Mackay Centre School
A Social Affairs School of the English Montreal School Board
They read theme-related stories and give children opportunities to illustrate and enact them. Teachers and speech pathologists also embed phonological awareness activities in storytelling, circle time, etc.
Phonological awareness involves knowing and being able to "play with" the sounds of language (e.g. rhyming words, breaking words into syllables, identifying individual sounds, leaving sounds out, blending sounds together, etc.) As phonological awareness training progresses, children are gradually taught to make the link between sounds and letters-a skill required for decoding (sounding words out). This programme has been shown to be successful in reducing early reading difficulties (Catts, 1991).
Social interaction is an important part of the language classes and is supported by classroom teachers as well as other professions. Themes that relate to interpersonal skills are utilized.
In the classroom, children participate in a variety of interactive groups: whole-class, small-group and pairs. Music therapy (playing percussion instruments, singing, etc.) at the preschool level are organized to allow children opportunities for practice at peer requests, sharing, giving each other positive feedback.
A weekly social skills group is also facilitated by the school psychologist and speech-language pathologist. In these groups, games, circle activities, pictures, stories, and role plays are used to teach children how to interact positively and how to negotiate and resolve conflicts with peers.
The Mackay Center School Library program provides library and information services to students, teachers and the school community.
It strives to develop the skills necessary to meet the lifelong informational needs of students, while encouraging them to develop a never ending love of reading.
The librarian works with teachers to achieve the outcomes of the school's curriculum. Resources include an organized, current and diverse collection of books, magazines, audio-visual materials, CD roms and reference materials.
The librarian organizes special events to promote reading including, author/illustrator visits, storytellers, "I Love to Read" week and two annual book fairs.
Computers are used by all students at Mackay Centre School from Pre-kindergarten at 4 years of age to seniors at 21.
Our students use a variety of programmes: for word processing, presentations, animation, drawing, manipulation of graphics and games that teach strategies, logic and creativity. The computer activities are planned in conjunction with classroom themes or projects which allow students do research on the Internet. The students work on Lego robotics projects in a number of classes. Ipads are also used for various projects and photography.
Each homeroom class has its own smartboard and computers which are networked for the internet and printing. The classrooms also have access to iPads for special projects.
In September of '98 a new class was established at Mackay combining the resources of the school and the Rehabilitation Centre. The primary focus of the classroom is communication. All the students involved use alternative or augmentative forms of communication, i.e. picture symbols, switches and voice output aids.
Most students at Mackay Centre School receive 90 minutes of physical and health education instruction per week.
The three competencies are as follows:
Most students at Mackay Centre School receive 60 minutes of swimming per week.
The French Programme in the PHYSICALLY DISABLED DEPARTMENT has several components.
SECOND: Learning to express yourself in simple French, which by Grades 4 & 5 becomes more descriptive and challenging French. This is "l'expression orale".
THIRD: Learning to read French. The books we have make this fun. We learn vocabulary, how to read and understand simple sentences and, by grade five, how to read French literature. This is "la lecture".
FOURTH: Learning to write French. We start gradually with vocabulary, simple sentences and exercises from interesting workbooks. Then we learn to write paragraphs and to answer questions from a text we have read. This is "la compréhension et l'expression écrite".
We work hard and have regular homework assignments.
(Micheline Bélanger and Monique Crevier)
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