Foundation to Year 2 Band Description
The nature of the learner, the pathway and particular language
Languages studied in the First Language Learner Pathway (L1) are typically used in spoken form as the language of everyday communication by whole communities across all generations.
Typically, but not exclusively, L1 programs will occur on Country/Place and will have constant involvement from a variety of speakers from the community. A key expectation in the L1 pathway is that of students having opportunities to interact with Elders and particular places on Country/Place.
Learners are typically Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children who have learnt the language from their families as a first language and continue to use it naturally at home and play. Students may have varying skills in other languages, including varieties of English.
The curriculum content and achievement standards in the First Language Learner Pathway are generalised in order to cater for the range of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander languages that may be learnt as a first language. The curriculum content and achievement standards will need to be adapted when developing language-specific curricula, and will need to be modified for programs occuring off-Country.
Students enter the early years of schooling with well-established skills in spoken forms of the language along with a growing knowledge of local community and culture. In addition they may have varying skills in other languages, including varieties of English. School is often the first place these children encounter written language as a systematic means of communication.
Language learning and use
As well as continuing to develop oracy, a key feature of the First Language Learner Pathway is the development of literacy and extending language use in additional domains, particularly relating to the school context. Children build a vocabulary for thinking and talking about school topics, routines and processes, and expand their knowledge and understanding by exploring Country/Place with Elders and community members and by engaging with stories and other texts in the language.
Children learn about the concepts of kin, social groupings and how these are connected to the natural environment. They learn about their own songs, stories, dances and designs and their own place in the kinship system.
From Foundation to Year 2 children are learning how to interact with people in new contexts, share with others, and participate in more structured routines and activities. They learn about school, teacher and community expectations in terms of ‘right’ behaviour and ‘right’ ways of talking.
The curriculum builds on children’s interests and sense of enjoyment and curiosity, with an emphasis on active and experiential learning and confidence building. Creative play provides opportunities for using the language for purposeful interaction in some less familiar contexts. Imaginative activities, games, music and songs, movement and familiar routines provide essential scaffolding and relevant contexts for language development.
Students are supported to use the language for different language functions and in different domains, such as asking and responding to questions on a range of topics, expressing feelings, following instructions, working together for a common purpose, and taking turns in games and simple shared learning experiences.
They learn to recognise how the sounds of the language and its intonation are encoded in writing. They begin to understand how the language works, comparing and contrasting it with other known languages and learning how it fits into the diversity of regional and national languages.
The transition from spoken to written language is scaffolded through shared exploration of simple texts and language features. Children progress from supported comprehension and use of a small number of high-frequency and personally significant sight words to more elaborated texts that take account of context, purpose and audience. They use grammatical, cultural and contextual cues to comprehend texts and engage in communicative interactions. They progress from writing by tracing and copying, to independently forming legible letters. Writing skills progress from the ability to label images and copy high-frequency words to co-construct simple texts using familiar vocabulary, language features and structures. Children begin to develop familiarity with different types of texts in different genres.
Contexts of interaction
Across Foundation to Year 2, learning occurs largely through interaction with peers and the teaching team, with access to Elders and other speakers living in the same community for additional enrichment and authentication of the learning experience. Interacting with Country/Place to explore the environment with Elders and other community members is essential to learning at all stages, but particularly in the early years, when learning is grounded in the familiar, and understanding of the role of language as lived experience is important.
Texts and resources
Country/Place and the community are the most important resources for learning and are the origin of most of the texts and communicative situations offered to learners.
Children engage with a variety of spoken, visual, written and digital texts. They listen and respond to teacher talk, share ideas, and join in with song, dance, story, rap, as well as with various forms of play, performance, conversational exchanges and activities mediated by language. Printed and digital texts include stories, shared Big Books, wall charts and teacher-generated materials such as games, flashcards and items from the community and local environment. They engage with visual texts such as designs on body, bark and sand, and etchings and carvings on wood and rock.
Level of support
Learning is supported through the provision of experiences that are challenging but achievable with appropriate scaffolding and support. This involves modelling, monitoring and moderating by the teacher; provision of multiple and varied sources of input; opportunities for revisiting, recycling and reviewing; and continuous cueing, feedback, response and encouragement. Use of recount, experiencing and retelling in oral and written formats assists in establishing early literacy.
The role of languages
The language of study is the principal medium of instruction in First Language Learner Pathway classrooms, while other known languages play a complementary role, such as for translating and creating bilingual/multilingual texts.