Year 6 Overview
An exciting year for young people, Year 6 is jam packed with opportunities and challenges to soar into secondary school and begin the transition into adolescence and adulthood.
Challenge is the focus of Year 6 with students being encouraged to step out of their comfort zone to take up leadership positions as School Leader, House Captain or SRC roles, with a number of special ceremonies to mark and celebrate their graduation from Junior School. Our students are supported to attend a range of leadership workshops to expand their skills to grow as future leaders.
In the classroom, our single year level classes are managed by highly qualified teachers, and dedicated Home Group teachers who teach a differentiated curriculum with a mix of flip and face-to-face teaching to cater to a variety fo learning preferences.
A suite of core subjects are presented through rigorous, explicit teaching with many opportunities for Year 6 students to be challenged and achieve to their fullest potential. Civics and Citizenship is an important part of the final year of primary school and students enjoy an engaging program culminating in a study tour to Canberra.
Year 6s have a broad specialist subject program incorporating Art, Digital Technologies, Indonesian, Music, Physical Education, Science and Wellbeing. We focus on agency based learning encouraging entrepreneurship. These programs include the student-agency focused ‘MiSpace’, an elective program called ‘Triple E’, and ‘Clinics’, a series of lessons prepared and taught by students.
Wellbeing is important in Year 6, both to ensure a smooth transition into secondary school and to model sound practices for younger students. Year 6 students are buddied with Year 2 students to solidify connections throughout the School and ensure the wellbeing of our junior students transitioning into Middle Primary. The dedicated lesson for Wellbeing further explores the foundational competencies achieved to date and provides a grounding knowledge of strategies to take into secondary schooling.
The technological capabilities of our Year 6 group are nurtured with a dedicated lesson each week, exploring topics such as advanced coding challenges and hands-on initiatives such as making seismographs and mini villages. CANVAS is our Learning Platform where we share content and offer real time assessment feedback, diary organisation and parent communication portal. CANVAS also allows students to access classroom support and extension, where they can work to their abilities. Additionally, 1:1 computers, completing their Digital License training and participating in social media programs, cybersafety and ergonomics training are all part of the experience.
Creatively, students create a legacy piece in Art, Science investigates aspects of Environmental Science, geology, chemistry and sustainability, and Health focuses on change in teenage brains and the role neurotransmitters.
St John’s connection with Belair National Park continues into the classroom through natural inquiry learning. In partnership with the Belair National Park rangers, students develop a series of short videos accessible via QR code for the ‘By Kids 4 Kids’ adventure path through the Park.
Our Year 6 students graduate as independent, confident learners with a strong spirit and drive to succeed, ready to soar into secondary school.
Year 6 students are eligible to apply for our Scholarship Program. Please visit our Scholarships page for more information.
Structured, natural inquiry in Belair National Park
With our campus adjacent to Belair National Park, a structured natural inquiry program sees our Year 6s create a ‘By Kids 4 Kids’ adventure trail for the Park. Building on their sound knowledge of the Park, the Year 6s develop ‘kid friendly’ videos able to be viewed via QR codes along the path and a brochure to promote and explain their special trail. Additionally, connecting with Park Rangers to deepen their understanding of plants and animals that are linked to a specific walking trail in the Park adds to their experience.
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.
Five lessons per week are dedicated to student agency programs. The increased focus on enterprise and agency learning upskills students with learning principles of creating, innovating, problem seeking, and communicating to real audiences. We also provide the connections to industry and funding opportunities for students to develop their concepts or prototypes with experts. The programs offered in Year 6 include MiSpace, Clinics and Triple E.
MiSpace allows students to develop a project on a topic or issue that interests them. It provides a chance to test out theories and entreprise experience.
Clinics allows students to become the teachers as they plan, organise and teach a lesson in an area of their personal interest to small groups of their peers.
Triple E is offered only in Term 4 but allows students to discover new areas of learning in exciting electives such as Sports Science, innovation challenges, advanced animation and Flinders University Lab visits.
Signature experiences for Year 6
There are many signature experiences for Year 6s that round off their Junior School experience and lead them to step forward with confidence.
The agency learning programs of MiSpace, Clinics and Triple E encourage entrepreneurship and develop important skills in creativity, problem solving, communicating and provide the chance to test and refine inventions and new ideas. The connection to industry and experts, coupled with access to funding sees many students develop inventions and prototypes that make a real difference.
Civics and Citizenship is an important part of the final year of primary school and students enjoy an engaging program culminating in a study tour to Canberra.
Leadership roles encourage students to step out of their comfort zone to take up positions as School Leader, House Captain or SRC roles, and all students enjoy our Badge Day Ceremony, our formal Valedictorian Ceremony celebrating their Junior School learning journey, and a Social Dance to celebrate their graduation from Junior School.
The transition to Middle School is an important feature of Year 6 and there are several initiatives throughout the year that see our Year 6s visit our Secondary Campus to take part in lessons, special events or activities as well as for buddy programs with the Year 11s. By the end of Year 6, our students are well prepared for their move to Middle School.
LIteracy and numeracy focus in Year 6
Year 6 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 6, differentiated programs and workshops based on ability help with the explicit teaching of foundational literacy and numeracy concepts. In practice, this involves writing bursts and reading projects based around Bloom’s Taxonomy to encourage lower and higher order thinking tasks. Grammar and editing strategies, both functional and traditional, are taught weekly and our Year 6s have the opportunity to publish their own stories for our Library.
In numeracy, problem solving strategies see students investigate and challenge their thinking, for example, by creating a model, acting it out, guessing and checking the outcome. Foundational numeracy concepts continue to be taught with the use of the PR1ME Maths Program and 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.
The Year 6s 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 programs for Year 6s
An extensive range of extra curricular activities are available to our Year 6s. 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 6s are eligible to join a number of ensembles including bands and choirs, as well as 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. A wide array of leadership positions are available, ranging from school leadership positions as well as sport captaincies and leadership of groups and initiatives. Students also enjoy sports carnivals and competitive sports 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.