The key to Prep success is Play-Based Learning


Beginning Prep can be an anxious time for mums and dads as they select a school for their child, play dress-ups in the new school uniform and encourage their son or daughter towards the big day in January. “I just want my child to be happy" is a universal sentiment for parents, as they embark on the formal learning journey with their child.

 

At Mater Dei Catholic Primary School, educators understand a successful Prep beginning is critical in cultivating a love for learning, that sets the course for a child's attitude and approach to formal Primary education. It is for this reason that Play-Based Learning, a proven early-learning philosophy that lays a strong foundation for learning success, is an integral part of our early years program.

 

Differing from traditional methods of instruction, Play-Based Learning acknowledges and builds upon a child's natural curiosity and motivation to play, encouraging his/her innate drive for discovery and exploration. Through a Play-Based Learning approach, children develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, use and extend their oral language capabilities, learn through their senses and make connections with their prior knowledge and engage in real-life experiences. Essentially, students at Mater Dei are taught to be self-directed, adaptable, creative thinkers and life-long learners.

 

"Play-based learning is a foundational and age appropriate approach we use to engage, and then progress each student's learning" says Mrs Shaddock, a long-standing and well-loved Prep Teacher at Mater Dei. "Play-based, inquiry learning is more intuitive, flexible and child-centred than more traditional approaches.  It celebrates and encourages each child's interests, innate sense of play and curiosity and uses these understandings as the basis for planning rich learning experiences."

 

Engaging children through play helps them to build flexible and critical thinking processes including developing empathy, collaborating, problem solving, analysing, evaluating, adaptability, creativity and reflection on learning, now deemed essential qualities of the 21st century learner.


What does Prep at Mater Dei look like?

At Mater Dei Catholic Primary School, our Prep classes use the structure of meaningful daily routines and transitions interspersed with relevant, contextual and fun indoor and outdoor learning activities and investigations:​

  • We are flexible and use a combination of teacher and student-initiated learning experiences.
  • Our program is visible and responsive in moving every student forward in their learning.
  • We wonder, we plan, we analyse, we create, we reflect.
  • We provide daily opportunities for sensory, concrete, creative and social engagement.
  • Our practice is age appropriate and centred around the Five Contexts of Learning.

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Mater Dei Prep students are advantaged through this learning philosophy as it considers the whole child and their individuality, expanding their knowledge base and advancing their skills toward key developmental milestones/markers in line with the Australian Curriculum.

 

Additionally, a strong sense of belonging based on our Catholic tradition is cultivated within each student as they are immersed in the life of the school.  The Prep children are  also supported by our Senior Primary students who are assigned a Prep buddy and help care for and welcome them into our community, as part of their senior leadership role.

 

Now Enrolling for Prep

If you are looking at Prep in the coming years, we warmly invite you to book a school tour where you will meet our Principal, staff and see first-hand the benefits of education at Mater Dei Catholic Primary School. ​

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