Leading literacy for Bass Valley’s little ones

​Bass Valley Primary School's early years literacy program is achieving real results in preparing students for school.

Designed by Principal Leanne Edwards, 'Ready, Set, Go!' is a language and literacy program for kindergarten children that gets them ready for school.

Working closely with local kindergartens, the program runs for two days a week in Terms 3 and 4 to help children develop and practise skills they need for school.

This includes a focus on language, literacy and fine and gross motor skills through activities - and lots of listening and talking.

Children also take their learning home with 'Talk and Play' bags, which include four or five books about a particular topic and related activities. Recognising the important role of parents and carers, these bags give families access to good literature in their homes each week and share the joy of exploring books together.

Making literacy learning happen

Principal Leanne Edwards says she first started 'Ready, Set, Go!' in 2010 when she recognised that children were achieving below the state level, particularly in literacy.

Teachers observed that Prep students struggled to express themselves in the classroom and the school saw an opportunity to work with local kindergartens to address this through early intervention.

Ms Edwards says 'Ready, Set, Go!' is still evolving, and the school is now using the Department's literacy resources to further the program.

'We have started using the Department's resources and Toolkit, and find that the common language and approaches across the school fit in with our overall instructional model,' Ms Edwards says.

Ms Edwards also completed the VPA Principals as Literacy Leaders course, and the Bastow Literacy Leader course with two other teachers.

According to Ms Edwards, NAPLAN and teacher data have shown significant improvement across the school since the program began.

'We are now achieving above like schools, and above state average.'

Plus, the program is making real progress in helping students get to the next step of their education.

'The children transition with ease and are ready to start their formal education on day one of Prep,' Ms Edwards says.

'Parents also transition better, knowing that their children are socially and emotionally adjusted to the new setting.'

Ms Edwards says the program is now turning its focus on the importance of literacy learning at home.

'Ready, Set, Go!' recently started a story time for children under four and their families. Together, they hear stories, sing, learn nursery rhymes, do finger plays and craft activities.

'This is as much for the parents as the children, as many say they don't even know rhymes themselves.'

The 'Talk and Play' bags have been a hit with parents and so successful that the school are creating family maths bag for numeracy as well.

'I used to take it for granted they would read to a toddler/baby as well as a four-year-old, but parents thought they couldn't,' Ms Edwards says.

Literacy and Numeracy Strategy

Phase 2 of the Literacy and Numeracy Strategy has been released, focusing on providing resources and professional learning – including expanding the Literacy Teaching Toolkit - to improve the teaching and learning of literacy and numeracy for primary and secondary students.

Strong literacy and numeracy outcomes for all children and young people are a key part of the Education State Targets. The Literacy and Numeracy Strategy is a framework to bring together existing and new resources to achieve excellence and equity in literacy and numeracy outcomes for all students.

To find out more about Literacy and Numeracy in the Education State and the strategy, see: Literacy and Numeracy

To access the toolkit, see: Literacy Teaching Toolkit