Mt Waverley's Best Kept Secret: Syndal South Primary School
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In the Classroom.

Strategic Plan – This document guides our schools journey over the next four years.

Strategic Plan 2012-2015

Values

  • Respect – a commitment to the rights of self, others and the environment
  • Curiosity – wondering about and exploring themselves and the world
  • Resiliencebuilding a positive attitude, having the confidence and persistence to face, overcome and grow with life’s challenges
  • Integrity – being honest and fair, being true to oneself
  • Care – showing kindness and consideration

Our Curriculum

AusVELS incorporates the Australian Curriculum F-10 for English, Mathematics, History and Science within the curriculum framework first developed for the Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS). AusVELS uses an eleven level  structure to reflect the design of the new Australian Curriculum whilst retaining Victorian priorities and approaches to teaching and learning.

The curriculum domains:

Physical, Personal and Social Learning

Civics and Citizenship; Health and Physical Education; Interpersonal Development; Personal Learning

Discipline based learning

The Arts; English; The Humanities – Economics, Geography, History; Languages; Mathematics; Science

Interdisciplinary learning

Communication; Design, Creativity and Technology; Information and Communication Technologies; Thinking Processes

Cross-curriculum priorities

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures; Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia; Sustainability

AusVELS – Australian Curriculum implementation in Victoria.

 

Student Wellbeing

Students are better prepared for learning when they are healthy, safe and happy. We aim to work towards helping students to learn effectively and to develop positive attitudes and behaviours.

Better Buddies Program

Our school is involved with the Better Buddies Program through The Alannah and Madeline Foundation. Our Preps and Year 5 students participate in an exciting weekly program.

We are a Better Buddies School

Student Welfare Worker Role

This is a funded role through the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations – National School Chaplaincy and Student Welfare Program – this program aims to help school communities support the spiritual, social and emotional wellbeing of their students.

The emphasis of this new support role will be on primary prevention and early intervention as the most effective means of enhancing the resilience of our students.

Resilient Students

Resilient students are those with psychological hardiness. They have the ability to deal with setbacks, accept disappointment and bounce back quickly from social rejection. They can persevere when learning doesn’t come easily, and generally have a positive attitude towards life.

We will be committed to engaging students in programs related to transition, coping skills and resilience, communication, problem solving and social skills, as well as providing access to appropriate external professional and medical services.

General consent forms will be sent out to provide further information on this service, providing parents/guardians with the opportunity to opt-out of this service if so desired. For pre-arranged one-on-one sessions and ongoing individual assistance, further specific consent will be sent home.

If you have particular concerns for your child’s wellbeing and are interested in accessing this service, please do not hesitate to call and speak with Bridget on Monday or Wednesday at school.

 

iPads in the learning programs 

     

Students are exploring iPads and how they can be used as a tool in their learning. Read more about how students Learning with iPads and technology at Syndal South.

Class Structure

Our multi-age classrooms are composed of students of different ages intentionally grouped for learning. The classroom structure recognizes that all children develop and learn at different rates and supports the view that learning is a continuous process, and that we learn from and with different people.

The Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS) has four levels for primary schools.  Syndal South is able to support this structure through multi-age classes.

  • Level 1 – Prep
  • Level 2 – Grade 1 and 2
  • Level 3 – Grade 3 and 4
  • Level 4 – Grade 5 and 6

What are the advantages of the multi-age classroom?

  • The multi-age classroom is the perfect vehicle for developmental learning which recognises that all children develop at different rates, and focuses on teachers meeting the individual needs of the learner.
  • The multi-age classroom seeks to challenge a child’s interest and understanding, while at the same time matches skills to the child’s developing abilities.
  • It allows for the individual growth of each child. They are free to find their own levels in social, intellectual and physical areas.
  • It provides an opportunity for a wider range of relationships and social experiences.
  • A more natural learning situation is established. Children work at their own pace with their program not geared to the work of a single year but adjusted over two or more years.
  • Older children are encouraged to develop responsibility and independence. Children are able to care for each other and are able to learn from each other both in behaviour and ‘work’. Children can provide a variety of models for each other.
  • There is a sense of community within the classroom which helps build a child’s self-confidence and feelings of security.
  • In a multi-age classroom, children will be working with content and processes from a range of academic levels. Open ended experiences and inquiry based units of work allow for different levels of achievement.
  • Benefits come to the older children from the quality of leadership and responsibility they develop

Homework Policy

Student Welfare Program

At Syndal South we are very proud of our Student Welfare Worker Program, which is funded by the Federal Government through the National School Chaplain Student Welfare Program (NSCSWP).

Our welfare worker, Bridget Miles provides our students, parents and staff with one on one support where required and also offers a number of valuable programs to both students and staff. She works with students, parents and teachers to assist in meeting the challenges that arise in their daily lives. Children today have to deal with some very ‘grown up’ issues such as family break-up, grief, addictions, anxiety and conflict. These can be traumatic and affect their ability to concentrate and learn.

Access to the program is through self, parent, or teacher referral. Bridget is available as a support to both students and parents and is at the school weekly on Monday and Wednesday.

Please feel free to call in to school or ring Bridget if you would like to have a chat with her.

What does a Welfare Worker Do?

The role of a welfare worker is to care. They are there for the child when he/she needs someone to listen to them. They are another adult who can support our children.

A welfare worker can:

· Listen to a child when they want to talk

· Provide encouragement and support

· Run support groups/short courses (e.g. anger management, grief support, and social skills)

· Help sort out a problem or issue with a child when they are disruptive or not coping in class

· Refer a child to other professionals

· Support teachers in class, helping out as needed

· Listen to and help with teachers’ concerns

· Connect with parents when the family is really struggling

· Be available to talk with parents when they have concerns about their children

Community Consultation and Feedback

The school is keen to ensure our Student Welfare Worker Program is able to support the whole school community and therefore welcome feedback from parents or staff.

Feedback will be invited by the School Council through an annual survey and parents or teachers can provide feedback to the principal at any other time in writing.

Restorative Practices

Restorative practices is a powerful way of looking at responses to misbehaviour. It focuses on repairing the harm done to people and relationships rather than on punishing offenders. The process focuses on healing and the related empowerment of those affected by an incident, it enhances relationships and builds social capital.

Restorative practices involves a series of practices from the informal through to the formal. The underpinning philosophy of restorative practices views schooling in a relational context. When wrongdoing or misbehaviour occurs, it is perceived as damage done to a relationship rather than school rule-breaking. Traditional behaviour management policies have concentrated on ‘apportioning blame, establishing which school rule has been violated and making wrongdoers accountable by punishing them’ (Blood & Thorsborne, 2005). Restorative practice aims to ‘engage students in meaningful dialogue’ (Thorsborne & Vinegrad 2004) and to restore relationships by involving those most directly affected.

(Margaret Armstrong, Just Practices)

At Syndal South we are implementing Restorative Practices in the following ways:

  • Common language used across the school by all staff.
  • Common approach to resolving issues.
  • Circle time – each class is making time to sit in circles to discuss issues. There are rules for this process and all students are heard and their contributions are valued. It is an effective way for the group to solve problems and identify new & more effective ways to build and maintain relationships within the classroom.
  • Yard Duty – teachers have scripts – with focussed questions to deal with issues as they arise in the yard.
  • More serious conflicts are dealt with by teachers using Student Reflection Sheets and using mediated Student Conferences to restore relationships.

“So teaching children to do as they’re told is not a good enough aim for behaviour management. Instead, what I’d like children to learn to do is to think for themselves …not to think what would happen to me if I get caught…but what effect would my behaviour have on other people.” (Porter 2002).

Three main areas should be the topic of regular review and the focus for the implementation of restorative practice. These are:

  • The provision of programs that enhance the personal and social competencies of students, teachers and parents, so that daily interactions proceed more positively and generate fewer problems.
  • The provision of positive, effective and socially healthy environments for all students.
  • The establishment of structures and arrangements so that extra support is available, whenever needed, as an entitlement for all students, and a recognition of the needs of teachers who also need to access sources of support.

Restorative approaches to student management will highly complement ‘protective’ strategies that schools build into their daily programs.

Restorative Practices in Schools: Rethinking Behaviour Management (Margaret Thorsborne and David Vinegrad)