From the Deputy Principal (Head of Junior School)

Posted 31 March 2021 3:48pm

Our School’s Anglican values of inclusion, courage and integrity have shone through this term as our whole school community engaged in the many events and learning experiences on offer in the Junior School and ELC. We are an inclusive school that welcomes students of all abilities and we are also fortunate to have children and families from many cultural and faith backgrounds that enrich us as a learning community and assist students to be truly internationally minded.

Catering for the diverse learning needs of students is a challenge but we have a team of exceptional teachers who work hard to find each child’s zone of proximal development through assessment tasks and observations and then create learning experiences that move students forward in their knowledge, skills and understandings. When describing this zone of proximal development to students in the junior primary, teachers may talk about ‘crunchy eyebrows’ or that look you see on the face of a child who is engaged and trying. To older students we talk about how they need to feel challenged in all aspects of their learning. It’s the Goldilocks principle – you don’t want a task to be too easy, or so hard that the child gives up. A task that is pitched at the right level will challenge each child at their point of learning need and our teachers are experts at this. Mrs Jillian Shaw and her Academic Engagement Team add an additional and valuable dimension offering support and enrichment as well as working with the teachers to provide extension opportunities that are embedded in the PYP curriculum and authentic.

Our co-curricular offerings are inclusive and give students a chance to show courage. The Music Academy promotes participation in its programs across the whole school community from early childhood to adult. Junior and Senior School students play in bands, orchestras, chamber and ensembles and sing in choirs as well as take instrumental lessons. Proficiency requires practise and students are encouraged to persevere in their practise by authentic opportunities to perform for audiences, both large and small. While beginners may not find themselves in the hour long production of Mozart’s Requiem that was staged last Friday evening, viewing their peers perform provides inspiration and creates aspiration. Courage is evident as our students and staff play their instruments or sing for an audience. Of course the more you perform the less frightening it becomes but for many of our Prep students the Minisingers choir items during last Sunday’s Family and Friends’ Chapel Service was their first experience of singing on stage and nerves were evident. Well done to all the children who were risk takers and took part.

Our co-curricular sporting programs aim at maximising participation in sport and growing skills as well as providing opportunities for students to achieve excellence. The recent establishment of the Podium Program in the Senior School positions us well to identify and extend highly able athletes. Courage on the sporting field can be seen every time our students practise and compete. Our Junior School girls winning the recent AFL South Western Grand Final and the South Western Swimming Carnival Championships are just two of many examples of how Junior School students are showing resilience, perseverance and courage.

Integrity is something that we value highly at Canberra Girls Grammar School and I expect that our students will always act in a principled way and choose what is right whether they are in the classroom, on the playground, performing in a concert, on the sporting field, at home or out in the wider community. Many of our programs and practises support the development of integrity and we discuss it within the context of the IB Learner Profile attributes that sit at the heart of the PYP curriculum. Students also have an opportunity to learn about our School’s Anglican values through Chapel services and to apply these values in their interactions with their teachers and peers.

I commend our students and staff for a term that has been full of fun and learning and wish all of our families a peaceful Easter and a safe and restorative end of term break.

With warm regards

Angela Whitaker
Deputy Principal (Head of Junior School)