Primary students participate in intentionally designed rich learning experiences to lead them to a greater understanding of God’s creation. Students are challenged and encouraged to be active in their thinking and not passive receivers of information and knowledge. We recognise that learning is for understanding and responsive discipleship. The Victorian Curriculum is used to ensure we meet all benchmark requirements; MECS teachers develop curriculum using Victorian curriculum frameworks from a biblical perspective. Students are grouped according to needs and for various learning purposes.
MECS Primary has a range of programs and approaches to meet the wide range of literacy needs amongst our students. Our goal is always to foster a love of reading and writing, and enjoyment of good literature.
We are passionate about our students learning to read well. Skills are developed using a wide range of methods and strategies. We use SMART spelling to teach phonics. Students learn to apply SMART as they decode and encode the letter/sound relationships. They learn to comprehend and read between the lines (infer) and then apply what they have learnt with both class discussions and application work. CAFE (Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, and Expanding Vocabulary) strategies are explicitly taught. Skills develop alongside a passion and love for reading and great literature. Our Library forms a wonderful part of this picture.
Guided reading is part of our very specific and targeted approach to teaching reading across the school. In Years 1 - 4 Guided Reading takes place 3 times per week in small groups with students that are at similar levels. Students work on appropriate text level with a teacher or Learning Assistant. Students make rapid progress in their reading in this highly focused setting.
SMART spelling is an explicit and systematic teaching approach to spelling & phonics right across the school from Foundation to Year 6. Spelling is taught through pattern and regularity with an emphasis on meaning and development of vocabulary.
SMART stands for:
Students engage with a range of spelling activities in order to become competent spellers, with emphasis on effective strategies to work out spelling and to check for spelling accuracy. As students progress through the Primary school they learn High Frequency words, words based on sound lists (SMART spelling) and finally in the Middle and Senior Primary years they concentrate on rules, accuracy and strategies. ICT programs are used to support spelling, as is reinforcement through homework.
‘Seven Steps Writing’ forms the basis of an exciting writing program that not only teaches fundamental skills but how to be a good writer. Students from Foundation to Year 6 work on such things as ‘sizzling starts’ ‘tightening tension’, ‘planning for success’ and ‘dynamic dialogue’ to create quality pieces that hold the interest of the reader.
God has created the world with beauty and order. Mathematics gives us the opportunity to explore the wonder of numbers and of the amazing sense of order within the universe. Students are exposed to a wide range of teaching and learning in this rich and active learning time. Exploration, discovery and open-ended problem solving are valued alongside the systematic teaching of skills and concepts. Much opportunity is given to apply learnt skills in a range of hands on activities and real life situations. Mathematics teaching and learning is in line with the Victorian Curriculum; this provides a ready reference and continuum for teaching staff. Students work both in their class and in zoned workshops for the core skills of Number - Place Value, Money, Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division and Fractions. Assessment is used to inform groupings and to ensure all students are working at their own level and pace. Workshops are often hands on and have practical applications and students are engaged in learning in a range of settings, including the playground.
Our camping program is intentionally designed to expand upon and reinforce the curriculum. Camps are an essential part of the curriculum and all students attend. No additional payment is required - all costs are included in the school fees. The camping program begins in Foundation with the ‘Big Night Out’, where the students stay late at school and have dinner together. On the Junior Primary camp, both year levels spend the day together, then the Year 2s stay overnight and have a special event off campus the next day. Middle and Senior Primaries are away for three days. The Senior primary camps are ‘Sovereign Hill’ Ballarat and ‘Trees and Forests’ Adanac Yarra Junction. Middle Primary camps are ‘Coastal Plants’ at Merricks and ‘Fantastic Forces’ at Yellingbo.
God has made us all different, unique and wonderfully created. What a blessing!
We all look different, have different backgrounds, interests, gifts and talents. We understand and interpret the world uniquely and have a range of strengths and challenges. At MECS we recognise and acknowledge that we need to celebrate this and support every student so they can grow well in our educational garden. The Greenhouse supports our students to develop toward their potential and work at challenging areas of schooling.
The Greenhouse, a place where each student can grow with the right equipment, tools and conditions. The Greenhouse incorporates The Shed, this being the tools and equipment for learning and supporting learning needs. We offer in-class support with Learning Assistants and differentiated programs, focus teaching groups for skills in Maths and English, and 1:1 intervention both in strategic programs and individualized programming. Enrichment programs are offered including the ‘Tournament of Minds’ competition, ‘National Maths’ competition and Public Speaking competitions. Our Primary students have won their way through to the ‘Tournament of the Mind’ State finals two years running and have also been named in the honorable mention category. We love to recognise those with giftings in the Arts with a range of programs and projects to be involved in. We have a dynamic team of well-trained Education Support teachers and Learning Assistants, and a number of outsourced Allied Health workers who support our Education Support team: Psychologists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapist and Social Skills Drama facilitators, all working to provide opportunities for students to thrive.
The Greenhouse also incorporates the Butterfly Centre which caters for students who are unable to fit mainstream classroom for whatever reason, at whatever time. There is a fluid relationship between the mainstream classroom and Butterfly Centre. Students may be there for the year, for all of their schooling, just a term, a week, a day...or even an hour. The students can learn at their own pace and with their interest base following their Individual Educational Plans (IEPs).
The Butterfly Centre has chickens, guinea pigs, fish and an assortment of interesting stick insects and hermit crabs. You may see some handwriting taking place with a guinea pig purring on the lap. You may see numeracy taking place whilst climbing an obstacle course or digging in the garden! Staff are passionate about ensuring every child has access to learning at their optimum level.