In 2004 St Mary’s restructured the Primary Campus by introducing the Early Childhood School. This move formally acknowledged the particular needs and focus of our youngest students.
Here at St Mary’s we recognize the importance of the early years. We appreciate that our youngest children need to receive a positive and enlightening start to their formal education. To that end, staffing, resources, as well as teaching and learning practices reflect our commitment to Early Childhood education.
Our priority is to establish a warm and engaging rapport with each child, to ensure that each child is happy to attend school, respected and valued as an individual lovingly ‘carved in the palm of Jesus’ hand.’ We believe that relationships are foundational. It is when we are in relationship with a child, knowing and understanding their strengths and challenges, that we can do our best to ensure a successful learning journey. In the early years there is a strong emphasis on social development and the child’s ability to connect with their peers. All children need to be supported to make choices, to be risk takers and to explore a range of learning experiences. There is a desire to promote creativity, colour and imagination.
We appreciate and are committed to structured play. Our students are encouraged to develop an inquiring approach to the world around them, to question and to be challenged.
There is an earnest approach in the early years to literacy and numeracy. It is clear to us here at St Mary’s that these years are critical. Our Literacy structure articulates a Reading and Writing hour. Pre and post assessment as well as explicit teaching are pivotal to identifying and scaffolding children in their learning. We are proactive in terms of early intervention. Children identified as requiring concentrated support are able to participate in the Reading Recovery Program. St Mary’s is the only school in Broome to offer this program and after four years of implementation plans are certainly in place to maintain this very successful program.
As with literacy, numeracy receives dedicated consideration. We believe that children at this young age must establish a sound grasp of number, pattern and counting. Children are provided with a range of hands on experiences. All students receive a diagnostic interview .This is administered on a one to one basis and provides teachers with learning and teaching points.
Our students in Early Childhood are important to us. We pride ourselves on supporting each child in a very positive and dynamic learning environment