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We can’t believe that another year has passed so quickly in the Junior School. It’s been a year of challenges, fun, hard work, curiosity, laughter and smiles. One of the many great things about the Junior School at St Peter’s College is the vast array of opportunities that are afforded to our students, both in the classroom and as a co-curricular. Mind Lab games, Robotics, Big Write, ICAS Competitions, Gardening, Choirs, Orchestras and Bands, a huge variety of sports, Lion Dancing or Pottery to name but a few! We will touchdown on just a couple of these to give you a flavour of a few.

This year saw the introduction of our strategy for making the wellbeing of our students visible. In partnership with Professor Lea Waters, Saints has embarked on making sure our wellbeing goals were as important as our learning goals. As a school, we understand the benefits of wellbeing on learning and have therefore committed to making sure our boys can identify with both types of goals. As a result, our boys have been able to develop their ability to connect what they see, hear and feel with their learning and their environment. We have ensured that these concepts are carried across the various curriculum areas.

We have entered the second year of The Big Write program which has seen some amazing progress in boys’ writing from all year levels. Teachers have been focused on writing assessment, and we have been able to track progress over the whole year. As with Visible Wellbeing, writing goals have been negotiated and met, with students now more confident in knowing how to improve their writing. To raise the focus even further, we are planning a Writer of the Week in Assembly, where we will be able to showcase some of the wonderful writing that’s happening across the Junior School.

Mind Lab continued to go from strength to strength. This year we had record numbers of boys participating in the co-curricular program. Boys from Year 3 – 6 have all had the opportunity to explore the benefits of game play on the development of their character strengths. We were, again, excited at the opportunity to send a team of our boys to the International Mind Lab Competition in Antalya, Turkey. Our boys represented themselves, the School and the country very well. We were incredibly proud of their efforts.

2018 has seen a bumper year of success in the ICAS competitions, with a record number of Distinctions and High Distinctions gained. From 2019, we are changing the model of participation, where we will see each student from Year 3 – Year 6 participate in ICAS Science, English, Maths and for the first time, Digital Technology. This will enable us to track progress and also allow the students to dive deeper into the questions and learn from mistakes they have made.

Our House program continues to evolve. This year saw the introduction of the House Mind Games – an afternoon where boys were involved with Debating, Chess or Mind Lab. This provided maximum participation for our boys in a number of mind challenging activities. Place this event with House Singing, Winter and Summer House Games, Cross Country, Minute to Win-It and Athletics Carnival and we have continued to find ways to enable all boys to be actively involved in the House program.

We have seen the installation of display screens in Palm House and Bickersteth Buildings this year, enabling us to showcase student work and photographs of the boys at work. We often see groups of students or parents huddled around a screen, having conversations about the learning.

Long-lasting relationships have been developed with a variety of girls schools in Adelaide, enabling the boys to foster respectful friendships during visits to their schools and we have welcomed them here at Saints. Treasure hunts, Robotics, Mind Lab, quizzes, STEM challenges and more have been shared with Walford, St Peter’s Girls, Seymour and Wilderness. It is an invaluable opportunity for our students to mix with girls, develop respectful relationships and build their conversation and team work skills.

Curiosity surrounding our world and how it works has been evident across all year levels with students engaged in fun and meaningful Science activities. Year 1 classes visited the Senior School Science Laboratories and engaged in Science experiments led by Karl Grice, Head of Science. It was wonderful to watch as they extracted DNA from strawberries and watched in amazement as chemicals frothed and spilled over the sides of test tubes. Year 2 arranged a  Science Bonanza during Term 3, when activities were rotated around the classes linked with their topic of changing materials. Pancakes and waffles were made and eaten, bubbles were blown and slime was made (and a few drops may have ended up on Mrs Slinger!). Great fun and a way of engaging in Science that is meaningful and motivating, whilst unleashing the curiosity that’s inside all of us.

We have loved working with the Junior School boys this year and look forward to all of the exciting new challenges that will emerge in 2019.

Mrs Ceri Slinger
Head of Junior Years: Learning and Teaching

Mr David Kolpak
Head of Junior Years: Wellbeing and Administration