JUNIOR SCHOOL CURRICULUM
Junior School Curriculum
Our core curriculum merges traditional academic subjects with equally important practical, spiritual and creative learning. For students requiring it, the School also provides support and extension opportunities. Regular small group sessions for all students enable higher teacher/student discussions and take the form of in-class support, individual and small group work and Learning Teams. Our highly qualified teachers are skilled at providing experiences that are engaging and relevant and are backed by a rigorous process of planning and review.
The core curriculum includes English, Mathematics, History, Geography, Science, Technology, Health Education, Music, the Arts, Physical Education, Wellbeing, and Indonesian. The syllabus is underpinned by brain-based learning theory and thinking skills so collaboration and being an active participant in the learning journey is woven throughout each day.
Literacy and Numeracy
The Junior Campus places great importance on the teaching of numeracy and literacy. Our Differentiated Learning Programs from Reception to Year 6 offers small, targeted learning groups based on learning ability to teach foundational literacy and numeracy. the Differentiated Learning Programs allow classroom teacher to support mainstream learners, with students needing extra scaffolding or extension supported by SSOs and specialist subject teachers.
For literacy learning, we have developed a unique and comprehensive genre-based literacy program called Learning Teams and rigorous, synthetic phonics program called Spelling Teams. Our approach to numeracy in the Junior School has been led by best practice schools that rank highly in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and has seen us introduce the PR1ME Maths program for Year 1-6 students which has been modified to complement the content and outcomes of the Australian Mathematics Curriculum. This is further supported by Matific, an interactive teaching and learning platform for Reception to Year 4 students. To read in more depth about our Differentiated Learning Programs, click on the relevant year level on the Learning Journey page.
A dedicated Maths Support and Extension teacher tutors smaller groups with individualised attention and guidance according to their needs.
Teachers combine a range of teaching approaches so that students experience innovative learning environments. Our Junior Primary classes build on their experiences from our ELC to incorporate inquiry and learning intentions through creative play. Sessions are designed to enhance oral language skills, develop sustained independent inquiry, problem solve, collaborate and reflect. Further evidence of this can been seen in the Junior Primary playground during recess and lunch where students have access to the “Play Pod”. This is an exciting initiative where students use a variety of materials to build, create, learn and have fun.
In the Junior School, studying Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS) is an essential part of students developing the ability to question, think critically, solve problems, communicate effectively, make decisions and adapt to change. Thinking about, and responding to issues requires an understanding of the key historical, geographical, political, economic and societal factors involved, and how these different factors inter-relate. Students get the opportunity to explore important ideas and events through a range of interactive and creative ways.
There is an increasing importance placed on the development of scientific investigation and reasoning skills for future employment possibilities in society. In the Junior School, students have a variety of opportunities to develop scientific questioning and investigation skills, undertake experiments and inquire into a range of scenarios and questions about about the biological, physical and technological world.
As well as Mathematics and Science being taught as individual disciplines, the Junior School prides itself on being at the cutting edge of STEM education, where students are asked to engage in integrated activities of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics. Junior School staff have received continuous professional development in this area and this knowledge is constantly being passed on to students through a number of engaging and innovative activities that include the use of coding, robotics and engineering knowledge.
We believe strongly in the proven benefits of integrating music into the classroom and choral and instrumental teaching are offered from Years 2 – 12. Our multi-award winning Music Program has been acknowledged at state and national level with a sequence of outstanding achievements at the Adelaide Eisteddfod and National Generations in Jazz competitions.
Students in Year 3 take part in the School’s Strings program. This program allows all Year 3 students access to specialist instruction in violin, viola or cello, which were generously provided to the School by the Parents and Friends Association. These classes are held once a week and are also complemented by a weekly choral session as part of year level choir. The program is regularly showcased through the year at a variety of events and culminates with a superb ensemble performance at the end of the year.
In Year 4, students are able to choose to continue with their stringed instrument or class choir, as well as classroom music.
Students at Year 5 level take part in the Band program. This program provides all Year 5 students with specialist instruction in flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, saxophone or percussion. The classes are held once a week and are also complemented by a weekly choral session as part of year level choir.
In Year 6 students are encouraged to continue with their chosen instrument and join the Junior School Band.
Extension for students is provided through various Choral and Orchestral Ensembles and a variety of external music tutors
Physical Education at St John’s Grammar aims to develop a positive attitude towards physical activity. All students participate in weekly sessions with the specialist Physical Education Teacher. A wide range of physical activities is used to assist in the students’ physical and social development with a major emphasis on sportsmanship and positive lifestyle attitudes. As we are situated on the edge of Belair National Park, we are able to regularly utilise the beautiful surroundings for our cross country running program and have use of the ovals and tennis courts.
Extensive summer and winter sports programs provide the opportunity for students to engage in co-curricular sporting teams. The School regularly competes in a wide variety of SAPSASA events at both district and state level.
The expansive Library, based in the Centre for Creativity, is one of just 22 Schools in South Australia to be placed on the Great Australian School Libraries Honours List in 2016. Managed by a qualified teacher librarian, the library provides the opportunity for students to extend their research skills through specialist lessons and with assistance if required. Students can also access the library at lunchtime.
St John’s offers a dedicated Art space in the Centre for Creativity and our specialist Art teacher has developed a dynamic and interactive program for all year levels.
A unique, dedicated media room is equipped with a green screen, and a range of media and recording equipment, exposing our students to additional opportunities in this subject area.
All Junior School students from R-6 study Indonesian with a specialist teacher and all classroom teachers include the Indonesian language in their teaching. We aim to promote an awareness and to broaden students’ knowledge of cultural diversity within our community at all year levels.