Year 2 overview
Throughout their Junior School experience, our Year 2 students have opportunities to connect, create and challenge and learn to soar. With classroom environments providing a safe, innovative and inspiring experience, our learners have opportunities to grow and achieve under the guidance of our highly qualified and supportive staff.
Following our Reception to Year 2 theme of ‘connect’, our students enjoy exciting, engaging and rigorous tailor-made programs where each child experiences learning with real connections, and authentic and timely feedback.
In Year 2, our children enjoy single year level classes with dedicated, full-time Home Group teachers, smaller class sizes ensuring individual attention, and they are buddied with Year 6 students to widen their experiences and give them a sense of connection and belonging.
Our Junior School curriculum uses Edward de Bono’s six hat thinking model, in addition to explicit teaching of foundational literacy and numeracy concepts, and VAKPOINT learning strategies. Technology is a big part of classroom practice at St John’s Grammar, with our Year 2 students using iPads for phonics, reading, Maths, writing, typing skills and STEM.
To showcase and share our students’ work, we use online platforms, such as Seesaw, which keep us connected with our families and give you the opportunity to share in your child’s academic achievements.
Our Year 2 students are encouraged to develop planning skills and working on longer term projects of interest, and they enjoy one session every three weeks inside the Belair National Park where they experience calculated risk taking, building resilience, and studying environmental science.
Fun events occur across the year and are a highlight in the School’s calendar, such as Book Week, Science Week, and PE Week, and co-curricular activities such as netball, Auskick, dance, cricket, football, basketball and gymnastics connect children and families within our community.
Specialist programs such as Art, Music, Sport, Indonesian and Recorder inspire students and promote creativity, while our wellbeing programs including CARES, Growing with Gratitude, girls club, boys club, and Program Achieve keep students persistent, resilient and connected.
The core curriculum includes English, Mathematics, History, Geography, Science, Technology and Health Education, and is taught by classroom teachers.
We offer peer mentoring to transition our students from Junior Primary to Primary to ensure their step up to the next level is a smooth and rewarding experience.
Learning through play
Guided Inquiry in Reception to Year 2 further provides the structure for students to learn through play. Recognised as an important focus of the Early Years Learning Framework, there are two double lessons per week dedicated to Guided Inquiry.
These sessions see numerous learning/inquiry zones set up within each classroom to focus on different learning areas.
As well as learning through play, Guided Inquiry allows students to shine at what interests them, develop relationships with other students and test their theories while providing early enterprise experience.
Structured, natural inquiry with Belair National Park
With our campus adjacent to Belair National Park, a structured natural inquiry program sees our Year 2s collecting information about the lake in the Belair National Park. One session every 3 weeks inside the Park allows students to explore and develop an appreciation for the natural environment of Belair National Park while exploring Environmental Science aspects of mapping, lifecycles and water quality.
This opportunity to learn in the Park adds a richness to our learning by providing unparalleled opportunities for children to learn; not only from an Environmental Science perspective but also opportunities for calculated risk taking and resilience as they play amongst the natural environment.
Signature experiences for Year 2
There are a number of unique programs and initiatives as part of the schooling experience for our Year 2s.
STEM rotations provide the Year 2s with the opportunity to develop scientific questioning and investigation skills with the freedom to undertake experiments that delve into the biological, physical and technological world. Coupled with Environmental Science in Belair National Park, which sees the students collecting and recording information about the lake; our Year 2s experience a range of scientific exploration, questioning and discovery.
Nurturing and developing thinking skills is a cornerstone of Year 2, with both Edward de Bono’s six hat thinking model and VAKPOINT learning skills and strategies both explored by this year group.
The Growing with Gratitude Program adds an exploration of interpersonal skills and strategies. With our Year 2s split into gendered groups, the programs teach new skills in developing empathy, overcoming challenges, improving confidence and establishing positive habits.
To continue their growth as they journey towards the Upper Primary Years, our Year 2s receive peer mentoring as they transition from Junior Primary.
LIteracy and numeracy focus in Year 2
Year 2 students at St John’s Grammar enjoy differentiated programs and workshops based on ability, with classroom support offered to small, targeted groups so no child is left behind.
In Year 2, differentiated programs and workshops based on ability help with the explicit teaching of foundational literacy and numeracy concepts. In practice, this involves our Year 2 students developing greater accuracy with spelling patterns and the ability to spell words with less common long vowel patterns. They also develop the skills of using punctuation accurately and write sentences legibly using unjoined upper- and lower-case letters. The phonics basis of the Letter and Sounds component of the Spelling Teams program provides explicit instruction on sounds. Further development of narrative writing and recount is taught through the Learning Teams program as well as ongoing instruction on how to report and to write descriptively. Additionally, the aim is to have students reading off the reading levels by the end of the year.
Our goal for Numeracy, on the other hand, is for Year 2 students to be able to identify and count numbers to and from 1000, and learning how to skip count in 2s, 3s, 4s and 10s are some core numeracy competencies developed by the end of the year. We achieve this through the use of the PR1ME Maths Program and the use of technology-based programs such Matific to teach core tenets of numeracy while providing real-time reporting back to teachers to further engage and personalise learning.
Our Year 2s also take part in our Maths Teams program. This is a weekly needs-based Maths differentiation program where students break into smaller teams to work on Maths problem solving. Class teachers support the mainstream learners, with students needing extra scaffolding supported by Student Support Officers (SSO) and students needing extension supported by specialist teachers. All Maths programs have the ability for real-time assessment and reporting to individualise and support learning.
Differentiated Learning program
Across Reception to Year 6 we offer a Differentiated Learning program which is aimed at ensuring every child has the opportunity to soar.
Differentiated Learning provides small, targeted learning groups based on ability to help with the explicit teaching of foundational literacy and numeracy concepts. This approach allows class teachers support the mainstream learners, with extra scaffolding for students who need it to be provided by Student Support Officers (SSO) and specialist teachers able to provide extension for those students requiring it.
Creating a learning environment that is nurturing and contributes to the development of students’ self-esteem and enthusiasm for ongoing literacy and numeracy learning is the outcome of our Differentiated Learning framework.
We have developed a unique and comprehensive genre-based literacy program called Learning Teams and a rigorous, synthetic phonics program called Spelling Teams.
Learning Teams is a small-group initiative that focuses specifically on the development of writing skills such as: planning, organising ideas when writing, applying grammar, self and peer editing, reflection and applying feedback.
Specialised, student-friendly genre templates and rubrics help engage and demystify the assessment and feedback process.
The Spelling Team program explicitly teaches students how to segment and blend words. This program is underpinned by the Letters and Sounds Framework. Letters and Sounds is a systematic, high-quality phonics program based on best practice from international research. From Reception right through to Year 6, the Letters and Sounds Framework methodically teaches each sound in depth across every phase. The aim is to give enough time and practice to support your child to transfer their new spelling learning into their everyday writing.
Both programs provide targeted learning groups to allow class teachers support the mainstream learners, with extra scaffolding for students who need it to be provided by SSOs and specialist teachers able to provide extension for those students requiring it.
To further support literacy learning, our Phonemic Awareness Program helps students identify syllables, onset rime and phonemes. Developing such skills is a precursor for reading success and gives students extra advantage in developing and consolidating this fundamental literacy skill during their formative years. Lastly, Decodable Readers dovetail with our Phonemic Awareness Program and Letters and Sounds approach of teaching our students how to decode words for meaning.
Our approach to numeracy in the Junior School has been led by research into the highest-ranking countries for numeracy knowledge in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).
Following best-practice education, we have introduced the PR1ME Maths program for our Year 1-6 students. This program has been modified to complement the content and outcomes of our Australian Mathematics Curriculum at each year level. It promotes a CPA (Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract) approach whereby students learn through the use of hands-on materials, then transfer that knowledge to pictures or images before cementing the concepts by recording in symbols. The sequenced curriculum also focuses on teaching concepts in the correct order for maximum understanding and retention. Teachers continue to use traditional pencil and paper assessments, observation and group work to assess student capabilities as well as digital assessments to inform the personalisation of the programs and teaching.
The PR1ME program is complemented by the Matific program. Matific offers an interactive teaching and learning platform for Reception to Year 4 students. This learning resource engages students in games and activities in a fun way using digital technology with teachers able to differentiate the learning experience by assigning activities to suit the abilities of individual students.
The Maths Teams program also sees students undertake weekly problem solving challenges in targeted learning groups. Of the eight Numeracy lessons each week, two of those lessons are dedicated to Maths Teams problem solving and incorporate a growth mindset approach. The challenges are open-ended and are designed to develop and promote verbal and written reasoning of Maths.
Targeted learning groups see class teachers support the mainstream learners, with students needing extra scaffolding being supported by SSOs and students needing extension being supported by specialist teachers. Our smaller student-to-teacher ratio enables teachers to carefully monitor and assist each student with recording their thinking and sharing of their understanding.
Wellbeing & support at the Junior School
An ELC to Year 12 Wellbeing Framework is further supported by our CARES program (courtesy, awareness, responsibility, empathy and service) and Program Achieve. Commencing with the Bright Beginnings wellbeing program during the first two weeks of term 1, students are set up to start school with their best foot forward and equipped with skills, knowledge and a positive attitude to be successful in all areas of School life.
The Wings program, which spearheads our Whole School Wellbeing Program, teaches age and stage appropriate social and emotional learning to enable students to better manage their relationships with themselves and others. The wellbeing concepts and strategies are taught by a specialist teacher.
We offer SSO supported individual and small, targeted group sessions for students needing extra scaffolding in their learning as well as many opportunities for high achievers to be extended. An overall focus on individualised learning for all ensures students have a tailored learning journey to build ability and confidence.
Extra curricular activities for Year 2s
An extensive range of extra curricular activities are available to our Year 2s. Sports offered by St John’s Grammar include basketball, football, kanga cricket, netball and soccer, and students also can take part in a number of programs run from our School grounds including Auskick, Dance and 22Too, a gymnastics and acrobatics program. Additionally, Year 2s are eligible to join the Junior Soarers choir.
A number of special lunch time special-interest clubs are available to all students, including a Lego club, gardening club, art club, coding club and more.
Facilities at our Junior School
Standing proud for 60 years, St John’s Grammar Junior School is located in the Adelaide Hills, adjacent Belair National Park with picturesque views of the Mount Lofty Ranges. Our well resourced Junior School Campus comprises individual classrooms catering for each year level, including a learning support/extension centre, a multi-purpose School activity hall, specialist Music and Language classrooms and our signature Centre for Creativity.
Students have access to a resource centre, which incorporates our award winning library, a dedicated art room, and a media room equipped with a green screen and an array of recording and media equipment. The centre also houses a multipurpose room that provides a myriad of additional uses and opportunities for collaborative learning, specialist presentations and workshops, co-curricular activities and ‘out of class’ learning experiences.
A purpose built all-weather sporting field and courts provide a useable surface for sporting activities and play all year round, and a variety of outdoor spaces include two well-equipped playgrounds, vegetable gardens, sand and mud pits, and a ‘Play Pod’.
Our Play Pod is an exciting initiative where students use a variety of materials to build, create, learn and have fun during recess and lunch as they play in a beautiful setting at the edge of Belair National Park, where they can enjoy regular access to the Park’s rich natural resources, amenities and sporting facilities.
The Enterprise precinct, Nature playscape and student designed and managed Scientific Garden feature prominently in the daily educational offering for our children.