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The Junior School at Genazzano caters for students from Prep through to Year 6. These foundation years are focussed on exposing the students to a broad and diverse curriculum that piques their curiosity and interest in learning and fosters a life-long love of learning. Students are supported to pose and answer their own questions, think critically and creatively and take risks in their learning, supported by teaching staff who are highly invested in the success and growth of every student.
The magnificently restored Victorian mansion, known as Grange Hill, is home for the Prep-Year 4 students and provides a positive and supportive learning environment where students engage in a broad and stimulating range of learning experiences, with a strong focus on developing excellent literacy and numeracy skills. The curriculum builds learning confidence and capitalises on student interests within and beyond the classroom.
The classrooms are bright, light-filled spaces where both academic and creative domains of learning are facilitated by teachers who know each student deeply and support her continual growth, through a diverse range of learning experiences. Classrooms are well resourced with the latest learning technologies and state-of-the art teaching aids, including interactive whiteboards, an extensive computer network and a one-to-one iPad program.
A stunning central library interfaces with communal piazzas and outdoor areas where our students have the opportunity to construct, research, experiment, create and reflect. There are spaces for quiet reading and listening, and integrated spaces for active engagement and collaboration. Our newest addition, GenMakes, is a space where students can create and explore a range of hands on learning activities including innovative technologies and the creative arts. The Grange Hill Library is a hub of activity and learning both before and during the school day.
Year 5 and 6 students make the transition to the d'houet Building, where a purpose built and flexible learning space awaits them. Like Grange Hill, this four-level building offers diverse possibilities for learning and enables the students to develop both independent and collaborative working skills. Students have access to a number of specialist spaces such as science labs, art rooms and the library, as well as shared learning spaces for quiet study.
Our modern learning spaces enable us to implement the latest innovative and evidence-based pedagogical practices. Teachers encourage flow and intrinsic motivation by creating an environment that fosters enjoyable learning experiences.
Our approach to learning and teaching in the Junior School is one that supports individual development in a caring and supportive environment. Students grow and learn at very different rates during these years, and we ensure that programs are individualised so that students experience success in these foundation years of their formal education.
Students are encouraged to become confident and independent learners, empowered to learn and take on challenges. Junior School staff encourage students to assert their independence, use initiative, make decisions and, above all, to believe in themselves.
A broad and diverse curriculum is enacted in the Junior School. A strong focus on developing literacy and numeracy skills, knowledge and understanding provides a solid foundation for students as they move through the College. An Inquiry approach engages students in thinking laterally across the curriculum areas of the Humanities and Science and supports the exploration of rich concepts and student questions. Religious Education is a central component of our curriculum and is planned with student questions as the driving force, allowing students to explore the issues that matter to them through both a cultural and religious lens. This enables engagement with the Catholic tradition in an authentic and meaningful way for the students, allowing them to experience and explore its richness and relevance to us, as people living in a diverse and pluralised world.
Students in the Junior School also experience a wide range of specialist-taught subjects including Languages, Physical Education, Art, Music and Drama. These curriculum areas enrich the student learning experience and engage them in thinking and creating in new ways. The Junior School also has the support of Literacy and Numeracy Coaches, a Learning Enhancement Teacher, a Digital Technologies Teacher and a Gifted and Talented Program. The team approach to the education and formation of our youngest students is critical to the success of the Junior School, where each student is known and her needs met in a personalised and targeted way.
Under the guidance of noted psychologist, Dr Judith Paphazy, the Junior School team have been researching and implementing pedagogical practices that actively promote Flow Theory in the classroom. Based on the work of Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi, and with its roots in Performance Psychology, Flow Theory is premised on the belief that learning best occurs when students engage in activities that are at the peak of their abilities, when they have to work to their full potential to accomplish a task.
Teachers in the Junior School strive to create learning environments that are challenging for all students, and in which students are intrinsically motivated to learn and feel good about learning. We are one of the first schools in Australia to apply Flow Theory to early childhood education.
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) at Genazzano promotes the development of creative thinking, communication and problem solving skills across all areas of our curriculum. The College recognises that literacy is no longer restricted to traditional forms of reading and writing. Our approach to literacy and numeracy is now multi-faceted to incorporate the multiple digital environments in which we live.
The Digital Technologies curriculum has transformed the way students engage with technology in the Junior School, where coding and algorithmic thinking are now introduced in Prep and built upon all the way through the Junior School years. Technology has an integral place in learning at the College and is seen as a tool to enhance and extend the learning of students, inviting them to be critical thinkers and creators rather than just consumers. Students are exposed to a variety of technologies and applications that are used to produce artefacts that capture learning across multiple curriculum areas.
Prep to Year 4 students each have an iPad for their exclusive use within the classroom. Classrooms are digitally rich learning environments, using interactive white boards, Apple TV and video streaming to engage and stimulate. Students in Years 5 and 6 use Apple MacAir notebooks in the classrooms across all curriculum areas and are also able to engage in GenTech, the co-curricular program that enables students to explore digital technologies, programming, coding and problem solving.
All students have access to the College Learning Management System (GenLMS), which is accessible on Windows, Mac and mobile platforms. Parents are also able to access GenLMS using their GenSpace account. GenLMS provides online access to all class and teaching materials.
In addition, the GenLMS facilitates the enrichment of the learning experience by providing all students with extension work and extra resources to help support what is presented in class. Students can also view their timetable and receive automatic notifications about deadlines and review feedback online across multiple devices.
All students have access to the College Learning Management System, GenConnect, which is accessible on Windows, Mac and mobile platforms. The Year 5 and 6 students use GenConnect extensively in their learning, accessing timetables and resources and viewing due work and teacher feedback on tasks. Parents are also able to access GenConnect and there are parent pages for each level of the Junior School. This is a wonderful way for parents to keep in touch with what is happening in the classrooms, as learning is shared and information posted on these pages.