Junior School (Prep to Grade 2)
Children are encouraged to begin writing immediately in Year Prep. This process begins with whatever knowledge the children bring with them to school. This may be some letters or words they already know or random scribbling of shapes or series of letters and numbers which they 'read' back. It is supported by the teacher writing the children's words down for them to trace over or copy, writing with older children and other ways of modelling writing. They progress from this to writing a string of letters which may or may not be readable but is beginning to look more like real writing. This is often called invented spelling.
Gradually, as children begin to understand how writing works and are able to attempt to reproduce the writing around them, they begin to use what they know and start writing sentences which can be read, even though they may not be correctly spelt. This is the beginning of writing their own stories.
From early in Year Prep, children also begin to use the computer and to word process their writing.
The specific aims of the handwriting program are to develop:
- adequate muscular coordination through ball games, playdough, cutting, finger painting, construction, sewing, weaving, etc
- the ability to hold the pencil correctly with the preferred hand
- visual memorisation of the letter and number shapes, and a knowledge of their starting points
- good spacing, shape and size
- legible handwriting
- beginning understandings about presentation
- children are assisted to develop positive attitudes towards handwriting as part of the writing process
Senior School (Grades 3 to 6)
- Process Writing Approach
- Continuing to Develop Handwriting
- Word Study/Spelling
- Presentation of work
Children continue to build on their skills learnt in the Junior School. We use the Process Writing Approach where children write a first draft, proofread it, conference for extra ideas or a better way of writing down ideas, edit for mistakes, then publish the finished written piece. We provide real purposes for writing eg. class book, display, report etc.
Children may write journals, letters, class books, wall stories, individual stories and poetry and are involved in computer word processing and the use of dictionaries and thesauruses.
The teaching of the conventions of punctuation and grammar are part of the Writing program as is the introduction of different writing genres, such as stories, poems, letters and reports.
Continuing to Develop Handwriting
In the first year of the Senior School, children begin to join letters and the transition from pencil to biro occurs. Around Year Level 5/6, after learning how to write correctly, neatly and legibly in cursive script, children are encouraged to develop their own characteristic way of writing and experiment with calligraphy and various writing implements. After the drafting stage in all writing sessions, children are expected to present work of a high standard.