Make your child’s transition from primary to secondary school as easy as possible with this guide to preparatory schooling
Enrolling your children in a preparatory school may help him or her move more comfortably from primary into secondary school. Prep schools — the primary (Kindergarten to Year 6) section of a Kindergarten to Year 12 school — are increasing in popularity as both parents and children discover the benefits of an easy transition between differing schooling environments. These schools offer a well-rounded education focused on preparing your child for secondary life and beyond.
It is the philosophy of prep schools to target the academic and holistic development of the child on all levels — socially, morally, academically and emotionally. This is very important to the early development of children. During their primary school years, children develop their intellect, personality and values, which influence the later stages of their life. Prep schools recognise this critical stage in children’s early development and through their curriculum and programs actively encourage preparation for the years ahead.
In addition to those that are part of Kindergarten to Year 12 schools, there are also a few stand-alone primary prep schools for students from pre-school to Year 6. These schools engage and prepare the child comprehensively and rigorously for ongoing education, giving them tangible foundations for future learning.
Prep schools acknowledge that, by their very nature, they are there to provide a guarantee and a demonstrated ability to add value to a child’s education. This is achieved through the consistency of teaching staff, the employment of specialist staff, extensive co-curricular programs and conscious attention to matters of values, discipline and dress.
Often, the transition from primary school to high school can come as a bit of a shock for children. Primary school typically involves studying all year with one teacher with the same classmates throughout. Classes often spend most of their time in one room with a regular daily schedule. While these circumstances are common in primary schooling, they differ in structure and environment from a typical high school situation. Prep schooling is an alternative to the standard primary situation, with a similar structure and environment pervading the entire school experience.
Historically, they are private and independent schools, so their cost may affect a parent’s decision to enrol their child.
There are various preparatory schools around Sydney and NSW that provide a well-rounded education focused on preparing your child for secondary school life and beyond. Choosing a School NSW takes a closer look at some examples.
Tara Anglican School for Girls
Tara’s Early Learning Class (TeLC), together with the Kindergarten class, ensures that the girls receive the best possible start to their early learning. The TeLC and Kindergarten provide a two-year program for early learning, reflecting the interests of the girls within the Board of Studies framework. The relationship between the two classes provides continuity for the girls as they move into their formal schooling years.
A child-centred play-based program and a desire to assist children capture the joy of discovery and becoming lifelong learners underpins the philosophy of early learning at Tara. Young learners are encouraged to develop independence and take risks as they move along their learning journey.
Tara’s “littlest” learners are assigned a buddy group from girls in Years 5–6 so that a familiar face and a helping hand in the playground are always there to assist them. The school’s TeLC co-ordinator and Kindergarten staff are senior and experienced teachers and are supported in their classwork by teachers’ aides. In addition, the young students have specialist teachers in Music, Physical Education, Visual Arts and Library. Kindergarten students also enjoy specialist classes in Science. ESL support is also provided to all Tara students who need it.
Inside Tara’s learning environment, the girls enjoy custom-built and designed air-conditioned classrooms. Outside, they are invited to explore and play in the leafy playground with fun, shaded outdoor play equipment provided. All Tara Junior School girls wear a hat while outdoors and are taught about sun safety.
The early learning years provide a rich, unique experience for Tara students as the programs and environment develop the social, physical, intellectual, creative, emotional and spiritual aspects of each girl. The skills and knowledge developed in these areas provide a strong foundation for lifelong learning.
Ravenswood School For Girls
Located on the one campus at Gordon on Sydney’s north shore, Ravenswood has been educating girls from Kindergarten to Year 12 for more than 100 years.
Established in 1901, this Uniting Church School is one of Australia’s leading independent girls’ schools, offering a broad-based curriculum with a strong academic focus and an excellent and consistent record of high achievement in all areas.
Ravenswood understands that its school is a community made up of learners with varying and individual needs and aims to support the development of the whole person. Learning at Ravenswood embraces the academic, the practical, the physical and the spiritual in a caring, Christian environment.
From Kindergarten to Year 6, the Junior School experience focuses on each girl’s passion for learning; their willingness to take on challenges; their confidence to find solutions; and the opportunity for them to explore their skills and interests.
Girls explore a range of subjects including Music, French, Visual Arts, Information Technology and Physical Education. Their learning also encompasses thinking, reading, writing, sport, creative and performing arts, and play. A purpose-built Kindergarten cottage enables the youngest students to make the transition from home or preschool to Junior School.
From Years 7 to 12, the Middle and Senior School experience focuses on encouraging girls to take intellectual risks; to think outside traditional constraints; to embrace the challenge of learning; to be an active initiator in their learning; to develop a global awareness; and to be leaders.
Girls in the senior years have a wide choice of subjects to study and, most importantly, have the choice of either the Higher School Certificate (HSC) or the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB) for their final school credential.
The aim of Ravenswood is to provide students with the foundations for the future: with the values and skills that will enable them to be confident and capable citizens of the world.
For further information on Ravenswood, and for opportunities to visit the school, visit the school website www.ravenswood.nsw.edu.au or contact the Registrar on 9498 9824.
Wahroonga Preparatory School
Wahroonga Preparatory School (WPS) was established in 1926. It offers children education from early childhood through to Year 6. The early childhood program is designed to enable children to make an easy and comfortable transition to school.
WPS provides a friendly, enlightening environment in which children learn through play and a variety of stimulating learning experiences programmed for them and suited to their respective stages of development. These enjoyable experiences teach children not only their first vital lessons in life but also how to enjoy the learning experience. The early childhood program aims to provide each child with a happy, balanced and positive start to their education. A school readiness program incorporating pre-reading, number and writing is offered to children in the year before Kindergarten enrolment. The program is carefully structured to allow for development of positive self-esteem and personal development.
When entering the school, the children take a progressive and exciting step into the world of life, cultures and knowledge. Children are encouraged to actively seek information and this is achieved by making the learning environment an exciting and stimulating place where lessons are adventurous and fun. The Kindergarten to Year 6 section features excellent teaching facilities, small classes, a high teacher-to-child ratio and a dedicated teaching staff. This enables WPS to conduct a carefully balanced, sequential educational program via key areas of learning and personal development.
In 2010 the school building will be completed to produce a learning area that will have flexible learning spaces and interesting use of colour and light, which will house not only classrooms from early learning through to Year 6 but also a library, music room and art room.
WPS encourages children to take an active part in creative and cultural activities, including Japanese language, music, dance, drama and the personal development program, including programs in sport and lifestyle. As the school is of the Uniting Church, students participate in a religious education program in class and through regular chapel services.
Trinity Grammar School
Trinity Grammar School understands the importance of a good beginning. From the significant foundation years of schooling, boys are provided with opportunities to develop in Mind, Body and Spirit. The boys’ needs are met by a differentiated, inquiry-based curriculum, delivered by motivated, creative and caring classroom teachers using exceptional facilities and resources.
At the core of this is the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP) which guides boys to become independent inquiry learners. The PYP, for students from Pre-Kindergarten to Year 6, focuses on the development of the whole child, in the classroom and also in the world outside. It offers a framework that meets the academic, social, physical, emotional and cultural needs of each child.
Delivering the Board of Studies curriculum outcomes, the PYP Programme adopts a comprehensive approach to learning with a global perspective. Based on an inquiry learning model, the PYP gives your son ownership of this learning to develop his research and critical thinking skills.
He will be able to pursue his own interests and make meaningful connections with what he is learning to his home, the community and the world. The breadth of experience will help him to become a socially conscious, internationally minded and independent learner.
The Preparatory School campus caters for boys from Pre-Kindergarten to Year 6 (4yrs - 12yrs) and is located at Strathfield.
Trinity also has a Junior School campus that caters for boy Kindergarten to Year 6 (5yrs – 12yrs) and is located at Summer Hill.
Preparatory School (Pre-Kindergarten to Year 6)
115-125 The Boulevarde, Strathfield NSW 2135
p. +61 8732 4600 f. +61 2 9742 5419
Junior School (Kindergarten to year 6)
119 Prospect Road, Summer Hill NSW 2130
p. + 61 2 9851 6144 f. +61 2 9581 6166
Cranbrook is an independent school in the eastern suburbs of Sydney that has been educating boys from Kindergarten to Year 12 for more than 90 years. The school and its teachers strive to ensure that when boys leave school they will have four essential qualities: an ability to think, to value thinking and to want to think — and to know that information is not knowledge and knowledge is not wisdom; an ability to stand on their own two feet, balanced by consideration of the needs of others; a positive and spirited approach to life; and a fire in the belly about something really worthwhile. For further enquiries, phone the Director of Admissions on 9327 6864 or visitwww.cranbrook.nsw.edu.au
Highfields School specialises in early childhood education and caters for children from Kindergarten (pre-school) to Second Class. It is a small school with big ideas, offering a warm, nurturing co-educational environment where children and teachers alike are challenged by exciting and progressive programming.
Every aspect of the curriculum is developed and refined to reflect the real needs and interests of students, and first-hand experiences are embedded in classroom activities to intrigue, engage and support constructive learning.
Small group activities offer opportunities for children to collaborate, negotiate, question and problem-solve as the means of acquiring and refining their skills base, knowledge and understanding. The inviting and well-resourced classroom environments lend themselves to the facilitation of these co-operative and constructive experiences.
A leafy and inviting outdoor environment provides boundless possibilities for exploration and creativity. The lush garden with its rocky creek bed, large sand pit and inspired planting invites children to imagine, investigate and discover, while the outdoor climbing equipment and open spaces allow for more active pursuits.
Kindergarten: The kindergarten provides a two-day pre-school program on Mondays and Tuesdays for children who turn three on or before March 31 in the year of entry. A three-day pre-school program on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays is tailored for four-year-olds.
Learning activities are carefully planned and balanced, integrating the beginnings of literacy, numeracy and technology with the liveliness of art, sport, music and play. Confidence in self and ability is nurtured through the provision of stimulating learning experiences and supported by the caring and insightful kindergarten team.
Transition to Second Class: The preparatory school consists of two classes in each of Transition, First and Second Classes. Each class has approximately 15 students and enjoys the extra support of a classroom assistant in addition to the class teachers for key learning times.
A tradition of nurturing individual academic excellence across key learning areas of English; Mathematics; Science and Technology; Human Society and Its Environment; Personal Development, Health, and Physical Education; and Creative Arts is something Highfields staff are proud of. A solid foundation in the “basics” sits comfortably alongside a desire to provide opportunities for in-depth study that stimulates inquiry and investigation.
Beyond the pursuit of academic excellence, everyday experiences are dedicated to nurturing self-confidence, social awareness and sense of belonging, which are so important for the balanced development of each child.
Trinity Grammar School understands the importance of making a good beginning. From the significant foundation years of schooling, boys are provided with opportunities to develop in Mind, Body and Spirit. The boys’ needs are met by a differentiated, inquiry based curriculum, delivered by motivated, creative and caring classroom teachers using exceptional facilities and resources.