How Our Students Learn
At Vermont South Special school we have high expectations for all students. We follow the Victorian Curriculum and use an explicit teaching model, where students are guided through the learning process. We provide clear learning intentions about the purpose for learning new concepts, followed by explicit modelling, supported practice and specific feedback. Students work in small groups to allow for targeted teaching that caters for their individual needs. At VSSS we take every opportunity to celebrate and foster a love of learning.
Students engage in daily English sessions where reading, writing, and speaking and listening are explicitly taught. Letter sound knowledge, phonics and vocabulary development are high priorities. We use the guided reading model of instruction where students are provided with a high level of teacher support to develop their skills in the reading process and in comprehension. Our writing sessions provide all students with the opportunity to express their ideas, experience a range of text types, and see themselves as writers. Students enjoy visiting our library, borrowing books and being immersed in high quality literature.
Maths skills are vital in our everyday lives. We focus on developing our students’ skills in number, measurement, geometry, statistics and probability. As part of our approach to teaching maths, students develop concepts through the use of hands-on materials, games and open-ended tasks. Maths language is explicitly taught, and students are encouraged to express their thinking and reasoning. We provide opportunities for students to use a range of strategies to solve problems and apply their skills to real life scenarios.
Every week students visit our dedicated Science room and garden known as ‘Rainbow Cottage’ where they engage in hands-on investigations aimed at developing their scientific understanding and inquiry skills. Students are encouraged to explore, ask questions, observe and communicate their findings about the changing world around them. Students love caring for our animals, planting and harvesting produce, and participating in our sustainability program.
Digital technology is embedded throughout our students’ learning. All classrooms are equipped with Interactive White Boards, computers and iPads with a range of software and applications that enhance students’ knowledge, understanding and skills. We also have a computer lab that provides further opportunities for the targeted teaching of technology skills.
In Performing Arts, students experience and engage in a variety of music, drama and dance activities designed to help them build confidence and reach their creative and expressive potential. Students develop skills in beat, rhythm, pitch, and dynamics through song, chant, movement, listening and instrumental work. Our concerts, carols and morning assembly dances are a highlight and provide wonderful opportunities for students to perform and showcase their abilities.
Visual Arts provide students with the opportunity to experiment with ideas and to use their imagination and perception to plan and create artwork. Two-dimensional and three-dimensional media and techniques are explored during lessons, and areas such as textiles, painting, printing, drawing, collage and construction are covered. Through art, our students develop skills, increase sensory perceptions and enjoyment, and have the opportunity to respond to artworks.
In Physical Education, students learn through movement. The Physical Education program develops fundamental motor skills, builds confidence and team work, and incorporates fitness elements and Sports education. All Foundation students participate in the Perceptual Motor Program which develops gross motor skills and helps students integrate visual processing with a motor response. Our Bike education program, swimming program, athletics’ carnival and sports clinics are just some of the experiences that our students enjoy.
The Healthy Kitchen Program
Our middle and senior students enjoy going to our Healthy Kitchen Program, where they engage in food preparation each week. Students are supported to develop their skills and knowledge to make healthy choices that will enhance their health and wellbeing. The program promotes independence with daily living skills, safe food handling practices and good table manners.
Our therapy team consists of speech pathologists, an occupational therapist and a physiotherapist. The team works to support students through providing a variety of programs. Our speech therapists work in classrooms, and with small groups, to enhance students’ speech and pragmatic skills. Students also participate in gross motor and fine motor programs which develop their upper and lower limb strength, core stability, as well as their balance and fine motor skills. This multi-disciplinary approach supports students to achieve their best.