• Erica Thomas | Head of Newcastle Grammar School

Building Strong Learning Foundations

21st Century Primary students are being shaped in different times and have different characteristics, expectations, and communication styles – therefore engaging effectively with today’s students and their

families requires new strategies, solutions, and approaches.

Primary education has always focused on addressing the academic needs of students along with monitoring and encouraging their social and emotional wellbeing. Students today need more. They require encouragement to develop independence from a young age and to learn how to think for themselves.

We need to engage young people in inquiring into how they learn. It is vital that Primary students are explicitly taught to develop skills that act as important assets to them as learners – across the curriculum, and in life. Some of these life skills include thinking, collaborating, self-managing, researching and communication.

We need to ensure that our teaching and learning supports students’ effort to gain an understanding of the world and to function effectively in it. Students need to be explicitly taught personal values so that they can build a foundation on which international-mindedness will flourish. Our children today need to be able to engage with people in an increasingly globalised, rapidly changing world. The content and skills within teaching programmes need to incorporate both local and global issues.

While there is research to suggest that class size does not matter in early years’ education, experience tells us that it does.

That is why we ensure our students at Newcastle Grammar School are in small classes for their first years of schooling. A small class size helps create a child centred climate for learning. Quality teaching has so much to do with closely observing and carefully monitoring how a child learns. A small class size empowers learners as each child’s learning journey is more personal.

Strong learning foundations at an early age are the building blocks needed for a child to successfully negotiate the future. For more information about Newcastle Grammar School visit www.ngs.nsw.edu.au

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