Meet Miami State School

Deb Young Miami SS

The Robina community is a hub for several of the Gold Coast’s most outstanding schools and educational institutions. We caught up with Miami State School's Deputy Principal, Debra Young to gain some insight into Miami State School and find out all you need to know about enroling in Prep at Miami State School.

What’s unique about Miami State School?

We value difference and meet children’s learning needs through differentiated learning experiences and an age appropriate approach.  Our teachers believe in the philosophy that we teach children and do not just teach the curriculum.  We have a focus on the whole child and put students first.  We celebrate success, provide a safe, supportive environment and encourage critical and creative thinking.  Our teachers are experts with effective teaching and learning practices and we are life-long learners ourselves through continued review of known and emerging teaching practices.

 

Miami SS has a strong reputation for being an inclusive school.  Our school supports students with a disability to be integrated in mainstream classrooms, including hearing impaired students who are supported by AUSLAN Sign Language and interpreters working alongside teachers in our classrooms where needed.

Our school has a wide range of extra-curricular activities for children who like to be involved in the Arts (Choirs, Instrumental Music, Bands) and Sport (Total Sports program Yrs 4-6 and Junior Enrichment program P-3 offers children the option of seasonal sports and activities eg. Dance, Tennis, Surfing, Skateboarding).

Miami SS

What’s your prep orientation like? What activities are in place to help my child and family settle into school?

Miami SS has a number of transition activities designed to help families and children settle into school life.

 

We hold a Prep Fun Morning (October) to provide information for parents, a school tour and activities for the children to do in the school environment.

 

We then have Prep Interviews (November) which are 1:1 meeting time for your family with school early years leaders.  At this interview we conduct some simple and fun developmental screening activities with your child that helps us to evaluate their starting point for learning and we meet with parents at the same time to finalise all paperwork and answer any questions you may have.

 

In December, we have Orientation Morning where your child attends for a morning Prep school experience with one of our teachers in a class group.  Parents remain in the Hall for further information sessions regarding routines and preparation for school.

 

At the beginning of the school year, teachers take as much time as needed to help children learn class and school routines by walking around to show where the play/eating areas, toilets etc are located.

 

Families receive quite a lot of communication from teachers within the first few weeks including via a Parent Information Afternoon in Week 2 of Term 1.

How can I help prepare my child for ‘big school’? Are there particular types of knowledge, skills or abilities children are expected to have prior to starting at your school?

At Miami SS we do not have particular expectations of academic knowledge, skills or abilities for children prior to school because we recognise that children develop at differing rates and have differing experiences.  We value the work done in our local kindergartens and work closely with them through our Miami Early Years Network.  Through these connections we know and trust that your early years’ educators are preparing children in an expert manner with their learning prior to school.  Once at school, we ascertain each child’s starting point and we tailor learning to build from there.

 

Parents can help children prepare for school by participating in as many of the school Transition activities as possible.  Talking with your child about school in positive terms and perhaps role-playing ‘schools’ can be helpful for your child to gain an idea for what school involves.

 

Oral language is one of the most important skills that a child can bring to school.  When parents talk a lot with children and listen to children talk, they develop a broad vocabulary and skills that allow them to communicate their needs and wants, to collaborate with other children and negotiate in games/social situations.

 

Conversational Reading and Joint Attention – parents can help children begin to focus on reading by looking at pictures in books and watching where your child’s eyes rest, then use your language to draw attention to it eg. “I see you are looking at the car.  It’s a big red car.  Can you point to the car?  Where is it?”  In this way you are exposing children to new words and helping them focus their attention on the page.  By joining your attention to theirs, you value their input and show them how to attend.  This is a skill needed for school success.

 

There are some independence and personal management skills that are very helpful for children to have on entering school if possible.  If your child is still developing these skills, don’t worry, we will support them to build capability and confidence.

Miami SS 2
Miami SS 3

How does your school communicate with families?

Communication takes several forms including School Newsletter, Assemblies, notes home, messages written/posted on classroom doors, email, phone and face to face contact.  There are two Parent-Teacher Interviews held per year and written Report Cards are issued twice per year at the end of Semester 1 and 2.

 

We have recently begun to use Seesaw App for direct communication with your child’s teacher and have found this to be a very helpful method of communication.

 

Teachers are always happy to meet with you to discuss any aspect of your child’s education and progress.  We do ask that you make a time to see the teacher so that the teacher can give full attention to the discussion.

How structured is the classroom environment in Prep? What is expected of children in a typical day?

Our classrooms include a mixture of structured, explicit instruction which involves children sitting on the carpet to be taught concepts and skills of the Australian Curriculum.  We begin with 5-10 minutes carpet time and gradually build up over the course of the year.  Children often work in small groups with teacher or teacher aide or on an independent activity and rotate in approximately 15 minute intervals.

 

There are also opportunities for play activities that may be scaffolded to promote children’s creative, imaginative, social, experimental and active learning characteristics that we know are so important for young brains.

 

A typical day in Prep at Miami SS includes:

  • Roll and welcome time on the carpet – eg songs, weather chart, days of the week
  • Explicit teaching – English focus, including letters and sounds, reading, writing
  • English Rotations – practise of above + fine motor activities (cutting, gluing, threading)
  • FRUIT BREAK (around 10am) small piece of fruit and water only to drink – BYO from home
  • English Rotations cont.
  • MORNING TEA BREAK
  • Quiet time / Yoga / Mindful Meditation
  • Explicit teaching – Maths focus
  • Maths Rotations
  • Science/Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS)/Art
  • LUNCH BREAK
  • Specialist lessons include: Music, Health and Physical Education or Library visit. Religious Instruction begins in Year 1

 

Miami SS 4

What are some of the teaching and learning strategies used by class teachers to engage students requiring additional support?

Miami SS Prep classes have one full time teacher and one full time teacher aide in the room every day.  With two adults present, teachers are able to create and deliver differentiated work tasks to suit the ability of groups of children.  Children are explicitly taught required concepts and skills and then have opportunity to practise in groups rotations for English and Maths.  Good first teaching is the aim of the Prep year and if children are seen to be struggling they are supported with more focussed teacher attention and scaffolded tasks.  If children are struggling by the end of Prep, the school has intervention programs and specialised Support Teachers who may be involved in supporting children’s learning.  We can also provide advice for parents on where to seek external help if needed.

Are there any considerations I need to make when packing a lunchbox?

Miami SS is a ‘Nude Food’ school which means that we encourage children to bring a lunchbox without disposable wrappings.  In the Prep eating area, we deliberately do not provide bins to encourage that anything that comes from home returns to home including wrappings or uneaten food items.  We do this to protect the environment from litter, to promote and so that parents know how much or which foods your child eats during the day.

It is helpful to have some practice runs at home before starting school with opening and closing lunch boxes and managing drink bottles etc.

Miami SS 5

Is there homework in Prep and what does this involve?

Homework in Prep involves Daily Reading from Term 1 and Sight Word revision from Term 2 (or when ready).  We provide two books per week and encourage parents to read and re-read these books with your child over the week.

Prep parents are requested to attend a ‘Ready to Read Parent Workshop’ early in Term 1 so that you can learn to use some of the same strategies and language for learning that is used at school.

Learn more about the programs offered at Miami State school by contacting:

 

Debra Young,

Deputy Principal, Early Years

5595 4888