The early years and primary years of learning are critical to a child’s development. A time of extraordinary brain development, this period represents a crucial window of opportunity for education and learning.
At ACG Strathallan Primary we provide a challenging holistic education underpinned by strong core values and exceptional pastoral care, giving children the very best start to their learning journey and creating robust building blocks for the future.
The importance of a strong start
ACG Strathallan Primary School Principal Kristie Thomas says that from a child’s very first day at school, they need to feel a sense of belonging and be safe and cared for.
“A child’s primary years should establish a strong academic foundation, foster a love of learning, and stimulate their curiosity in the world around them,” she explains. “Every child should feel proud of their achievements and progress, no matter their individual level.”
Nurture, support, enrich
By creating a supportive and inclusive learning environment - and prioritising the school values of compassion, pride, integrity and respect - Strathallan Primary empowers all their students to shine.
“Our learning environments are welcoming and stimulating and our dedicated staff ensure that every child is happy, safe and learning. We place strong emphasis on students displaying our school values, and this ensures that our playgrounds and classrooms are positive, supportive and inclusive. We want students to become confident learners who display kindness and compassion towards others. It’s important they recognise and value their own strengths, as well as those of others.”
Students who begin their ACG journey in the Preschool transition into Primary seamlessly. Thanks to a fantastic School Readiness programme, children in their last year of Preschool, enjoy Primary school classroom visits, Buddy Reading sessions with Year 5 students, and regular visits from the Junior Dean. The Preschool is also invited to participate in the Primary’s termly Junior Sharing Assembly.
“All these events help the children transition with confidence as they’re familiar with the staff and grounds. We also provide parents with a Starting School booklet to help them prepare their children for school socially, emotionally and academically.”
A holistic programme that sets ACG apart
Academics, sports, arts and creativity, experiential education, leadership wellbeing and pastoral care are all integral parts of the Primary programme, aligning strongly with the school’s vision ‘to bring out the best in every student by inspiring and supporting them to learn and develop their unique abilities’.
Strathallan Primary follows the Cambridge Curriculum within English, mathematics and science from Year 0 and the NZ Curriculum within other subject areas. Class timetables are structured, allocating specific teaching time for each curriculum area.
“The Cambridge Curriculum offers a comprehensive and structured programme that can be delivered in unique ways to meet the individual needs of each child. Cambridge’s progressive approach is learner-centred and encourages curiosity and enquiry. Students develop a range of skills, such as problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, teamwork, independent learning skills and communication.”
Small classes, specialist teachers
Semi-specialist teachers are introduced from Year 0, and from Year 4 students have a specialist or semi-specialist teacher for every subject.
“Our talented teachers differentiate reading, writing and mathematics lessons daily, ensuring that the unique learning needs of every child are met. If any support or extension is needed, we can cater for it within the classroom programme or with one of our teacher aides.”
Small class sizes help students focus within calm learning environments, and give teachers more time to get to know each child personally, tapping into their unique strengths and individual next learning steps.
A lasting impression
As many of us know first-hand, even as we move into adulthood, memories of our time at primary school are never far from the surface. These formative years leave a lasting impression, and play a critical role in our future success and happiness.
Says Kristie, “We want students to remember how much fun Primary was. It’s the time where students should be given a wide range of opportunities and experiences within academic areas, sports, arts and personal development. We want students to reflect fondly on all the positive experiences they had, and ensure they feel prepared for College academically, socially and emotionally.”
Advice from an expert
While ACG provides outstanding foundations, Kristie says there’s plenty that parents can do to maximise their child’s learning and enjoyment.
“Fostering a love of books is the best way to ensure strong literacy skills. Let your child see you reading, and read to or with them every day. Talk about the story and the characters, discuss interesting vocabulary, and ask them to share their favourite parts.
“Meanwhile, numeracy skills can be practised just about anywhere. Spotting numbers on car number plates or letter boxes, using measuring skills while baking together, telling the time, playing games such as Snakes and Ladders to learn how to count on, recognise numbers and dice patterns. Switch off the devices or TV and get out a family board game!”