Making a meaningful difference

Ruyton Girls’ School’s Year 4 program

By Ms Tanya Cockwill and Ms Cate Hallpike, Year 4 classroom teachers at Ruyton Girls’ School

When you first walk down the winding path leading to South House, you enter a unique place of learning. You are immediately struck by its thriving garden, including garden beds planted with vegetables in season, the herb garden that borders the multi-purpose verandah and the indigenous garden surrounding the pond. All of this provides a wealth of learning experiences for the Year 4 girls. It is out here that the girls roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty, as they work co-operatively to plant seedlings and nurture these to the edible stage.

The ‘ewws’ and ‘shrieks’ as someone comes upon a snail or a spider soon dissipate, as a meaningful connection and appreciation of what the garden gives us is realised. Garden produce inevitably ends up in the South House kitchen or as part of delicious pizzas cooked to perfection using our recently completed wood-fired pizza oven. The Year 4 Mathematics and Literacy programs are enriched by the many learning opportunities to make practical connections with our cooking and gardening explorations. This is all before you have even entered South House.

Once inside South House you quickly realise it is different to any other learning environment. It is a house, and the ‘home’ belonging to the Year 4 girls and their teachers. The girls are encouraged to live and learn collaboratively. Central to the Year 4 program, in this unique environment, is the concept of community. Girls are encouraged to step beyond their own world to consider the needs and perspectives of others both within South House and out in the broader community.

Working together in the spirit of giving to make a meaningful difference underpins the Year 4 learning and teaching program. This comes about through inquiry, project-based learning and collaborative, philosophical discussions utilising rich literature as a basis. The girls are encouraged to become mindful and in tune with their thoughts, feelings and actions and how these affect them as learners and in social situations. The challenge is to become less reactive and increasingly reflective and self-aware.

Teaching and learning in South House inspires creativity, critical thinking, risk-taking and decision-making, while seamlessly integrating digital learning. The Year 4 girls are challenged to attain personal learning goals and personal excellence in all areas of the curriculum.

As teachers, it is immensely rewarding to watch hearts and minds expanding and growing as the Year 4 girls begin to make real links between abstract ideas in their learning and then connect these with real people, real situations and real issues. It is gratifying to witness our girls making a meaningful difference in their world.



As an independent, forward thinking girls’ school, Ruyton is committed to preparing girls for a lifetime of learning, leadership and […]

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