We believe that for effective learning to occur, trust is an essential starting point in the vital three-way relationship between students, teachers and parents. We work hard to earn the confidence of our students and parents; we place trust in them and we expect their trust in return.
A generosity of spirit and authentic friendliness permeates our community and becomes obvious when you spend time here. We warmly welcome diversity and and our students feel safe, supported and a strong sense of belonging.
The Grammar Junior School is a happy community.
Learners are encouraged to explore the world and develop meaning through challenge and inquiry and they are supported to develop a love of learning.
Our Commitment Statement
Our approach to wellbeing, teaching and learning is best summed up in the Junior School Commitment Statement for students and teachers…
“In the Junior School…
We work hard, try new things and always aim to be our best. We are inclusive and friendly, we are a community of learners and we are respectful of each other and our environment. We approach life with a positive mindset, engaging with our peers and our teachers in ways that maximise both accomplishment and relationships. We make principled decisions, show courage in our actions and always reflect on what we have done. We enquire about the things we don’t understand and don’t expect to be handed all the answers. We respect the views of others even when they are different to our own. We commit to solving problems by listening to the feelings of those who are hurt so as to determine what actions we can take to make things better. When we are hurt or upset we focus on what needs to happen to make things right. We know that together we can become inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who will work to make a better world.”
International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program
Ballarat Grammar is authorised as an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School to deliver the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (IB PYP). IB World Schools share the common philosophy of a commitment to high quality, challenging, international education that Ballarat Grammar believes is important for our students.
Only schools authorised by the IB Organisation can offer the PYP.
The PYP prepares students to become active, caring, lifelong learners who demonstrate respect for themselves and others and have the capacity to participate positively in the world around them. It focuses on the development of the whole child as an inquirer both within and beyond the classroom.
The PYP promotes deep learning.
PYP schools develop their students’ academic, social and emotional wellbeing with a focus on international mindedness and strong personal values. The PYP nurtures independent learning skills, encouraging every student to take responsibility for their learning.
The program incorporates local and global issues into the curriculum, asking students to look at six related, transdisciplinary themes and to consider the links between them. The themes include ‘who we are’, ‘where we are in place and time’ and ‘how the world works’.
The Learner Profile
The attributes of the ‘Learner Profile’ help our students to become great learners. ‘Attitudes’ help them to become great people.
At the heart of the PYP, the Learner Profile puts the student at the centre of everything we do. The ten Learner Profile Attributes provide a set of aspirational learning outcomes that inspire and motivate the work of our teachers and students as we strive to become truly internationally minded citizens of the world.
Learner Profile Attributes
In the Junior School we strive to be:
The Program of Inquiry
The Program of Inquiry presents schools with a comprehensive plan for high quality, international education. It provides schools with a curriculum framework to develop a rigorous and challenging curriculum to equip students for successful lives based on five essential elements — knowledge, concepts, skills, attitudes and action. It aims to create a curriculum that is engaging, relevant, challenging and significant for young learners.
Wellbeing in the Junior School
In the Junior School our focus is on helping our students to approach learning with an open mind and growth mindset and we believe that the skills and mindsets that promote wellbeing can be explicitly taught. We want to equip our students with the skills to flourish, to help them rise to life’s challenges, to make the most of setbacks and adversities and to accomplish tasks and dreams.
Wellbeing underpins our whole teaching and learning framework, every interaction and everything we do at Grammar. As part of our focus on supporting the education of the whole person we draw on evidence from the science of Positive Psychology and teach it explicitly to our students through our Positive Education Program and we constantly cross-check student wellbeing and academic progress against the PERMA Model of Wellbeing.
Program – Special Features and Opportunities
Learning by Structured Inquiry
Inquiry is at the heart of our curriculum in the Junior School with our students exploring traditional subjects in rich and meaningful ways focused on structured inquiry.
We believe that for students to become successful inquirers explicit teaching is vital in key skill areas such as literacy, numeracy and others. Equipped with these skills, our students are challenged and trusted to pursue their learning through a structured inquiry-based program rich in opportunities and experiences. This approach helps them to develop enduring understandings that are transferable and universal at personal, local and global levels.
We believe that the students are the most important stakeholders in their learning.
We have seen that shared goal setting and reflection based on learning portfolios and three-way conferencing between student-parent-teacher inspires our students to take action based on their learning and leads to powerful learning.
The Homeroom Teacher is the number one adult in a student’s life in the Junior School. Other adults also play a vital role, from other Junior School staff to our School Chaplain, fully qualified School Psychologist and Health Centre staff. Prep students have Year 6 ‘Buddies’ in place from the start of the school year.
As an important part of our commitment to the Anglican traditions and values, all Junior School students attend a service of worship in the Chapel of Saint Mark each week. Special services for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Blessing of the Pets and our own Carols Service are highlights of the Junior School calendar.
Our Year 4 Program is an innovative model with a focus on place-based learning at our spectacular farm campus at Mount Rowan.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
– Dr Seuss
The Junior School is actively committed to the Round Square six IDEALS of Learning.
We want to build independence in our students so that they develop an understanding that even one person’s actions can make a positive difference in the world around them through small actions.
Each year there are many great examples of action initiated by students in the Junior School ranging from leading awareness campaigns on global issues, organising and running major fundraising efforts and building connections with local charity organisations.
Our commitment to developing environmental awareness is evident throughout the Junior School and is a special focus of our Year 4 Program at the Mt Rowan Campus.
Starting at Year 2 our developmental Outdoor Education Program is designed to give our students the opportunity to build connections with others and the environment while developing important life skills.
As part of Grammar’s commitment to ‘Leadership as Service’ we take a team approach to leadership where every Year 6 student is part of a leadership committee aligned with Round Square values.
We are committed to a culture of fairness and equal opportunities for our students.
The study of language and culture is a key feature of the PYP’s focus on international mindedness and we are committed to nurturing a love of learning another language through our French Program. We also support our students to participate in the annual Young Round Square conference.
Love of language is our #1 focus.
We take a fun approach to teaching French and look for authentic ways to use it in our everyday life at school. French is taught from Year 2 and our students love using the language inside and outside curriculum time.
Sister School Relationship
In 2015 the Junior School established a Sister School Program with Ecole Internationale James Cook in Noumea, New Caledonia and we look forward to offering many exciting opportunities for students at both schools.
Our students are exposed to a very broad range of opportunities. Within the curriculum every student has weekly exposure to Visual Arts, Music, Dance and Drama at all year levels with specialist teachers. As part of our co-curricular program students can choose from a wide range of options from Music Theatre to Ballet, from Textiles to Ceramics and from Dance to Drama. Highlights of the year include the Junior School Production where every student performs on the stage and the Junior School Art Exhibition where every student’s work is displayed.
As well as having specialist spaces within the Junior School such as our dance studio with mirrors, dance bars, stage and full lighting system and full sound system, our students also have easy access to the incredible range of specialist facilities on campus, notably the Wendouree Centre for Performing Arts and the Beckworth Centre for the Arts.
Year 2 String Program
Every student learns a string instrument for the whole year, culminating in a performance to an appreciative audience of family and friends.
As well as teaching PE and Sport within the curriculum we offer have a wide range of co-curricular sporting options after school with huge participation rates – ranging from traditional team sports to athletics, triathlon, track cycling, equestrian and many more. Our students have easy access to the incredible range of facilities on campus and a large number of specialist coaches who are members of the Junior School teaching staff.
We proudly support a huge participation rate in inter-school competitions in a wide range of sports and a large number of our students qualify for State selection in a wide variety of sports. Students also have the opportunity to participate in various House competitions at School.
We use technology to transform teaching and learning across the Junior School. Smart Boards are used in every classroom by teachers and by students as an interactive tool to support their learning program with a strong focus on large-scale interaction. For one-on-one access there is a dedicated Junior School computer lab as well as three labs in other parts of the school. Desktops computers are available in every classroom giving students immediate access to support their inquiry-based learning program. A half class set of tablets is also available in the Inquiry Centre and students have access to computers and Smart Boards in the Arts Centre for research and learning. Cutting edge presentation tools such as Web 2.0 and movie making tools are used by students from Prep to Year 6 to support their inquiry-based learning program.
In the Junior School we love to celebrate special occasions. Our full and rich Calendar of Junior School Events includes the Junior School Production, Oratory and Choral Festivals, Mother’s, Father’s and Grandparent’s Day, Family Picnic, Sustainability Expo, Family Mountain Bike Weekend, Art Exhibition, Gala Concert, and many more.
The true flavour of the Junior School…
We think the following communication says so much about us and is a great note to end on…
A letter (unedited) from Year 2C to Mr Bade (Head of Junior School)
“Dear Mr Bade, How are you? We are writing to ask for a new Year 2 playground, because without it we will die! We would like a year 2 playground because there are so many children on the other playgrounds we feel like we are trapped in a tiny box. We would like an adventure playground that will challenge us and keep us active. We believe that an adventure activity playground will activate active Year 2 Anglicans. The Year 1/2 playground is out of date and is ruining our entire time at Grammar. We need a new playground for our school to make our school the best school in the universe.”
Reply from Mr Bade
“Dear 2C. This is very persuasive indeed! I will personally take this matter up with the Headmaster – none of us would want to see any Year 2’s die because their playground is not good enough. We are also very attracted to the idea of being the best school in the universe. Perhaps I should also pass it on the Bishop Garry because I think he would like the idea of us activating our active Year 2 Anglicans. Thank you. I will see what we can do.”
This communication from Year 2C has prompted a review of current playground facilities in the Junior School and planning is currently underway to develop better facilities.