What is it like to begin Elementary School at AIS?
Celebrating 100 Days in Prep
Celebrating the first 100 days of Elementary School is an exciting and momentous occasion at AIS. The entire Prep cohort counts the days until they reach this milestone, dressing up and engaging in a range of activities that are connected to the number 100.
But there is so much more to celebrate and recognise in the lead up to this day!
Transition is the vital first step towards starting Prep at AIS. Our teachers begin to connect with their incoming students for the next year from early in Semester 2. Establishing relationships and a sense of connection is incredibly important to foster a sense of belonging, curiosity and safety. This might involve the Prep teachers visiting our P4 friends in the Early Learning Village, inviting them to visit Prep to read together, or meeting with families. Handover conversations between staff also allow teachers to begin the year with a strong understanding of the needs and interests of their new class.
In Semester 1, the focus is on establishing routines and relationships. Developing self management skills is a significant and important shift, with students taking responsibility for a variety of things from managing their own belongings to considering their mindset and how they get along with others.
Inquiry Based Learning in Elementary
Learning is at the forefront of all experiences, with a multitude of opportunities for explicit instruction and learning along the way through inquiry. Perhaps this is best explained through an analogy.
Imagine you enter an incredible garden. There is so much to see, smell, hear, taste, feel and think! You begin with curiosity and excitement, dying to explore this incredible area. Your guide leads you to certain areas to observe and explore, taking you ever deeper. After a time, you notice particular things about this environment, such as plants and animals and you start to ask questions. This is the perfect time for your guide to sit you down and explicitly tell you about these things.
Teaching and learning is like this garden experience, particularly in Prep. We need a balance of open-ended learning opportunities to build curiosity and develop questions along with explicit instruction, practice and application of early literacy and numeracy skills. Along the way, students learn to apply the Learner Profile attributes: caring, reflective, open minded, risk-takers, knowledgeable, principled, open-minded.
Photo: The students count down the days in anticipation of their 100th day of school. When they finally reach the milestone they celebrate the occasion as a whole year with a range of activities that connect to the number 100.
But What’s Next for Our Elementary School Students?
The second semester of Prep marks the shift towards greater independence and the journey towards Year 1. As they prepare for this transition, the students enjoy being role models and sharing their expertise with the incoming Prep students. The cycle begins again, as they also have the opportunity to play in the Lower Elementary playground and visit the Year 1 teachers and classrooms.
“One of my favourite parts of the year as an educator, is facilitating and observing the growth of students in their first year of school. There are so many milestones, such as learning to read and count, developing important lifelong skills such as thinking, research, communication, self management and social skills as well as developing confidence and independence within themselves. There is nothing else quite like this special time!”
Tips and Tricks for the first 100 Days of Elementary School
- Explore the alphabet and numbers in real life
- Read regularly with your child – make it an enjoyable, special time together
- Encourage independent dressing
- Practise packing and unpacking their school bag
- Practise tying shoelaces or consider velcro fasteners to start
- Talk about the difference between munch and crunch, lunch and recess foods
- Ensure your child can easily open and access their food containers
- Take on jobs at home e.g. setting the table
- Positive conversations about the year ahead
- Talk about new routines as the time approaches
Our aim is to make the beginning of Prep a positive, welcoming experience where you and your child have the opportunity to build relationships with both classmates, other students and teachers. We are excited to share the journey ahead with you!
Book a tour today
If your looking for a change or your child is about to start Elementary school, booking an on-site tour is a great way to experience the Australian International School campus. Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 6517 0247.