St John’s Prep teachers have been involved in a two-year Prep Literacy Project which began in 2016. This is an initiative by renowned educator, Michelle Hutchinson who has extensive knowledge in learning difficulties, particularly dyslexia. St John’s is part of a cluster of schools, along with three others including Kardinia International College, Ballarat Grammar School and Back Creek Christian College.

Last Friday, Kirsteen Byrne and Maddison Brown along with Melinda Lyons, were involved in the professional development associated with this project. St John’s hosted the very informative day and welcomed teachers from each of the four schools involved.

Michelle’s approach to spelling is contextualized. That is to say, it involves teaching letters and their sounds in context rather than in isolation, so as to make learning meaningful and to build children’s oral language. Because of the nature of this project, it has enabled St John’s teachers to work closely with the teachers within the cluster. There has been an abundance of professional knowledge shared and discussed. The teachers have looked at the following key areas: high-frequency words, writing, handwriting, reading strategies, sounds and letters and phonological and phonemic awareness.

The School’s Prep Literacy Project complements the literacy improvement program that has been running for the past four and a half years. This program has been fully evaluated and has shown remarkable results both in internal and external assessment.

If you would like to know more about these programs, please contact your child’s teacher or the Literacy Coordinator, Kirsteen Byrne.