Year 3 overview
Transitioning into Middle Primary from Junior Primary at St John’s Grammar is supported by our theme of connect, create and challenge where children learn to soar in a safe and nurturing environment.
As your child enters Middle Primary they are continuing to develop skills, self-belief and confidence to attempt new and exciting opportunities independently. We offer single year level classes with dedicated full-time Home Group teachers, and we have a buddy system with ELC and our Mid-Year Reception class to keep our community safe, well and connected.
In Middle Primary, your child will begin to understand their personal strengths and areas for growth and actively pursue opportunities to further develop and enhance these unique attributes. We immerse our students in a vast array of activities in a school day, through an engaging learning program and active involvement in Service Learning activities locally, nationally and internationally
Our signature environmental science focus sees students participate in Bandicoot Habitat Restoration and engagement with Belair National Park.
Physical Education and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Maths) are of particular focus in Middle Primary and students have an opportunity to be part of our Strings program (small group tuition in viola, violin, cello) to enhance their arts learning.
The core curriculum includes English, Mathematics, History and Geography (HASS), Technology and Health Education, and is taught by classroom teachers. A specialist subject program is taught by specialist teachers in the areas of Music, the Arts, Physical Education, Science, Digital Technologies, Wellbeing and Indonesian.
There is a transition into homework in Year 3, as well as the introduction of full school uniform and an expansion of co-curricular opportunities, as well as an Outdoor Education Program and an Adelaide Zoo and Nunyara overnight camp experience.
Students are introduced to Surface Pro Laptops as well as technological devices such as out 3D printer. With this increased digital exploration, we guide them through ergonomics training, cybersafety, coding, and typing.
Thinking skills a focus of Year 3
Great emphasis is placed on thinking skills in Year 3. Students learn about and identify the parts of the brain through creating brain models, and further develop their understanding of learning styles with the VAKPOINT method. Programming of lessons is supported by thinking strategies such as Habits of Mind, de Bono’s 6 Hat Thinking, Multiple Intelligences and Bloom’s Taxonomy.
Structured, natural inquiry with Belair National Park
With our campus adjacent to Belair National Park, a structured natural inquiry program sees our Year 3s participating in a Bandicoot habitat restoration project. Through engagement with Belair National Park rangers and the Natural Resources Management Board, our Year 3s not only learn about bandicoots and their habitats from experts in the field, but they also get hands-on restoring local habitats and building bandicoot shelters.
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 traverse and play amongst the natural environment.
Signature experiences for Year 3
The signature experiences for Year 3 see our students undertaking a string instrument program. With small group tuition in viola, violin and cello, students get their first experience of learning an instrument.
Another significant experience is the active contribution to the repopulation of the local bandicoot habitation through the Year 3s project with Belair National Park and the Natural Resources Management Board.
The Year 3 Zoo visit and overnight Nunyara Camp provide the first taste of a camp experience and a broad specialist program sees students exposed to new learning opportunities.
From Year 3, Wellbeing has one dedicated lesson per week. Following the Wings program of our School-wide wellbeing program, students learn more about hope, gratitude, optimism, perseverance, grit and resilience.
Literacy and numeracy focus in Year 3
Year 3 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 3, differentiated programs and workshops based on ability help with the explicit teaching of foundational literacy and numeracy concepts. In practice, we foster a love of writing and reading through weekly writing and reading bursts and we continue to advance knowledge of narrative writing skills with the introduction of persuasive writing. Students transition from readers to novels and commence independent reading of chapter books. Reading activities enable practising of fluency, decoding and comprehension, and involvement in the Premier’s Reading Challenge provides ample reading practice. Writing book reviews and handwriting both provide an introduction into different forms of literacy learning.
The introduction of times tables, specifically 2, 3, 4 ,5 and 10 times tables, and related division facts are core numeracy competencies for our Year 3s. 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 3s 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.
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 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
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
An extensive range of extra curricular activities are available to our Year 3s. Sports offered by St John’s Grammar include basketball, football, hockey, kanga cricket, netball, softball and soccer, and students also can take part in a number of programs run from our School grounds including Auskick, Dance, Drama and 22Too, a gymnastics and acrobatics program.
Additionally, Year 3s are eligible to join the Junior Soarers choir, play Marimba and receive private music tuition. Challenging endeavours such as the Mountain Bike club, ICAS competition, code club, writing club and chess are all offered at this year level and beyond. Plus student leadership opportunities are possible, with students encouraged to take up leadership positions as sport team captains or joining the SRC.
Opportunities for participation in sports carnivals and competitive sports are present throughout the year.
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.