After being a part of St Peter’s for nine years I am just so excited to be taking on this new role. From the moment my eldest daughter started in Grade 0 I knew this was where I needed to be, and I am passionate about St Peter’s and all we stand for. Our Values drive everything we do, and this is evident in the girls in all aspects of their days at school. We teach the values implicitly throughout the year and the girls are able to explain their behaviours, actions and interactions based on the values.
In the Junior Prep we strive for our girls to learn optimally. We follow the Responsive Classroom approach which is based on the premise that children learn best when their social-emotional skills are a focus as well as their academic skills. Everything we do is designed around creating an environment that is safe, predictable, respectful and a lot of fun! Of vital importance for all our teachers is that they know each individual child and are in touch with them on an emotional level. For us this is as important as the content we teach. Each day starts with a Morning Meeting where the class get to connect, share their feeling or news, and get ready for the day ahead. There is a visual timetable on display, so the girls know exactly what the day has in store for them. All these practices, and many more of the Responsive Classroom techniques we use, help ensure the girls are organised and ‘emotionally ready’ to learn.
It is so important for us that each girl is celebrated for her own unique character strengths, skills and personality. Every child learns differently and in the JP we make every effort to ensure that each girls individual, academic and emotional needs are met. We encourage the girls to set goals and then help them build up their ‘toolkit’ of skills and abilities to reach and surpass these goals. We view mistakes or failures (or happy accidents as we call them) as valuable lessons and believe in the Power of Yet! There is nothing more exciting than seeing a child find something challenging and then have them turn to you with a smile and tell you they can’t do it…YET!
Our JP staff members are a very close and formidable team, whose primary focus is to ensure that everything we do and every decision we make is in the best interest of the child. Our team works incredibly closely and are wonderful role models to the girls of what true respect, collaboration and compassion are all about. I am proud of how we manage to achieve a wonderful balance between being a nurturing environment, an environment where resilience is celebrated and one where critical thinking, questioning and problem solving are actively encouraged. We teach through Units of Inquiry where the girls take charge of their learning, exploring topics based on what they want to know and questions they have. This ensures they think deeply about a topic, explore it intentionally and enjoy ‘steering their own ship’ on the learning journey.
In our JP you will always hear the happy sound of laughter and little voices, you will see busy and productive children and feel the energy and enthusiasm that radiates out of every learning space. I know if I got to be six years old again, I would definitely want to be a part of this special, happy, exciting and vibrant school!