By Jade Glen
St Paul’s Anglican Grammar’s Warragul campus is experiencing record enrolments in its junior school – and it’s not hard to see why.
The school has something to offer every student, whatever their interests, abilities or skill level.
Head of Junior School Rowan van Raay said the school strived to build relationships and family involvement right from the beginning.
“We aim for everyone that walks in to feel welcome,” he said.
“We are really pro-active with our pastoral care and collectively work to support students. We all work together and interact with and care for every student.”
Each term students fill out a short questionnaire, which helps the staff identify how safe and supported students are feeling and ensures they are aware of all the social nuances of the classroom.
The Horizons Centre provides enrichment and support for students; anyone with differing needs in maths and literacy will be put on an Individual Learning Program and will receive help in achieving their goals in small groups of 10-12.
The centre also offers enrichment to students who are skilled in certain subjects and able to be challenged in addition to the regular curriculum.
Students are also supported in accessing external competitions, such as the Mathematical Olympiad, Tournament of Minds, public speaking and writing competitions.
In Grade 6, every student is a captain – from school SRC, to drama, library, sport and house captains, class captains, tech and assembly captains and a chaplaincy captain.
“If we want them to develop leadership skills, everyone needs that opportunity,” Mr van Raay said.
Students are also encouraged to form a club about a particular interest, encompassing anything and everything from Minecraft to mechanics to Irish dance, girl’s football, orienteering, and a boy’s dance crew. Staff help students facilitate their club and supervise it during recess or lunch.
“It’s really about tapping in to their interests,” Mr van Raay said. “There are so many things on offer.”
The Junior School has a strong focus on performing arts, with a specialist teacher for drama, music, dance and art, as well as STEM, with robotics introduced right from the beginning and the school recently hosting the 2017 RoboCup Junior regional finals.
In term four, while the school welcomes its youngest students starting their transition in to Prep, the Junior School also hosts an afternoon tea for the Year 12 students about to graduate and leave St Paul’s.
Year 12 students who came through the Junior School are invited back to reminisce, look through old photos and chat to their former teachers.
“The Year 12s always say it goes so quick,” Mr van Raay said.
“We are welcoming students and on the opposite saying goodbye; that’s the uniqueness of K-12.”