Written by Bianca Woolley, based on conversations with Belinda Willows, Jane Leppan and Judy Keeley.
At Highbury Preparatory School, we know boys and we celebrate all that it means to be a boy. Here are five ways that Grade R at Highbury is able to bring out the best in boys:
1. We have experienced teachers with a passion to teach boys. Our three Grade R teachers have over 60 years of teaching experience between them. They know how to establish positive, trusting relationships with the boys in their class, because relationships are critical to a boy’s learning. They know how to be both forthright and caring and they have learnt to love the exuberant energy of Grade R boys!
2. We use Kinaesthetic and Sensory teaching methods because boys are hard-wired to learn more easily through action than words. Boys' strengths are different to those of girls. Boys are more active and visual by nature and a boy-centric curriculum engages both their bodies and their minds. Active boys may be at a disadvantage in a typical co-ed classroom that favours verbal and auditory learning. At Highbury, our teachers plan physical activity into classroom time and include lots of action like educational games that use exciting props.
3. We have a structured programme to facilitate ‘play with a purpose’. Our goal for Grade R in Highbury is to get our boys ready to learn quickly in Grade 1, not to teach Grade 1 content in Grade R. In this way, we allow our boys to grow and mature at their own developmental pace. Highbury Grade R boys have a smooth transition into Grade 1, as they are familiar with the school and their friends in their grade.
4. We offer early intervention for Learning Support. Grade R is an important year to identify boys who would benefit from the small classes and extra support offered by our Learning Support Centre that caters from Grade 1 to 4. Remedial intervention at Highbury is typically short-term with the purpose of addressing learning needs and mainstreaming our boys again by Grade 5. Our LAD Centre also offers private therapists for 1-on-1 support.
5. We provide a strong ethical foundation for boys. Highbury is a Christian school and we teach our boys Christian morals and values. Attending Chapel starts in Grade R and our beautiful stone Chapel building becomes a special place for them over their time at Highbury - many Highbury Old Boys come back to get married here. We also have a Culture of Honour, based on the work of Stephen Covey, and this underpins every facet of school life.
Primary school is of primary importance. Research shows the crucial years for learning are the early years and that academic performance is set between the ages of 6 and 10 years old. Here at Highbury we strive to enable every boy to fulfil his potential, while having a lot of active fun along the way!