Mackay Centre School

A Social Affairs School of the English Montreal School Board



Photo credit: HOPELiteracy instruction in the language classes has several components. Teachers seek to increase children's awareness of print as communicative and functional and to increase knowledge of how print and books "work" (direction of print, parts of book, etc.).

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.

Library up

Photo credit: HOPEThe 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 upPhoto credit: HOPE

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.

Augmentative Communication up

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.

Photo credit: HOPEPhysical Education up

Most students at Mackay Centre School receive 90 minutes of physical and health education instruction per week.
As with all other elementary schools in Quebec, the overarching goals of the physical and health education program at Mackay Centre School are dictated by the Quebec EducationProgram.

The three competencies are as follows:
Competency 1- To perform movement skills in different physical activity settings
Competency 2- To interact with others in different physical activity settings
Competency 3- To adopt a healthy, active lifestyle
What distinguishes the physical and health education program at Mackay Centre School
is its use of an abilities-based approach. This approach looks for any and all the unique
functional skills every child possesses and tries to select games, sports and activities that match
these skills. Students with physical disabilities are encouraged to use whatever specialized
equipment allows them greater mobility, fitness and independence. Students who are
ambulatory, including those students who are deaf, have speech or language disorders and the
students who are part of the reverse integration program will have the opportunity to explore
their own abilities, while being sensitized to the abilities and needs of others.

Swimming up

Most students at Mackay Centre School receive 60 minutes of swimming per week.
The overall goals for all students are to develop skills related to comfort, safety, swimming, fitness, and
games. Students with physical disabilities will have individual objectives set based on their comfort,
movement and fitness abilities. Ambulatory students including those that are part of the reverse
integration program follow the Canadian Red Cross Preschool Swim and Swim Kids programs.

Programme de Français up

The French Programme in the PHYSICALLY DISABLED DEPARTMENT has several components.
FIRST: Understanding people when they speak French. This is called "la compréhension auditive". It involves good listening skills.

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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