Primary News

Our International Baccalaureate PYP Exhibition was held this week and the students in Year Six showcased their learning through a series of presentations. The Exhibition is a culmination of the inquiry journey students have made during their time in the primary years. It showcases the students’ understanding of enduring concepts, gives them a voice and an opportunity to take action on their learning. For the 2020 Exhibition our Year Six leaders created presentations for an audience of young children, and covered topics such as sun safety, sustainability, student protection and fire safety (just to name a few). In preparation for the 2020 Exhibition, the Year Six students have worked in small inquiry groups and met with a teacher mentor twice each week for three weeks. Throughout the inquiry process they connected with the world beyond St John’s and reflected on their learning

The students are hopeful that their messages will help the younger children in our school community to learn important lessons for life. Unfortunately, families are not able to visit the Exhibition in person this year. However, videos will be made of each presentation and families will be able to view their child’s recording in the near future.

The International Baccalaureate gives the following reasons why the Exhibition is such an important part of a student’s learning:

  • Students are given an opportunity to demonstrate independence and be responsible for their own learning
  • Students are able to investigate multiple perspectives on an issue
  • Students can apply the inquiry learning of previous years to new discoveries and reflect on their journey through primary
  • Opportunities to take meaningful action are provided
  • Opportunities to work in collaboration with other students, teachers and members of the community are provided

Giving students the responsibility of guiding their own learning and preparing for the Exhibition also provides them with an outlet for creativity. Much of the learning that takes place in a traditional classroom involves convergent thinking – this is thinking that involves finding the one best answer to a problem. Sometimes there is only one best answer to a question, for example 2+2 =4. However, there are many more questions that are open ended. Creativity requires divergent thinking – this is thinking that involves finding a variety of ideas or solutions to a problem. Our world needs people who have the skills of divergent thinking, not just to create beautiful art and music, but to solve the challenges of the future.

Many studies looking at divergent thinking in childhood have found that creativity continues to grow from infancy to around Year Four, peaking at approximately Year Five, and then it declines throughout adolescence. This decline could be due to puberty and/or the teens’ need to conform with peers. It can also be influenced by curriculum that limits divergent thinking and creative thought. At St John’s we make a point of providing our students with opportunities that stimulate divergent thinking and creative thought, including the PYP Exhibition, Innovation Challenge, inquiry learning through the PYP and MYP and through the provision of our rich Arts program.

Little Saints Kindergarten
The children in Kindergarten enjoyed a visit from Uncle Boomerang this week. He told them stories from his Indigenous heritage, played games and showed them a variety of Aboriginal tools and musical instruments. Uncle Boomerang is one of many people (mainly parents) from our community who is visiting our children throughout the term to talk about different cultures and occupations. These visits complement the unit of inquiry our Kindergarten children are exploring this term.

In the last week of Term Three we are expecting a visit from the Department of Education Early Childhood and Care to conduct an Assessment and Rating visit of our Kindergarten. This process was to take place in Term One this year but was postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. We have updated our Quality Improvement Plan and this is available for families to view and provide feedback.

Vacation Care
We have created an exciting program of activities for the coming vacation period. Please check the College website to view the program and access the booking forms. Please note that Friday 18 September is a pupil free day for Prep to Year 12 students and so our vacation care program will commence on that day. Kindergarten children will commence their holidays on Monday  21 September.

Reporting and Parent Teacher Interviews
Families are invited to meet with their children’s teachers at the end of Term Three to review their child’s learning, provide feedback and discuss learning goals for the following term. Please note that written reports for this period will not be provided, however, results for all Term Three assessment tasks will be available for families to view and discuss.

Fathers’ Day
We wish all the fathers, grandfathers, uncles and men who have been like a father to our students, the very best Father’s Day this weekend.

Kind regards,

Sandra Hawken
Head of Primary