Junior School

The Junior School of St Brigid’s College is co-educational and caters for students from Kindergarten through to Year 6. The curriculum nurtures the development of the whole person in a Christ-centred environment, firmly based on the Catholic tradition. The children are encouraged to develop independence of thought and to become responsible for their own learning.

Parents play an active and integral role in the life of all areas of the Junior School. Their involvement and support are essential in providing the best possible education for all students. Students in the Junior School have ready access to educational facilities such as Science laboratories, computer laboratories, the Performing Arts Centre, the swimming pool, tennis courts, ovals and the Gymnasium. Computers in each classroom and in the Library are connected across the campus as well as to the Internet, providing a wealth of learning resources to each student.

Three Year Old Kindergarten Programme
The Three Year Old Programme at SBC recognises the importance of quality early learning and the learning programme has been developed with an emphasis on the whole child and the interrelationship between mind, body and spirit. This holistic approach highlights the children’s physical, personal, social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing as well as cognitive aspects of learning. Learning is a social and collaborative activity and takes place when connections are made between children, families and communities as well as reciprocal relationships and partnerships. Connections are also be made to the natural world in understanding and respecting the natural environment and the interdependence between people, plants, animals and the land.

At SBC we recognise that children are learning from conception and develop in their own time and at their own pace. We understand that all children are strong, competent and unique and programmes have been developed to enhance them as creative and independent thinkers, great problem solvers and communicators who learn to grow through play. The Three Year Old Programme is an inclusive, fun filled and dynamic programme for early years providing a genuine education and care choice for families in an inviting and nurturing environment.

Aims of a Three Year Old Programme
The aims of a Three Year Old Programme are to:
· Promote school readiness.
· Encourage self help and independence.
· Develop the whole child across the physical, social and emotional, language, cognitive and spiritual domains.
· Promote a positive self image.
· Encourage parent participation.
· Provide an aesthetically pleasing environment to promote maximal learning.
· Create a safe, secure and nurturing physical and human environment.
· To acknowledge, value and celebrate each child’s individuality.
· Support parents in relation to the child’s development.
· Include a flexible programme allowing for individual needs.
· Provide a developmentally appropriate programme for three year old children.

Learning through Play
Play is a vital component in the three year old programme as an instrument for teaching and is both spontaneous and planned. Children in the early years learn most effectively through play-based experiences. Play provides opportunities for children to learn as they explore, imagine, investigate and engage in purposeful and meaningful experiences. Through play children develop a variety of skills and knowledge across all developmental domains. It is through play-based experiences that children make sense of their world, as they engage with others and their environment. Play provides a supportive environment where children can ask questions, solve problems and engage in critical thinking. It can expand children’s thinking and enhance their desire to know and learn. Early childhood educators take on many roles in play with children and use a range of strategies to support learning. They engage in sustained shared conversations with children to extend their thinking. They provide a balance between child led, child initiated and educator supported learning. They create learning environments that encourage children to explore, solve problems, create and construct.

In the planning of play educators need to be deliberate, purposeful and thoughtful in their decisions and actions, actively engaging students in worthwhile and challenging experiences and interactions that foster high-level thinking skills. Educators take into consideration the strengths; interests and needs of each child and this type of play forms much of the three year old programme. They use strategies such as modelling and demonstrating, open questioning, speculating, explaining, and engaging in shared thinking and problem solving to extend children’s thinking and learning.

Play is the vehicle for teaching and learning and is carefully planned by the educator and forms much of the three year old programme.

Types of play includes:
· Sensory play.
· Construction/deconstruction play.
· Dramatic play.
· Exploratory play.
· Manipulative play.
· Physically active play.
· Creative play.

There are four stages of play that a child will go through, these being developmentally significant to the three year old programme: Solitary, Parallel, Associative and Cooperative play. The Three year old will spend a significant proportion of their day in solitary and parallel play and will spend a smaller proportion of their day in some associative and cooperative play and on the basis of this a programme will be developed.

In the Kindergarten, there is an emphasis on social development and the chance to freely explore and experience a variety of materials, equipment and activities. The curriculum is diverse and takes into account the children’s prior experience and builds on their current knowledge. The activities are designed to be ‘hands on’ and fun.

We believe that each child is a precious and unique gift from God. The children are encouraged to explore, to discover and to grow and thus develop their special gifts and talents. We are very conscious of the need to affirm every child and to work with parents in developing self-esteem and confidence.

Pre-Primary builds on the experience of Kindergarten. The programme ensures that the children are actively engaged in exploring, investigating, thinking and communicating. The individual progress of each child is carefully monitored.

Learning centres, where children interact with one another provide a happy, supportive environment in which curiosity is fostered. Throughout the day, opportunities are provided for the children to work as part of a team and as individuals.

In Pre-Primary, spiritual growth is nurtured through the Religious Education programme. The curriculum is extended through specialist teachers who introduce the children to music, Italian and library studies. A perceptual motor programme, team sports, and a water awareness programme provide a focus on skills rather than competition. Through structured interaction with older students across the campus, the children of Pre-Primary are given a sense of belonging and learn to build positive relationships with others.
In Pre-Primary, children develop an enjoyment of learning and an awareness and understanding of the world around them. These experiences provide a firm foundation for their future education.

Years 1 – 6
Children are encouraged and supported to achieve their personal best. The teachers spend time assessing each child’s knowledge and skills in the different learning areas and cater for them wherever they are along the developmental continuum. The focus is on the development of the whole person and the curriculum ensures a balance of the spiritual, physical, intellectual, emotional and social aspects in the lives of the students.

The focus is on the core learning skills encompassing:
•           literacy and numeracy;
•           reasoning, information gathering and processing;
•           effective communication;
•           interacting, participating, empathising and valuing;
•           critical and reflective thinking; and
•           creative and imaginative thinking.

Music, vocal and instrumental, Physical Education, Italian, Information Technology, Library and Information Research Skills programmes are provided by specialists in fully equipped facilities. Children also have the opportunity to take part in a range of extra-curricular activities.