Head of Prep School
Published on: 8 March 2018
- Year 6 Sundowner
- The way we approach learning
- The role of explicit teaching, active learning and real life experiences
This Sunday, all Year 6 parents are invited to the Year 6 Parents’ Association Sundowner. Apart from the social aspect to this evening, parents and guardians will also hear further details on our upcoming Canberra Tour. It is something the juniors in our Senior School always cite as being a highlight of the Christ Church experience. Last year’s Year 12 cohort was the very first to participate in the Canberra Tour in 2011, with many of the participants having enjoyed sharing their recollections with me over the years.
The Canberra Tour is a very Christ Church experience, because it fits so well with our underpinning approach to learning in the Prep School. This underpinning is the balance between explicit and intentional teaching, active learning and real life, concrete, and ‘big experiences.’ We know boys need explicit instruction and clear learning intentions to form the basis of all learning. These baseline skills are areas such as phonics, grammar, mathematical skills, scientific methods and research skills. Whether in music, physical education, drama, reading, or writing, boys need a solid foundation of basic skills from which they can build. You cannot solve a complex equation without knowing multiplication or even basic musical skills.
Our active learning involves collaborative work, experiments, designing, building, and play based activities. This is what boys respond to and also reinforce the skills learned during explicit teaching times.
Then there are our big experiences. Linking what you are learning in class to what you can experience in the wider world. From going to the shops, post office and river in Pre-Primary to the Zoo Camp, Duyfkin, Penguin Island, and Kooringal in Year 4 to the Canberra Tour in Year 6. All offerings linked to an aspect of the curriculum, but importantly, offering a fun experience the boys will remember for a long time.
Most significantly, these big experiences are also times where the boys need to look after themselves, their friends and vice versa. This care and concern for each other is visible all throughout the Christ Church experience and is why I believe we achieve such impressive results across the entire Christ Church journey.
Head of the LW Parry Preparatory School