Our Junior School
The Junior School comprises Prep; Kindergarten to Year 2 and Years 3 – 6. From the youngest to the oldest Junior School students, SHCS is a fun place to be, with a special family feel, working in partnership with parents. Children are immersed in the knowledge of the love and power of the Lord Jesus Christ, and His plan for our lives. Stimulating and nurturing each child’s uniqueness, we foster a love of learning in the early years of your child’s education. With a strong phonics approach using Jolly Phonics, and a structured maths program incorporating hands-on activities, we encourage children to work at their own level. The children work in stage groups and class groups with their own teacher. They benefit from being exposed to the experience, the gifts and talents of all teachers throughout the Junior School. Students have the added benefit of having specialist sport and music teachers from Prep-6. Additionally, we value and encourage the involvement of parents in many ways throughout the school, and appreciate the teamwork nature of this practice. Our Junior School Faculty Curriculum encompasses all of the Board of Studies Teaching & Educational Standards NSW. Students are encouraged to develop their knowledge and skills and use these in service to God and others. Our Junior School children engage in a variety of activities that provide a solid foundation of academic, creative and social skills. Excursions such as “The Government in Action” visit to Canberra is a highlight for the students as they learn about Man in God’s World, although some prefer strengthening friendships during the annual camping trips!
The Junior School aims to provide a firm foundation across the age ranges in the following areas:
All classes begin each day with a devotion time where the Bible is read and students and teachers pray for the day, fellow students and world events.
A short opening assembly is held on Monday morning each week with the entire school. All Junior School classes have a Junior School assembly each week, with each class taking turns to present the assembly. This gives the students the opportunity to experience public speaking and drama. Parents are encouraged to attend these assemblies, your class teacher will inform you when it is time for your child’s class to present assembly.
The homework policy at SHCS is designed to encourage independent study habits and strong work ethics. Each class teacher assigns homework in their preferred manner. If homework expectations seem unrealistic parents are encouraged to speak with the class teacher.
Assessment and reporting
Assessment of student progress is made using observation, analysis of student work and testing. Records are kept of student development. Written reports are provided to parents twice a year at the end of each semester along with parent/teacher interviews.
Parents are encouraged to be involved with their children’s lives at school as much as possible. Commitments like this can be in the form of regular help in the classrooms, canteen, library or helping on excursions and camps. For the parents who are unable to visit the school, some activities, such as covering books and preparing craft items can easily be done at home. This time is especially appreciated and valued as without volunteer help our school could not offer the services it does and we enjoy the team nature of this practice
The children work in a class group with their own teacher, but also benefit from being exposed to the experience, gifts and talents of all the teachers in the department. Along with regular weekly visits to the library and Integrated Resource Centre. Students are taught basic music skills. Our Southern Highlands Individual Program (SHIP) run by our Special Education teacher is available to students who may need a little extra help. This can be in the form of help within the classroom environment or one-on-one assistance in the dedicated Learning Support classroom.
Beyond The Classroom
Music tuition conducted by on site, private tutors is available to all students wishing to play a particular instrument, these may include: piano, guitar, or violin and are provided at an additional cost. Leadership opportunities arise through the Student Representative Council (SRC) for Years 3-6 and School Captaincy in Year 6. The early years of the Junior School provide a fun environment for students to settle into the routine of school life, with a special family feel, working in partnership with parents. Children are given a foundation in the knowledge, love and power of the Lord Jesus Christ and his plan for their lives. From Years 3 – 6 of the Junior School, children are encouraged to take the next step in their development towards independence. Our aim is for each student to learn who God is, about the world he has created, and about themselves and their place in His world. We support each student in the growth of their individual learning skills through instructional and cooperative educational programs. All are nurtured and have individual needs met as they take on the challenge of building on their skills and knowledge to achieve their personal best. All aspects of the Creative Arts and Music curriculum are taught in class lessons with Junior School classes also meeting to enjoy choir once a week. Recorder is taught to a number of classes each year and students have the opportunity to experience drama and public performance through our weekly assemblies. The SHCS High School music teachers visit the Junior School to share their talents with the children, encouraging children to participate in music lessons.
Literacy and Numeracy
Stimulating and nurturing each child’s uniqueness, we foster a love of learning in the early years of your child’s education. Teaching the skills of reading, writing, spelling and mathematics is a major focus in the early years and therefore deserves a substantial amount of time be allocated to it. We accept that students develop at different rates and learn in different ways, and our teaching is therefore geared to meet individual needs as much as possible. With a strong phonics approach using Jolly Phonics and a structured maths program incorporating many hands-on activities, we encourage children to learn at their own level. All Junior School children are encouraged to participate in the MS Read-a-thon and the Premiers’ Reading Challenge. The firm foundations laid down in the Junior School are built on with a curriculum based on the Board of Studies syllabus with a Biblical focus. Lessons are taught in the six Key Learning Areas:
- Science and Technology
- Human Society and its Environment
- Creative Arts
Junior School students are each given a ‘Boomerang Book’ which they use to develop responsible homework habits and accountability, communication with parents is also facilitated through the book. All Junior School students are encouraged to participate in the Premiers Reading Challenge and for those children seeking an extra challenge SHCS offers a number of avenues which may include; The University of N.S.W.’s School’s Competitions in Literacy, Numeracy and Science, the MS Read-a-thon, The Writers Challenge and Tournament of minds.
Outdoor Learning and Excursions
Excursions are included as part of the core study program to provide first-hand experiences for students. These excursions are always exciting and educational and are based on the particular part of the curriculum being studied at the time. For the youngest members of our Junior School ‘Mud Day’ and ‘Dancing By Numbers’ are two highlights of the year. They also have the opportunity to participate in our annual athletics and swimming carnivals taking part in a variety of age and skill appropriate activities. In Years 3-6 the Junior School at SHCS explores many diverse and interesting topics and activities through our varied excursion program. Each year students will experience camps that reflect the curriculum. Year 3 have, in previous years, enjoyed two, one day excursions, the first to Fitzroy Falls and the second to Sydney for a tour of the Rocks area, Maritime Museum and the replica of Captain Cook’s “Endeavour”. Year 4 have enjoyed an overnight camping program at Fitzroy Falls and ‘Teen Ranch’. Year 5/6 have also celebrated with an overnight camp at ‘Teen Ranch’, and a day excursion to Canberra to learn about politics.
Our Junior School students have the opportunity to participate in many different forms of sport, be they team or individual, with programs running to teach skills in a variety of activities and sporting endeavours at an age appropriate level. Of course SHCS offers all our students the chance to participate in all the sporting carnivals including athletics and swimming where our three house groups, Watoto, Pinero, Pullinger, compete to be top house for the year, as well as our cross country event. Students have the opportunity to go on and compete at District, Regional and State level. Additional activities such as Jump Rope for Heart provide events the children thoroughly enjoy whilst encouraging healthy exercise.
Developing Social and Coping Skills
A significant part of growing and maturing is learning good social and coping skills. At SHCS we have implemented a classroom resiliency program “You can Do it”. This program offers practical strategies to help all young people cope with the complexity of their everyday lives and learn to ‘Bounce Back’ when they experience sadness, difficulties, frustrations and hard times. The program explores topics related to; developing positive values, developing courage and strategies for bouncing back, looking at the bright side, managing emotions, relationship skills, humour as a coping tool, dealing with bullying and being successful. It also helps to promote a more positive, supportive, prosocial culture with a greater likelihood of students offering effective peer support. It is hoped that as children experience enhanced self-esteem and higher levels of emotional wellbeing, they will, in turn, show improved learning outcomes as a result. I truly believe Southern Highlands Christian School is a great place for your child/ren to grow!
Head of Junior School