skills need to be developed and children will learn these at different rates. We offer many opportunities for students to learn good interactive skills. We also acknowledge that we are sinful beings who do not always live in harmony. We actively work at helping our students to eliminate bullying behaviours and to understand the damage bullying can cause. There are a number of programs that assist students to develop caring and positive relationships and care for self and others. These include; Drama for Life, Kids with Courage, Empowering Girls and Positive Boys, Circle Times, ‘You can Do it’ program and in 2013 The Young Peacemakers. We also regularly target an understanding of bullying and cyber bullying through programs such as Bullybusters, Cyber safety and our own MECS bully prevention awareness and Bully surveys. In November 2012 we collaborated with poet and performer, Cameron Semmens to create a book of poetry entitled,
“Listen Up! Countering Bullying with the Fruit of the Spirit”
This project was funded by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development as part of the Victorian Government, “Stamp out Bullying” project. Students wrote poetry from range of stimuli about bullying countered with the ideas from the Fruit of the Spirit.
Each student is encouraged to grow and develop as part of a caring and loving school community. Each class has a fortnightly Circle Time where students can share and develop a sense of belonging and the skills of emotional understanding and resilience for dealing with the diverse personalities and situations that occur at school.
We meet as a whole Primary in our GT (Get Togethers). These occur fortnightly in the PUMP room and are run in turn by the classes. Parents are most welcome to attend.
Learning at MECS is active. Students participate in rich learning experiences, which lead them to a greater understanding of God’s creation. The learning experiences may be ‘hands on’ or may be ‘active’ in that students are challenged to be active in their thinking and not just passive receivers of information and knowledge. Learning is for understanding and responsive discipleship.
We have many ways to assess student understanding. MECS teachers follow an extensive assessment schedule to inform teaching and create meaningful learning opportunities and also to summarize how students are going in relation to themselves and the standards. Teachers do this through observations, analysis of student work, informal assessment and formal testing. Extensive records are kept of student development. There is no competitive assessment. Reporting to parents is four times per year. This includes 2 interviews and two written reports. These occur at the end of each term, the written reports are published in July and December. Students at Years 3 and 5 take part in the Australian NAPLAN testing.
Camps and Excursions enhance the Core Studies program.
Camps begin in Foundation with the ‘Big Night Out’ in Term 4. Junior Primary has a two-day camp and Middle Primary and Senior Primaries are away for three days. Camps are integral to the teaching and are compulsory. All costs are included in the school fees.
Primary Core Studies Program
MECS primary students are encouraged to think about their learning, making judgements, responses, and thoughtful analysis of the area of creation they are studying. Learning to ‘think’ requires student’s active engagement.
Some of the underlying questions for all Core Studies units studied are: What is God's intended purpose for this part of His creation? How does God want us, and all of mankind, to live in relation to this particular part of His Creation? E.g. what task has He given us? How have we fulfilled that task? What has been the effect of our sinfulness? How can we love God and please Him in the way in which we live? By providing this focus we are attempting to put our beliefs into practice. This focus makes us different from non-Christian Schools. MECS Primary students also have a regular Scripture class in which they learn more about God through his word, the bible.
CS Topics Overview
Teachers use the Australian Curriculum (AusVELS) as a guide to the benchmarks required for each level. This together with the MECS school- based curriculum ensures students are on track in their learning. Literacy and Numeracy are fundamental in the Primary School. Students learn to read and write in the 2 hour Literacy block in Foundation-4, which follows the Early Years model of whole class, small group- explicit teaching (guided reading) and whole class reflection. LEM Phonics program is foundational to good phonetic knowledge for reading and spelling. In Senior Primary the Daily Five Reading/Writing program is used to help students become independent readers and writers. Learning Assistants are assigned to each Senior Primary class and the Foundation classes. Each level has a one-hour Numeracy block four times per week. Numeracy is a rich and active learning time. Students work in their class and are grouped according to needs and for various learning purposes as deemed necessary by the teacher.
- An extensive Educational Support team (teachers and Learning Assistants) provide support for those who need assistance or extension.
- Reading Recovery is also offered to students in Year 1 who are experiencing the most difficulty with reading and writing.
MECS students are wonderfully created. Each student is made in God’s image. They have a unique range of skills and abilities and gifts. These gifts are being unwrapped as the student discovers things about themselves and God’s world. This might be in Art (classroom based), Music (specialist program, including instrumental music lessons) and in PE and Sport (Each class has a double PE lesson per week). Sport is offered in Years 3-6.
Primary PE and Sport
We have a 30-minute morning recess and 50-minute lunch play time.
Children can play on the oval, in the MECS creation garden, asphalt area for down ball and amphitheatre or seek quieter areas where there are picnic tables for card games, drawing or imaginative play.
Two duty teachers supervise play times. Yard Duty teachers can be easily identified by their fluoro jackets.
The Primary school oval is timetabled for best play for all children. Foundation-2 have the oval at recess and 3-6 have it at lunchtime. In winter students can play footy and soccer, summer is for cricket and soccer.
In the near future we will be introducing a Play pod for imaginative and creative play. The Play pod is stocked with everyday items, such as tyres, rubber stripping, old baths, steering wheels, fabric etc. to create their own make -believe games.
Quiet Play Room
We also have a Quiet Play Room, which is supervised for inside play for those who find the outside play too long or challenging. The QPR has a range of games, toys and technology (iPods, ipad and computers). A Learning Assistant encourages students to learn to play positively by sharing, listening to each other and having fun.
MECS primary teachers commitment…
- We are committed to providing a curriculum that challenges our students to be active learners & thinkers, who are engaged and focused.
- We will lead our students to respond in their learning with head, heart and hand.
- Teachers will make clear the Christian Perspective of the "slice of life" that they are exploring.
- Together we will be excited to find out how God speaks into our learning.
- We will seek to unpack and deliver the curriculum in ways that enable all students to be honoured and inspired through meaningful and challenging lessons.
- We model Christ's love by the way we interact. We build community and shalom together through restorative practices, respecting and caring for each other.
Primary Coordinator 2012