Prep School

Curriculum

The Prep School provides an enriched learning environment that focuses on supporting the students in Years 3 to 6 on a challenging journey of discovery and learning.

An innovative curriculum places a strong emphasis on the explicit teaching of literacy and numeracy, as the children are encouraged to become creative and independent in their thinking and reflective in their learning.

The Prep School’s learning environment facilitates the development of Pulteney’s focus on the Critical, Creative and Ethical intelligences.

Critical Intelligence
involves the skills of language, mathematical and verbal reasoning, logic, memory and processing of information. These abilities are developed through a structured and focused academic curriculum, which supports and challenges all students.

Creative Intelligence 
involves the abilities to think and act with fluency, innovation, flexibility and originality. These qualities are developed through a total curriculum that recognises each student’s special strengths and abilities.

Ethical Intelligence 
involves the ability to think and act with moral insight. These qualities are developed through a total curriculum, which values a spiritual perspective on life within an Anglican context.

Subjects such as the Humanities (History, Geography, Science, Information Communication Technology and Health) are taught through an integrated studies approach. An integrated curriculum is one that transcends the boundaries imposed by traditional subject groupings. It allows students to move across disciplines as they learn about their world.

Providing an ICT rich learning environment with a focus on ‘learning anywhere, anytime’, students are supported in their studies by trolleys of lap top computers. The laptops are utilised on a daily basis in each classroom for individual, group or whole class purposes.

The Prep School recognises the need to cater for individual differences. As teachers develop their units of work they incorporate strategies and activities to cater to individual student needs accordingly. Learning experiences for all students are designed to be meaningful, relevant and challenging. The curriculum caters for a variety of learning styles thus enabling students to reach their potential.

Learning in the Prep is organised and dynamic with all students engaged in a myriad of activities in and beyond the classroom.

Specialist lessons include:

  • Indonesian -  Years 3 and 4
  • Japanese & German – Years 5 and 6
  • Art
  • Music
  • Science
  • Health & Physical Education  

A wide variety of after school co-curricular activities are also offered throughout the year as we strive to encourage students’ learning beyond the classroom.

Assessment

Assessment plays an essential role in our curriculum development. Teachers conduct regular assessment tasks to ensure that both the content and delivery of the curriculum is appropriate for individual students. Students are assessed prior to, during and at the end of units of work.

Assessment & Reporting

Teachers make ongoing assessments and document student’s progress throughout the year. Assessment may take place in the form of observations, anecdotal notes, checklists, and assessment tasks. Teachers use a range of assessment tasks in order to cater for the needs and learning styles of the individual students.

There are three types of assessment –

1. Pre-assessment - Teachers determine what students already know prior to the start of a unit. This helps the teacher to plan the unit of work based on the needs of the students and to differentiate the curriculum as necessary.

2. Formative assessment - Teachers monitor the learning that is taking place throughout the unit and adjust the curriculum accordingly.

3. Summative assessment - Students participate in tasks to demonstrate their learning at the end of the unit of work. This may be done through tests, projects, models, drama presentations, slideshows, etc.

Parent-teacher interviews are conducted at the end of Term 1 and 3. At these interviews parents can discuss the progress of their child with the teacher and look at samples of work. Formal written reports are distributed at the end of Terms 2 and 4.

Australian Curriculum

Throughout 2013 - 2014 the new Australian Curriculum will be imbedded into our already comprehensive program with a focus on English, Mathematics, History, Geography and Science.

Australian Curriculum

The Australian Curriculum’s clear framework outlines what all young Australians should learn as they progress through schooling. The curriculum provides the content and a set of year level achievement standards outlining the expected knowledge, understanding and skills for each learning area.

Together with the curriculum content in each learning area are the general capabilities and the cross-curriculum priorities. These encompass the knowledge, skills, behaviours and dispositions that assist students to live and work successfully in the twenty-first century.

 The Australian Curriculum includes seven general capabilities:

  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Information and communication technology (ICT) capability
  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Personal and social capability
  • Ethical understanding
  • Intercultural understanding.

The Cross curriculum priorities are:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures,
  • Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia  
  • Sustainability.

The curriculum is being released in phases. English, Mathematics, Science, History and Geography are currently being implemented within the Prep School. The other subject areas are in the developmental stages and therefore existing frameworks will be used to plan and teach the remaining subject areas until all curriculum areas have been finalised.

English

In English lessons in the Prep School students learn to use language effectively. They develop the skills to form and convey ideas, to inform, to discuss, to persuade, to entertain and to argue. Students develop an understanding of the way purpose, audience and situation influence the structures and function of language. They realise that different texts are appropriate for different occasions and learn to appreciate the variety of English usage in different times and places. Students learn the grammatical structures of English, learn to spell accurately and use punctuation effectively. Students engage in a wide range of activities specifically designed for the needs of the individuals in order to build their skills in reading, writing, speaking, listening and viewing.

DEAR Drop Everything and Read - A programme to support students’ reading.

 A 20 minute reading period is a feature of our day and English curriculum.

DEAR encourages interaction and responses to reading while promoting sound selection procedures in a variety of genres at appropriate levels. It provides students with the opportunity to develop their reading and concentration skills by giving them regular time to read in uninterrupted, sustained silence. It also allows the students to become involved in the book they are reading and to maintain their interest.

 Embracing the Australian Curriculum, we teach English with a focus on: 

  • Language: knowing about the English language
  • Literature: understanding, appreciating, responding to, analysing and creating literature
  • Literacy: expanding the repertoire of English usage.

 This ensure that students:

  • Learn to listen to, read, view, speak, write, create and reflect on increasingly complex and sophisticated spoken, written and multimodal texts across a growing range of contexts with accuracy, fluency and purpose.
  • Appreciate, enjoy and use the English language in all its variations and develop a sense of its richness and power to evoke feelings, convey information, form ideas, facilitate interaction with others, entertain, persuade and argue.
  • Understand how Standard Australian English works in its spoken and written forms and in combination with non-linguistic forms of communication to create meaning.
  • Develop interest and skills in inquiring into the aesthetic aspects of texts, and develop an informed appreciation of literature.

Mathematics

The Prep School‘s Mathematics program provides a variety of activities and experiences that are stimulating, positive and enjoyable for our students. 

Mathematics in the Prep School emphasises the importance of teaching specific problem solving strategies so that children can demonstrate not only their knowledge of the content but also their depth of understanding and ability to apply their knowledge. Students are encouraged to understand and describe their world by solving problems, making predictions and developing their abstract reasoning skills.

Embracing the Australian Curriculum, Mathematics is organised around the interaction of three content strands and four proficiency strands.

The content strands are:

  • Number and Algebra
  • Measurement and Geometry
  • Statistics and Probability.

They describe what is to be taught and learnt. The content is then explored and developed through the proficiency strands.

The proficiency strands are:

  • Understanding
  • Fluency
  • Problem Solving
  • Reasoning.

They describe how content is explored or developed, that is, the thinking and doing of mathematics.

The Mathematics curriculum aims to ensure that students:

  • Are confident, creative users and communicators of mathematics, able to investigate, represent and interpret situations in their personal and work lives and as active citizens.
  • Develop an increasingly sophisticated understanding of mathematical concepts and fluency with processes, and are able to pose and solve problems and reason in Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry, and Statistics and Probability.
  • Recognise connections between the areas of mathematics and other disciplines and appreciate mathematics as an accessible and enjoyable discipline to study.

Science

Children have a natural curiosity about their world.  In the early years of learning at Pulteney Grammar this curiosity is fostered through investigations, which encourage them to test their explanations about how the world works. 

In Years 3 – 6 at Pulteney Grammar students begin more structured investigations in Science lessons, developing an understanding that testing ideas involves predicting, observing, measuring, recording and analysing.  The notion of a ‘fair test’ and the idea of variables are developed and they learn that with new evidence, theories may be refined or changed.

Students are introduced to the idea that aspects of the complex natural world may be considered as systems and how components within systems relate to each other.  An understanding of the meaning of ‘sustainable futures’ is developed and students are encouraged to use their scientific knowledge to act responsibly.

 The Australian Curriculum: Science has three interrelated strands:

  • Science Understanding
  • Science as a Human Endeavour
  • Science Inquiry Skills.

Together, the three strands of the Science curriculum provide students with the understanding, knowledge and skills through which they can develop a scientific view of the world. Students are challenged to explore science, its concepts, nature and uses through clearly described inquiry processes.

The Science Understanding strand comprises four sub-strands. Students in the Prep School carry out investigations in following four areas of science under the guidance of our Prep School Science Co-ordinator.

  • Biological Sciences
  • Chemical Sciences
  • Earth and Space Sciences
  • Physical Science

History

Students at Pulteney Grammar study history to gain an understanding of how the world and its people have changed over time.  An awareness of history promotes an understanding of societies, events and developments that have shaped our world.  Students learn that history is based on the interpretations of evidence which promotes debate, develops the ability to ask critical questions and analyse sources of information.  The study of history promotes students’ willingness to become informed and active citizens. Inquiry based learning is a focus at Pulteney Grammar Prep School to ensure children are transforming their knowledge and applying the skill and strategies they have learnt into new learning experiences.

In Years 3 – 6 at Pulteney Grammar students acquire a better understanding of the wider community and the history of Australia as a developing nation.  They become aware of the diversity of Australian society and the similarities and differences between Australian people of different heritage.  They develop an understanding of their relationship to others past and present and through the study of democracy and government, begin to understand democratic processes and rights, as well as justice and fair play.

The Year 3 - 6 History curriculum is organised into two interrelated strands:

  • Knowledge and Understanding
  • Skills.

 The Year 3- 6 History curriculum aims to ensure that students develop: 

  • Interest in, and enjoyment of, historical study for lifelong learning and work, including their capacity and willingness to be informed and active citizens
  • Knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the past and the forces that shape societies, including Australian society
  • Understanding and use of historical concepts, such as evidence, continuity and change, cause and effect, perspectives, empathy, significance and contestability
  • Capacity to undertake historical inquiry, including skills in the analysis and use of sources, and in explanation and communication.

Geography

Geography is a structured way of exploring, analyzing and understanding the characteristics of the places that make up our world, using the concepts of place, space, environment, sustainability, scale and change. It addresses scales from the personal to the global and time periods from a few years to a thousand years.

Geography in the Prep School integrates knowledge from the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities to build a holistic understanding of the world. Students learn to question why the world is the way it is, as they reflect on their relationships with and responsibilities for that world, and propose actions designed to shape a socially just and sustainable future.

 The Year 3 - 6 Geography curriculum is organised into two interrelated strands:

  • Knowledge and Understanding
  • Skills.

The Year 3 – 6 Geography curriculum aims to ensure that students develop:

  • A sense of wonder, curiosity and respect about places, people, cultures and environments throughout the world
  • A deep geographical knowledge of their own locality, Australia, the Asia region and the world
  • The ability to think geographically, using geographical concepts
  • The capacity to be competent, critical and creative users of geographical inquiry methods and skills as informed, responsible and active citizens who can contribute to the development of an environmentally and economically sustainable, and socially just world.

Design and Technology

The Design and Technology Learning Area is structured around three main strands of learning:


  • Critiquing
  • Designing
  • Making


These strands are designed to capture ways of ‘knowing, understanding and doing’ in design and technology. They are interrelated and of equal importance, 
informing one another and providing different starting points for learning. Together, they constitute the essence of a quality design and technology education.

Through active engagement in practical design and technology experiences, learners develop creative and powerful ways of designing and making to meet identified needs. They also learn to examine critically existing and planned technologies through investigating and questioning the four phases of a technology lifespan: intention, design, making and use/misuse/abuse.

Information Communication Technology

The Prep School is a vibrant and active learning centre and this is further enhanced by the Information Communication Technology Programme of 'learning anywhere, anytime'.

Our belief that an innovative curriculum requires the integration of information technology across all areas of the curriculum has meant that every classroom has access to a class set of laptops. We believe that an information rich classroom is essential for an effective learning environment.

Students are effectively taught the appropriate skills to use the Prep School software, the Internet and our Learning Platform. In the Prep School we value safety on the Internet and the students complete an extensive awareness programme highlighting good ‘netiquette', equipping them with appropriate skills to navigate cyberspace in a knowledgeable and safe way.

The school has installed Interactive Whiteboards in each classroom, enabling teachers to provide an even more stimulating, learning environment. This teaching tool naturally leads to more meaningful classroom discussions, with students actively involved in their learning.

Our Prep School students are exposed to a variety of experiences to enhance their digital literacy skills. The children in Years 3 and 4 are introduced to activities that assist with Data manipulation skills as they continue to become familiar with ICT terminology and work with subject specific software to reinforce concepts taught in the early years. The students are introduced to the skills necessary for designing their own multimedia presentations. They also learn to use the Internet as a research and communication tool, including the use of web 2.0 technology. 

Our senior primary students are challenged by further programming and editing activities using a variety of software and are introduced to online collaboration and share information with fellow students using blogs, wikis and discussion boards.

Library

During Library sessions, students become familiar with the organisation of the library and the various sources of information that they are able to access such as the non-fiction section, reference books and the Internet.

Students also have the opportunity to listen to and read texts from the fiction and picture storybook section and engage in discussions about authors, text construction and themes. Students are encouraged to borrow books on a regular basis.

Library lessons focus on the direct teaching of the ‘Inquiry Method’ of research. Students are powerful learners who must be actively engaged in the learning process. Through the inquiry learning approach offered in the Prep School, we challenge students to be active inquirers rather than passive absorbers of facts and knowledge. Through actively taking part in their learning students are involved in the construction of knowledge. Inquiry learning and active involvement can lead to important outcomes in the classroom.

Students who make observations, collect, analyse and sythesise information and draw conclusions are developing useful problem solving skills. Inquiry learning is concerned with school success but it is equally concerned with preparation for life-long learning.

Inquiry learning leads students to a greater understanding of the world in which they live, learn, communicate and work.

The Learning Support Programme

The Learning Support Programme at Pulteney provides support and teaching opportunities for nominated students as they strive to achieve their learning potential.

Standardised tests in reading comprehension, spelling and mathematics are administered in the Prep School each year. Test results are analysed by both class teachers and the Learning Support staff so that students at both ends of the educational spectrum are identified for special curriculum extension or the Learning Assistance Programme.

Test results together with information gained from teachers’ observations, informal tests, anecdotal records, recommendations from professionals outside the school and parental input are used to ensure individual learning needs are recognized and supported.

Class teachers work in partnership with the staff from the Learning Support Centre to design and implement curriculum that meets the needs of all students.

The Learning Assistance Program – LAP

The Learning Assistance Programme provides individual support to students in the areas of reading, spelling, writing and mathematics. Students are withdrawn from the classroom to work with volunteers who are trained to follow structured learning programs written by staff from the Learning Support Centre in consultation with classroom teachers. Volunteers are supported by staff who also monitor student/volunteer interactions to ensure the success of the programme. 

English as a Second Language – ESL

Students who are identified as needing support with English as a Second Language are placed on a programme that may include

•    working one to one with the ESL teacher

•    being placed on a Learning Assistance Program

•    a modified classroom programme.

The Extension Programme

The Learning Support Gifted Focus Teacher oversees this programme, which is run in collaboration with classroom teachers either within the classroom setting or in small withdrawal groups.

Once academically advanced students are identified, classroom teachers meet with the Gifted Focus Teacher to discuss and organise the programme and resources appropriate to the needs of their academically advanced students.

Activities that provide Extension and Enrichment are for all students and at Pulteney are provided for with the support of the Gifted Focus Teacher within the classroom environment. This support comes in the form of the Gifted Focus Teacher working collaboratively in the classroom with the teacher, or sometimes leading the class, or working with a small group, as well as providing resources and mentorship as required. We recognize and support sub-populations of students with high potential who are not working to the level of their potential.

Higher Order Thinking and Questioning Skills (critical, creative and ethical) are embedded in a school wide programme. Differentiation for advanced students is provided through encouraging the use of higher order thinking strategies and open-ended questions which allow for deep exploration of a topic.

Pulteney Grammar is also working towards establishing Costa’s Habits of Minds throughout the school. Habits of Mind are the 16 behaviours which assist in solving problems where the answer is unknown.

Health and Physical Education

Health and physical education at Pulteney Grammar is structured around three main strands of learning:

  • Physical activity and participation
  • Personal and social development
  • Health of individuals and communities



These strands encapsulate ways of knowing, understanding, valuing and behaving. Whilst being separate bodies of knowledge, they are interrelated and of equal importance. They complement one another and provide different starting points for health and physical education. Together, these strands constitute the essence of quality health and physical education.

The Physical Education programme in the Prep School aims to:


  • Provide an opportunity for students of all standards to develop skills and a healthy attitude towards Physical Education.

  • Increase body awareness and movement through a Gross Motor Programme, gymnastics and skill development of a variety of sporting activities.

  • Provide an opportunity for students to learn the rules, team concepts and strategies of a variety of sports.

  • Provide experiences for students through activities that develop team work, co-operation and comradeship.

  • Increase fitness levels among students and their awareness of this component.

Students participate in 2 x 45 minute lessons per week, plus a team sport practice (1 hour) for students competing in organised interschool competitions.
The following sports and topics are covered from Years 3 to 6:


  • Cricket
  • Kanga Cricket
  • T-ball/Softball
  • Tennis
  • Soccer
  • Basketball
  • Golf
  • Volleyball
  • Athletics
  • Hockey
  • Football
  • Rugby
  • Dance
  • Netball
  • Gymnastics
  • Soft Crosse.

Fitness is an important component of the programme and is highlighted by the school Sports Day, general fitness testing in the PE program and Cross Country Competitions.  Students participate in the ACHPER Fitness Testing Programme twice per year and results accompany their two written reports.

Inter school Sports

Provide the opportunity for students in Years 3 to 6 to compete in a variety of sports in organised interschool competitions.

 Years 3 & 4

 Basketball

 

 Football

 

 Cricket

 

 Netball

 

 Hockey

 

 Soccer (Year 4)

 

 Swimming

 

 Tennis

 

 

 Years 5 & 6

 Cricket

 

 Softball

 

 Tennis

 

 Basketball

 

 Hockey

 

 Football

 

 Soccer

 

 Swimming

 

 Netball

 

Students may try out for SAPSASA and Independent Schools teams and be involved in elite training and Competitions.

The Arts 

Arts Learning at Pulteney Grammar is structured around three main strands of learning:

  • Arts in contexts

  • Arts practice

  • Arts analysis and response

 

The Arts curriculum in the Prep School incorporates the belief that children are naturally curious and enjoy experiences that actively involves them in practical activities.  

The ultimate goal is to develop and strengthen enjoyment and understanding of dance, drama, media, music and visual arts through enjoyable, high-interest activities that are practical and hands-on.   Students are encouraged to actively participate in a variety of experiences within the classroom as well as extra curricular experiences.

Activities are developed to challenge thinking, motivate and to enhance success.  Learning experiences are carefully planned so that student awareness and understanding of skills and concepts are continuously developed through the stages of investigation, creation and performance.

Key learning experiences in the arts for students in the Prep School include:

  • Experiences that involve individuals in ensemble, solo, small group and whole year level work, which promotes co-operation and the value of shared experiences.
  • A variety of extra-curricular activities to strengthen skills and knowledge introduced and developed during class instruction - percussion ensemble, recorder ensemble, string ensemble, band, choir, and drama.
  • Development and strengthening of musical concepts and skills through the use of tuned and un-tuned percussion instruments and recorder in music lessons, including string and wind/brass programmes.
  • Developing an understanding of visual art works in the world around them and of the different styles and forms used by artists to express ideas and concepts.
  • Developing a sense of time and place based on knowledge gained of the histories and traditions associated with the arts practice of artists/performers from a diversity of cultures from across the world.
  • Exploring and creating different styles and forms of artworks.
  • Exploring the use of media both traditional and contemporary.
  • Examining content, format and visual presentation techniques used in a variety media.
  • Investigating a wide range of media technologies.
  • Experiences that encourage students to become active participants as real artists through performance and presentations to peers, parents and the Pulteney community.  
  • The opportunity to express oneself through their own compositions, inventions and improvisations.
  • Group work that encourages positive social interactions, developing skills in co-operation, leadership, tolerance and respect.

Languages

Indonesian (ELC to Year 4)

German and Japanese (Year 5 and 6)

Through the study of languages, children gain knowledge and skills that enable them to communicate and to make comparisons across languages and cultures.  They extend their understanding of themselves and their own language, widen their network of interactions, and strengthen their literacy and numeracy skills.

The goals of the Language Programme at Pulteney are:

  • Communication:  That students develop the capacity to communicate effectively using the skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing in Indonesian, German and Japanese.
  • Understanding language as a system:  That students reflect on the uses of language and develop an awareness of the structures and conventions of the foreign language so that they may compare them to English.
  • Understanding culture:  That students develop an understanding of the interrelationship between language and culture, extend their capacity to move across cultures and appreciate cultural diversity.
  • General knowledge:  That students extend their knowledge of a range of ideas related to their interests, issues in their world and concepts drawn from other Learning Areas.

Values and Ethics at Pulteney

Values are “The ideals that give significance to our lives, that are reflected through the priorities we choose and that we act on consistently and repeatedly” (Hill, 2004)

The teaching of values and ethics at Pulteney Grammar is fundamental to our whole school teaching programme.

The teaching of values and ethics in the Prep School is integrated across all curriculum areas and it is supported by a variety of programmes. Through values education children acquire confidence and self-esteem and are equipped with “the capacity to exercise judgement and a grasp of the principles of morality and justice.”( The Australian Education Council, National Goals for the School Curriculum.)

The Prep School’s Values and Ethics programme is presented in a safe and supportive learning environment in which students are encouraged to explore their own, their school’s and their community’s values.

Structure and Organisation

The Values and Ethics Programme in the Prep School includes:

Chapel and the Biblical Tradition. This element educates students in an appreciation of the Bible and knowledge of the Anglican tradition. Regular worship in the Chapel of St Augustine is provided and each student is encouraged to develop a serious moral and spiritual perspective on life.

The ‘Value of the Term’ Programme. The Prep school follows the nine ‘Values for Australian Schooling’ education programme, which is supplemented by a focus on a value/theme of the term, across all learning areas in Years 3 – Year 6.   Classes explore explicit values and the ethical questions pertinent to those values.

Ethics Education lessons are lessons which focus on ethical questions that may be related (although not always) to the Value of the Term. Ethics focuses on the exploration of ethical dilemmas and incorporates some age appropriate exploration of the discipline of Philosophy.  Questions are explored in whole class or group discussions, often drawing on the content of children’s literature. 

Students explore the concepts of right and wrong, rights and responsibilities, justice and injustice, and tolerance and intolerance.  Students are encouraged to think for themselves and arrive at their own view, to accept responsibility for that view and to respect the views of others.  Through these discussions students articulate their values and understand the values of the school. 

The Values and Ethics Programme in the Prep School explicitly incorporates the nine values for Australian schooling within the values framework for the school.  The programme is taught by using a variety of different models, modes and strategies that meet the individual needs of students. The Values and Ethics at Pulteney Programme complements the Pastoral Care Programme.