While the Junior School is innovative and constantly evolving, the educational philosophy of St Mary's places strong emphasis on the basic skills of literacy and numeracy. Strong literacy and numeracy skills enable girls to gain further knowledge through research and inquiry based learning. The Junior School believe that girls need to become independent learners who are able to meet all new learning experiences with confidence.
The classroom teachers are responsible for planning and implementing challenging academic programmes with the emphasis on the individual child and their specific needs. The girls are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning, always endeavouring to apply maximum effort to each learning experience.
Years 1 - 6
- Music - Choir
- Physical Education – Sport, Dance and Health
View more details about the Australian Curriculum.
How We Support Well-being
Positive Education Programme
The emotional well-being of our girls is a vital component of the culture of the school. We recognise that emotional well-being is the foundation upon which academic success is built, so we provide opportunities and learning experiences for the girls to develop skills which are essential for their well-being. St Mary’s Junior School aims to provide our girls with skills, values, knowledge and attitudes that will enable them to live as active participants who contribute positively to their communities.
Positive Education is a new initiative which is being introduced throughout St Mary’s. In the Junior School, we are continually learning and implementing new elements of positive education using experts in the field of Positive Psychology, such as Martin Seligman’s research, which we use to develop a greater awareness of positive education in the girls.
A growth mindset gives students the ability to tackle new and challenging skills, which promotes open-mindedness and forward thinking in all learning situations. Carol Dweck’s work regarding mindsets has been helpful in informing the development of our programme.
As part of Values in Action: Character Strengths, the character strengths are explored through literature, discussion and appropriate activities for each year level, and promote self-knowledge and awareness in the girls of themselves and others.
Mindfulness is about focusing on the present, which can help you feel better and reduce stress. Mindfulness can contribute directly to the development of cognitive and performance skills and executive function. It can help young people pay greater attention, be more focused, think in more innovative ways, use existing knowledge more effectively, improve working memory, and enhance planning, problem solving and reasoning skills.
Research shows that mindfulness can:
• Reduce stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms
• Increase resilience and peace of mind
• Enhance cognitive performance, e.g. concentration, memory and processing speed
• Improve study and work performance
• Improve relationships and overall wellbeing
Bounce Back Social Skills Programme
St Mary’s Junior School implements the Bounce Back Social Skills Programme from Pre-primary to Year 6, reinforcing eight core values, along with the St Mary’s Honour Code, which underpin emotional and social wellbeing.
Eight Core Values:
- Acceptance of differences
- Friendliness and inclusion
Bounce Back is a classroom resiliency programme, written by Dr Helen McGrath and Dr Toni Noble, which teaches personal and social skills within all key learning areas. The programme is a collection of practical classroom strategies to help young people cope with the complexity of their lives and learn to ‘bounce back’ when they experience sadness, difficulties, frustrations and hard times.
Bounce Back is built on a combination of research, cognitive behavior theory and the use of children’s literature to teach well-being and resiliency concepts.