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Head of Prep School Update

College Blog Head of Preparatory School Update
19 March 2021

On March 3 and 10, the Preparatory School hosted over 90 attendees at two separate Parent Workshops.

The workshops shared strategies and theory behind how the Preparatory School teaches reading and number skills. It also provided our families with some skills they could employ when working with their children at home.

The first workshop was entitled 'Reading with your Child' and provided parents with information regarding the five stages of reading:

  • phonics
  • phonemic awareness
  • vocabulary
  • fluency
  • comprehension.

Workshop leaders, Mrs Fiona Howat, Literacy Coordinator, and Mrs Heather O'Hara, Junior Primary Team Leader took the parents through these five stages. They provided effective strategies for parents to use at home when reading with their children and summarised these on specialised bookmarks printed for parents to take home. Parents were shown how each step links to the next and how children develop fluency and meaning in their reading. The bookmarks are still available at the Preparatory office.

The second workshop in the series was entitled ‘Cards on the Table’. This provided parents with the theory behind the importance of children developing efficient mental strategies for mental calculations. These skills are essential for future maths development; research indicates that adults use mental computation skills for 90% of the maths they do daily. The workshop gave parents a deeper understanding of how we teach these essential skills and concrete strategies they can employ at home to help their children learn and consolidate their knowledge of number facts and efficient mental strategies. Parents were provided with a booklet of games and a pack of cards, dice, and counters to play the games at home. Throughout the workshop, parents had the opportunity to play a selection of games as the course leader, Mrs Nesha Sathurayar, Maths Coordinator, and I explained the game's purpose and some simple teaching strategies they could use. The workshop's goal was to encourage parents to play these games at home to help their children learn the critical number skills and strategies in a fun manner that would not be perceived as homework by their children.

We have made the videos of the recent workshops available on our secure YouTube channel and emailed home the PowerPoint slides. Parents received both workshops very well, and those who could not attend have expressed a desire for an evening session. In response to these requests, the Preparatory School will be running two evening workshops early in Term Two.

The Reading and the Maths workshops are the first in a series of seminars the Preparatory School will offer to parents each year. Next term, we will provide workshops for parents who are new to the Primary Years Program, one for Year 6 parents on how to support their son through the PYP Exhibition process and another on our robotics, drone, and virtual reality technology program. Please watch this space for further information.

John Stewart
Head of Preparatory School

Parent Maths Workshop 2021

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