Message from the Early/Primary Years Principal

Neil White, Early/Primary Years Principal April 2, 2019
Message from the Early/Primary Years Principal

It has been a very busy quarter for the Early/Primary Years Division. Please take some time to review a few key updates as we head into the April holiday break.

Parent Information Session: Scope and Sequence Curriculum Documentation

We've hosted our Divisional Scope and Sequence Curriculum Documentation Parent Information Session on Friday 29 March. The purpose of this information session was to provide an overview of the PYP curriculum, explain more specifically the developmental phases of learning, to address common curriculum questions, provide an understanding of the revised curriculum documents and an opportunity to see how teachers use the curriculum documents in their day-to-day planning and teaching.
A video/voice-over and a presentation explaining how to interpret these Scope & Sequence curriculum documents have been shared with all the families via iSAMS. Please review this valuable information if you were unable to attend the session. We have also included the registration information for parents to access the EY/PY Parent Portal where all these documents are located. 

Teacher Professional Development Day

After the holiday break on Monday 22nd April, the school will be hosting a Teacher Professional Development Day. One of the purposes of Teacher Professional Development Days is to ensure that GEMS educators continue to strengthen their practice throughout their career. The most effective professional development engages teams of teachers to focus on the needs of their students.
NOTE: Monday, 22nd April 2019 is a NON-STUDENT DAY. All students return to school after the holiday break on Tuesday 23rd April. 
The research in the field of education has shown that teaching quality is one of the most important factors in raising student achievement. For teachers and schools to be as effective as possible, they continually expand their knowledge and skills to implement the best educational practices. 
The EY/PY Division will be focussed on:
  • Curriculum: Understanding the Enhanced PYP
  • Assessment: Moderation of assessment procedures and tasks to ensure greater consistency across all grade levels. 

EAL (English as an Additional Language)

This Quarter we have completed WIDA testing for all of our PY EAL students. The purpose of introducing the WIDA assessments is to be able to externally benchmark our students according to an Internationally recognized framework. The assessments will provide students, teachers and parents with an accurate measure of each child's English language proficiency level. I would like to thank Mrs.Hammond and Mrs.Vuijk for their hard work and effort as they implemented these assessments.
The reports from this round of testing will be sent to all teachers and parents after the April break, together with an action plan for future testing. We will use the data acquired in these regular WIDA assessments to determine student development and progress, as well as the exit point for students leaving our EAL program. I am confident that the data provided through these assessments will greatly assist all teaching faculty as they continue to work with our EAL students.

Staffing Related Matters

Mrs Amy Fenton has notified the school that she will be resigning from her classroom teaching and Grade level leader position due to her husband's work and relocation back to Melbourne. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Amy for all her contributions to the class and the development of the Primary Years programme during her time at GEMS and we wish Amy well in the future. 
I am pleased to confirm that Mrs Sahana Krishnamoorthy will continue in her current role as the lead class teacher until the end of the school year on June 21st, thus ensuring consistency and the least disruption possible for the Grade 1 students in the class.
Mrs Tracy Tan will be returning from her maternity leave on Monday 22nd April and I would like to thank Ms Le'Rain Lee for all her hard work in covering the music classes and her valuable contributions as a member of the music team during Tracy's maternity leave.  

Upcoming Key events in Q4

  • April 22: Teacher Professional Development Day (No school for students)
  • April 23-26: Book Week
  • April 24: Transition KG2 to G1 Parent Information Session 
  • May 1: Labor Day Holiday
  • May 2-3: Grade 3 Camp
  • May 7: Grade 2 Camp Parents Information Evening
  • May 10: Half-Day for students 
  • May 11: Family Fun Day
  • May 15-16: PYP Exhibition 
  • May 20: Vesak Day Holiday
  • May 21-24: EY Swim Week (to be held during EY Swimming classes)
  • May 30-31: Grade 2 Camp
  • May 31: ECA Season 3 ends
  • June 4: Assessment in the PYP Parent Engagement Workshop
  • June 5: Hari Raya Puasa Holiday
  • June 7: PY Swim Gala
  • June 19: EY Awards Assembly
  • June 20: PY Awards Assembly
  • June 21: School Year Ends 
Wishing all families a relaxing holiday break, safe travels. and we look forward to seeing the students back in school on Tuesday 23rd April.
Neil White,
Early/Primary Years Principal

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