Year 4 Overview
St John’s Grammar Year 4s learn to soar through an enormous range of creative, physical and academic opportunities that connect and challenge them and allow them to learn to soar.
Your child will develop a genuine love of learning in this Literacy and Numeracy rich year of schooling and will be challenged through explicit teaching of core concepts across the board on a daily basis. These fundamentals are continually revisited to ensure each student is ready for the myriad of learning opportunities that await them in their future schooling. Partnered with a growing awareness of growth mindsets, meditation and the Growing with Gratitude program, Year 4s are equipped with robust capabilities to enable them to soar.
Following the themes of connect, create and challenge, Middle Primary students participate in agency programs that further foster their creative and innovative ideas, while developing an acute awareness of the world around them to become environmentally aware citizens.
Year 4s learn to create art and performance through our Kalyra Nursing Home Music Project, and our two-night camp at Narnu Farm is a highlight for students. We are fortunate to have a connection with Belair National Park where our Year 4 students study the management of invasive species and participate in orchid observations. Additionally, being the older buddies to Reception students and cross-class interactions for activities provides engaging connections to peers.
Technology rich classrooms and the introduction of the 1:1 Laptop program in Year 4 enable children to utilise the latest technology such as animation, 3D design and modelling, and coding to further enhance their learning.
The core curriculum includes English, Mathematics, History, Geography, Technology and Health Education, and is taught by classroom teachers. A specialist subject program is taught by specialist teachers in the areas of Music (including our strong program), the Arts, Physical Education, Science, Digital Technologies, Wellbeing and Indonesian.
Middle Primary has a focus on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths), which give students a broad spectrum of experiences, and they are introduced to Surface Pro Laptops and we guide them through ergonomics training, cybersafety, coding, and typing.
Year 4 students are eligible to apply for our Scholarship Program. Please visit our Scholarships page for more information.
Structured, natural enquiry in Belair National Park
With our campus adjacent to Belair National Park, a structured natural inquiry program sees our Year 4s study the management of invasive species and participate in orchid observations. In addition, as part of their literacy learning, students develop a poem about their observations of the wattle that graces Belair National Park.
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.
Specialist teacxhing and programs in Year 4
Building upon the learning styles and strategies that were explored in earlier years, from Year 4 the focus shifts to Habits of Mind.
This encourages students to develop robust learning strategies for their least preferred way of thinking, to expand their capacity. Learning more about the brain parts and short and long term memory helps with retention of information.
Year 4s have a broad specialist subject program incorporating Art, Digital Technologies, Indonesian, Music, Physical Education, Science and Wellbeing.
The strings program for Year 4 music as well as an ongoing music project with the residents of the Kalyra Nursing Home provide significant confidence and skills building opportunities.
For three lessons each week, a Science specialist teacher takes students through the various realms of scientific knowledge, including biological, physical, chemical and earth and space sciences. A love of discovery and questioning is nurtured as students learn more about the world around them.
The increased focus on Technology and Design provides greater exposure to a range of devices, programs, software and hardware. As students begin to gain greater digital independence, explicit teaching of cyber safety is led by the Keeping Safe curriculum and features a presentation from SA Police. Access to a personal laptop and expansion of their touch-typing skills increase their proficiency and a number of programs and apps are used to support learning. Furthermore, challenges to design, construct, test and modify a variety of creations each Term further expand creativity, problem solving and technological capacity.
With a dedicated lesson for Wellbeing with a specialist teacher, Year 4s are taught how to be mindful, build resilience and gratitude and confidence to empower their journey through School.
Signature experiences for Year 4
The signature experiences for Year 4s include a special connection with Belair National Park, which sees the students study the management of invasive species and participate in orchid observations.
Developing connections with residents of the Kalyra retirement community through the music project provides a unique, multi-layered opportunity to discover the power of music to connect and bond. This program is the perfect complement to the Year 4 strings program where students receive small group tuition in viola, violin or cello, as it gives the students the chance to perform to an audience.
The camp experience on Narnu Farm is a highlight for many students as they explore the challenges and triumphs of farm life.
Literacy and numeracy focus in Year 4
Year 4 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 4, differentiated programs and workshops based on ability help with the explicit teaching of foundational literacy and numeracy concepts. In practice, this sees our Year 4s participate in weekly writing bursts and exploration of creative forms of writing, including poetry. This foray into the world of creative writing is complemented by a focus on functional grammar and editing to assist with descriptive language. Weekly spelling focuses and a greater practice of cursive handwriting to earn a pen license occur in Year 4.
A love of reading is nurtured through Everyone Read in Class and the sharing of a class novel each Term. The Premier’s Reading Challenge further promotes reading.
In numeracy, a weekly times table focus, incorporating all the main times tables up to 12, and a connection to division builds upon students’ knowledge in these areas. Further, students learn the principles of long multiplication, long division and addition and subtraction with renaming processes. 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 4s 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 Student Support Officers (SSO) 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 in our 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 in Year 4
An extensive range of extra curricular activities are available to our Year 4s. Sports offered by St John’s Grammar include basketball, football, hockey, 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 4s are eligible to join the Concert Eagles choir, play Marimba, join music ensembles 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.