Step into a classroom at ACG Strathallan Primary, and the first thing you’ll notice are the calm, engaged and happy students.
With small classes, structured lessons, and plenty of individualised attention, children are given all the tools they need to thrive. In addition, the school’s single classrooms provide the optimal learning environment.
“Smaller class sizes and single classrooms contribute greatly to student success,” says ACG Strathallan Primary Principal Kristie Thomas.
“Our students enjoy a calm, supportive, and inclusive learning environment, where relational trust is developed. These factors enable our teachers to deliver differentiated programmes for each student within the core learning areas.”
While some schools favour open-plan spaces that accommodate large numbers of students (known as Innovative Learning Environments), Kristie believes that a single classroom approach offers considerable advantages.
“Open-plan environments can be overwhelming. Most students will be more likely to succeed in a more structured learning environment, with regular routines, clear expectations and having their learning guided by the teacher.”
With an average class size of just 17 students in Years 1 to 3, and 20 in Years 4 to 6, ACG Strathallan pupils reap the benefits of more personalised attention. Teachers know the abilities and achievement levels of each child and structure their learning appropriately.
According to the Year 1 students, their teacher’s job is “to keep me safe, keep me happy and keep me learning”. But there’s more to it than that.
Says Kristie, “Our teachers guide each child towards their own success in a supportive, safe and happy environment. They know exactly where each student is at and what they need in order to be successful. Any gaps in learning are quickly identified, and students enjoy more one-on-one teacher time. Smaller class numbers help ensure each child has the best start possible to their learning journey.”
As students progress, literacy and numeracy skills are developed.
“Developing a strong foundation within numeracy and literacy is crucial to a student’s academic success within other subjects. Introducing the Cambridge Curriculum from Year 1 provides students with a comprehensive programme that includes a strong learning focus within reading, writing and mathematics.”
The school’s holistic learning programme is grouped under the five pillars of (1) academics, (2) wellbeing, (3) sports, activities and the arts, (4) leadership and service, and (5) experiential education. This vision is underpinned by the school values of compassion, pride, respect, and integrity. Alongside the development of in-depth subject knowledge and understanding, lessons include teaching key competencies such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity.
Learning expectations are set daily, and although some topics are integrated into many curriculum areas, these structured educational programmes work towards establishing a strong learning culture at the school.
“Our children want to learn, are on-task, and have a strong work ethic - and when they are rewarded, or their work is acknowledged, they feel successful.”
And ultimately, that’s what every parent wants for their child.