In the early years, our girls develop strong learning foundations, influenced by the Reggio Emilio teaching philosophy, where the learning space itself is considered the third teacher. Here we encourage creativity, imagination, social interaction and the development of skills and concepts.
Our Junior School teachers have been working collaboratively on a professional learning programme called Visible Learning. This programme is based on John Hattie’s internationally-acclaimed research, conducted over 15 years and involving millions of students, and is the largest evidence-based research into what actually works best for schools to improve learning. Visible learning and teaching occurs when teachers help students become their own teachers. Hattie found students are more capable when they can clearly articulate “I know what I am learning and why” and can plan their next learning steps with a teacher and peers. We believe this is the most influential thing we can do to positively impact learning and raise levels of achievement.
With this approach in mind, we focus strongly on developing literacy and numeracy skills, as well as hands-on learning in English, Mathematics, Science, Humanities and Social Sciences, Technology and Enterprise, and Beliefs and Values.
It’s here our girls want to start developing their chosen interests, and we have specialist lessons in Performing Arts, Visual Arts, Physical Education and Languages Other Than English – (Mandarin from 5 to 6, and French, taught from Prep to 4).
When it comes to education, technology is being used more and more. Students have access to a range of equipment that supports their learning programme. Computing is incorporated into activities across the curriculum and there are plenty of networked computers and iPads available to accommodate this. Interactive whiteboards are used in all classrooms and students can also use notebooks.
All students from Kindergarten to Year 6 learn how to solve real-world problems through creative thinking, design work, collaboration, programming robotics and coding. They develop a deeper understanding of how STEaM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) can be integrated and utilised to develop solutions, and their confidence is boosted as they persevere to complete fun but challenging work. Coding in Kindergarten involves very simple, directional input straight on to the Beebot robots and advances to using more sophisticated block coding on the Lego Mindstorms EV3 robots in Year 6. The girls are developing essential 21st century skills in preparation for Year 7 and beyond, and we hope they will go on to consider careers in STEM fields.
Music and creativity are integral parts of the Junior School and all girls will learn an instrument from Year 2, from woodwind to strings, and also find their voice through the choir.
From an early age our girls have the opportunity to explore a range of areas; this helps inquisitive minds find areas they really enjoy and want to learn more about.