Literature plays a natural role in developing a child’s imagination and providing a rich source of language. Quality literature underpins every component of our English programs from Kindergarten through to Year 6. Our pedagogy lies in the belief that to expand students’ world views and develop critical literacy skills, they must be immersed into a world of books. Through this avenue we can then explicitly teach skills such as grammar, punctuation, phonemic awareness, phonics and spelling. For optimal learning in English, students work in differentiated groups to achieve their academic needs.
Early Years Phonics
Letterland is a phonics based program which has been helping children learn to read and write for over 40 years. The stories, songs, tales and colourful characters, which are a fundamental part of Letterland, have provided our Infants students with the clues they need to remember abstract letter shapes and sounds. We have found this program to be a highly effective tool in developing phonics and phonemic awareness in young children because it accesses the three main learning channels:
- visually, through pictures and images
- auditory, through sounds and words
- kinaesthetically, through moving, touching and doing.
This multi-sensory approach to teaching phonics is supported by scientific research on memory and the way we learn. Letterland provides a balance of whole language experience, student centred activities, skill and drill, phonics, decoding and whole word recognition.
Words Their Way
Words Their Way is a word study program aimed at improving students’ spelling and vocabulary. It is taught across all year levels from Kindergarten to Year 6. This program engages learners in activities that are tailored to their individual needs. It provides them with the skills to understand spelling patterns in order to decode words – not memorise them.
Words Their Way has been one of our most recent initiatives to improve the literacy skills of our students with pleasing success thus far.
Guided Reading is a fundamental component of a well-balanced literacy program. Students with similar reading abilities or students who need to develop similar skills are grouped together. The groups are kept small to encourage interaction among the students and to allow the teacher, or teacher’s aide, to observe individual reading behaviour. Students are immersed in a variety of literary and factual texts targeted at their ability level and explicitly taught the skills required to become fluent readers who understand the content of what they have read. Guided Reading lessons commence in Kindergarten and continue through to Year 6.
We believe that Mathematics is a rewarding subject and in the Primary School we aim to encourage a life long love and understanding of the beauty of numbers. Mathematics in the primary years provides students with knowledge, skills and understanding in Number & Algebra, Measurement & Geometry and Statistics & Probability. Our programs focus on developing mathematical understanding, fluency, communication, logical reasoning and analytical thought and problem-solving skills.
Students from K- 6 are involved in inquiry-based learning daily, where they investigate mathematical concepts, independently and in groups, to gain an understanding and to become strong mathematicians. The use of hands-on manipulative and digital technology both aid in the development of mathematical knowledge and form the backbone of our Maths program.
From Year 2, students are taught in ability groups to ensure activities in Maths are tailored to their needs and ability levels.
Mathletics is one of the most trusted online Mathematics education sites. We use it to strengthen and enhance our Mathematics program and to consolidate student learning. It is fun, supportive and effective for students of all ages and abilities. Mathletics allows teachers to tailor tasks to meet the individual needs of their students. The flexibility of Mathletics makes it a very useful tool for the classroom teacher and more importantly, it engages and challenges our students. Students from Kindergarten to Year 6 are provided with a Mathletics license.
History & Geography
Children are born learners. Their inclination to ask questions and their eagerness to explore and discover is instinctive. Asking questions is how a child makes sense of the world around them. Curiosity reflects the desire and motivation to learn.
The study of History and Geography centres on promoting these intrinsic skills of inquiry. This approach to learning is powerful in its potential to increase intellectual engagement and foster a deeper understanding of content through hands-on, minds-on, research-based tasks.
Students learn how to formulate questions, process and analyse the information they gather, reach conclusions based on evidence, communicate their findings and reflect on what they have learned. Inquiry based learning is about expanding the mind beyond the curriculum.
While learning about History students take a journey into the past to learn how people, events and forces have shaped our world. They investigate the actions, motives and lifestyles of people over time, from individuals to local communities, expanding to national and world history contexts. Our teaching and learning programs introduce the idea that History contains many stories and that there is never only one uncontested version. There are many differing perspectives within a nation’s history.
The study of History is much more than the simple presentation of facts and dates from the past. History provides the skills for students to answer the question ‘How do we know?’ Students engage in research involving traditional methods and Information Communication and Technology, including evaluating web-based sources and using a range of tools for historical research and communication.
Geography is the study of places and the relationships between people and their environments. It integrates knowledge from natural sciences, social sciences and humanities to build a holistic understanding of the world.
Students learn to question why the world is the way it is and reflect on the interrelationship between people and environments. Through this understanding we help shape a future generation who believe in the importance of creating a socially just and sustainable future.
Geographical inquiry involves students acquiring, processing and communicating geographical information. Engagement in fieldwork and the use of other tools including mapping and spatial technologies are fundamental to this learning process.
Science and Technology
Science provides a distinctive view and way of thinking about the world around us. In order to develop our students understanding of, interest in, and enthusiasm for Science and Technology our programs foster students’ sense of wonder and expand their natural curiosity about the world around them.
Through exploration and hands-on Science, students are challenged to seek solutions to problems. Learning experiences develop students’ competence and creativity in applying the processes of Working Scientifically and Working Technologically to appreciate and understand the Natural and Made Environment.
Students use inquiry methods, when Working Scientifically, to better understand and explain science ideas and concepts. They also identify the importance of scientific evidence in making informed decisions about the uses of science and technology in their lives.
When applying the processes of Working Technologically, students actively engage with real world situations and use technology skills, knowledge and understanding to create solutions for themselves and others. They are provided with the opportunity to use a range of materials and equipment to produce solutions relevant to their world.
Modern Greek is taught as a second or foreign language to all students at All Saints Grammar. Our program aims to inspire and motivate our young learners to develop language skills that are both relevant and useful. We provide the students with a diverse range of engaging activities to further their understanding of the Greek language. The fully qualified, specialist Modern Greek teachers utilise a variety of educational technologies, as part of their daily lessons to bring the Greek language to life in our classrooms.
In Infants classes, students receive two and a half hours of Greek language instruction every week and this increases to three hours in the Primary years. Students in Years 2 – 6 are streamed according to ability levels. Students are taught to read, write, speak and listen using core resources from the University of Crete. Our Modern Greek program is aligned with Παιδεία Ομογενών.
The focus in the younger years is to motivate the students to encourage them feel relaxed about the language. Students are introduced to the Greek alphabet and basic language concepts through games, songs, stories and role-plays. In Year 1 they develop all skills with the main focus on reading and writing simple words and short sentences. In the later stage of Infants, students further develop reading skills, introducing comprehension and listening. Speaking skills are a key focus area at all stages of the Infants Modern Greek program.
As students enter the second stage of our Greek program, the focus shifts to reading (oral and comprehension) and writing. An emphasis is placed on spelling, the correct use of existing vocabulary and further development of writing skills. Frequent practise of their speaking skills at home and exposure to different aspects of the language is essential and encouraged to foster the development of these language skills. Throughout the Primary stages of the Greek language program, students are taught about the history of Greece, its geography and culture.
Throughout K – Year 6, students use age appropriate web apps and ICT tools to independently produce work, which is presented in the Greek language. Websites of special interest and relevant stories and articles are often offered as alternative resources for refining their reading skills and enriching their vocabulary.
Children are given ample opportunities to use their Greek in and out of the school setting. Regular exposure to fluent Greek speakers is encouraged and catered for during the school day. Events such as Greek National Days, assemblies, concerts, plays and language exams are held annually where students are encouraged to speak and promote the use of the Greek language.
PDHPE introduces students to a variety of topics, including goal setting, nutrition, basic anatomy and physiology and a range of other themes that will assist them in their own personal development.
Physical Education, the practical component, runs concurrently and is designed to offer students a progression from Preparatory classes to Year 6. Beginning as a predominantly skill based subject from Pre-Kindy to Year 2, it evolves as the students’ skills improve to a game sense approach. This allows students to utilise their new skills in a variety of games and to enhance skills such as game awareness, in turn refining their basic skills further. Students also take part in gymnastics and extensive fitness training. With the help of qualified dance instructors, our Infants students also take part in a four-week dance component, which prepares them for an annual performance.
The weekly lessons for Pre-Kindy to Year 2 lessons are 30 minutes in duration and the Year 3 – 6 lessons are 45 minutes.
Kindergarten – Year 2 Sport
Infant sport is held weekly and entails modified games, gymnastics and dance. During the summer months of the year, students also take part in an extensive learn to swim program.
Mini Athletics Carnival
The students in Kindergarten – Year 2 are also offered the opportunity to represent their houses in various athletics activities. Late in Term 4, with the assistance of the Year 6 student leadership team and with parents in attendance, our students take part in a variety of athletic activities and games. The day culminates with a parent favourite, the tug of war before announcing the winning house.
Year 3 – 6 Sport
All Saints Grammar also offers students a variety of competitive and non-competitive sporting opportunities both during school time and out of school hours.
Independent Primary Schools Sports Organisation (IPSSO) Competition Sport
All Saints Grammar competes as a member of the IPSSO sporting organisation. IPSSO is divided into Northern and Southern pools with each pool having six schools. The top two schools for each sport and pool are selected to compete in the finals day. Junior teams consist of Year 3 and 4 students and Senior teams of Year 5 and 6 students. Teams are selected during tryouts, which take place during school sport on a Wednesday.
Boys Cricket – Super 8’s
Mixed Softball/ Tee ball
Newcombe Ball/ Modified Volleyball
Qualified dance instructors cover a range of dances in this program, including Hip Hop. The students are then offered the opportunity to showcase their skills at a variety of events throughout the year including Book Week and the school Spring Fair.
Students are offered the opportunity for tennis lessons. They are instructed by certified coaches and develop their skills in a non-competitive environment.
This caters for students who are not involved in competitive sport but who are determined to improve their skill set. Students are offered the opportunity to improve skills in Basketball, Netball, Futsal/Indoor Soccer and Cricket.
Swimming and Athletics Carnivals
The annual school swimming carnival takes part early in Term 1. Students represent their respective Houses in variety events and also compete to make the school swimming squad, to compete at the next level.
Primary Independent Primary School Heads Association (IPSHA) Swimming Carnival
The IPSHA team is assembled from the best performers at our annual swimming carnival. Students then represent the school at the IPSHA progression carnival where they are offered the chance to make the IPSHA team to compete at the Combined Independent Schools (CIS) carnival.
Primary Athletics Carnival
The annual school athletics carnival takes part late in term 2. Students represent their Houses in variety events and also compete to make the school athletics squad.
Primary IPSHA carnival
The IPSHA team is assembled from the best performers at the annual primary athletics carnival. Students then represent the school at our IPSHA progression carnival where they are offered the chance to make the IPSHA team to compete at the CIS carnival.
Swimming and Athletics Squads
The School Swim Squad runs in Term 1 and 4, whilst the Athletics Squad runs in Term 2 and 3. Team selection is gained via the school Swimming and Athletics carnivals.
Students can also gain entry for the prestigious IPSHA carnivals if they achieve qualifying times or distances. In turn students who perform well at the IPSHA events can also achieve entry into CIS and PSSA teams.
In addition to the above mentioned events, the Swim and Athletics squads are also provided with the opportunity to compete at the Orthodox Carnivals. This event brings together Sydney’s three Greek Orthodox schools to compete in a competitive yet Christian environment.
The school offers opportunities for Girls and Boys to compete at the Futsal NSW tournaments, which takes place throughout the year.
Pathways to IPSHA, CIS and NSWPSSA
In addition to offering students pathways in all competitive team sports, as well as swimming and athletics, All Saints Grammar also provides pathways into individual sports such as golf and tennis. ASG provides selected students with a flexible teaching program that enables them to meet training and game commitments while also maintaining an educational framework that will support their learning. We are very proud of all representatives and boast current CIS representatives in athletics, tennis, golf and football.
The All Saints Grammar Performing Arts Department offers a wide range of opportunities for all students at the Primary Campus.
Each student participates in a weekly lesson with a specialist teacher. During this time they engage in singing, movement and drama as well as learning the fundamental musical concepts including; music reading and writing, aural training and instrument playing. There is also a strong focus on music appreciation, which is achieved through a variety of genres and media. With an emphasis on creativity, students are encouraged to use these skills and techniques to perform on a regular basis in both the classroom and more formal performance environments.
In addition to the curriculum, every second year all students in Stage 3 participate in a large-scale Performing Arts Festival at the Town Hall. This falls under the Independent Primary School Heads Association (IPSHA) umbrella and includes a performance from each school as well as a massed choir section, which involves choristers from each of the participating schools.
As well as classroom music, there is a plethora of co-curricular activities on offer to the students. The Performing Arts department prides itself on providing education, which is taught to the students by highly trained specialists in each of their respective fields. Every member of the All Saints Grammar Performing Arts staff comes with extensive professional experience, creating a holistic learning atmosphere for our students. Combined with a passion for arts education, our staff take great pride in identifying talent and guiding and advising students towards reaching their full potential.
From Year 3 onwards, students have an opportunity to join the Training Band. There is no prior instrument experience required for this group. The Training Band participants engage in a weekly group instrument tutorial as well as a whole band rehearsal. These students move on to the Concert Band the following year. The training band performs a few times throughout the year, when their confidence and ability are developed.
After spending a year learning to play their instrument in the school Training Band, students are then invited to join the Concert Band, which performs advanced music at a number of school and public events. The students in this band also participate in a weekly group tutorial as well as their band rehearsal. Students have the opportunity to continue their involvement with the Concert Band as the move to the Secondary Campus.
All children in Years 1 and 2 are invited to participate in the Infants Choir. This group meets weekly and focuses on the enjoyment of singing in a group. The children in the Infants Choir work towards performing at the annual Infants Concert as well our Creative Arts and Technology evening and Carols night.
Students from Years 3 – 6 are able to join the Primary Choir. This is a non-auditioned vocal group. At All Saints Grammar, we feel that is important to encourage the students to sing and allow them to do so in a nurturing environment. However, this group masters intricate part-singing in a variety of genres and languages. The choir is conducted by a qualified and experienced vocal specialist. The Primary Choir performs at a number of school and public events throughout the school calendar including open mornings, School Concerts, our Creative Arts and Technology evening, Carols and every second year; the IPSHA Performing Arts Festival.
All students in Year 1 participate in violin lessons with a string specialist in small groups on a weekly basis. Additionally, all students from Years 1 through to 6 are able to engage in violin tuition if they would like to continue with this program. Gifted students are then invited to participate in our String Ensemble. Violin lessons are available on either an individual or group basis and are taught through to exams.
Recorder lessons occur as a compulsory element of the Year 2 Performing Arts program at All Saints Grammar.
This co-curricular group meets once a week and is run by a drama specialist. In this class students are encouraged to be creative and confident through character exploration, scene work, script reading and writing and improvisation.
Music and Movement
This activity is focused on song and dance through modern music and is run by a music theatre specialist. Whilst it remains a non-auditioned group, the standard and expectations of the children are high, allowing for exceptional live performances at a variety of events throughout the year.
‘Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.’ Pablo Picasso
Visual Arts is an integral component of a rich and stimulating curriculum. It gives colour and expression to a child’s understanding.
Our teaching programs provide scope for students to experiment with their artistic expression by developing an appreciation of artists, designers, crafts people, architects and their works. Students are guided to create artworks using different types of forms such as drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, photography and digital forms.
A child’s artwork is an interpretation of a real or imagined world. It provides an avenue for inventiveness where children can communicate their thoughts and ideas in a variety of ways. Through our teaching, we have discovered that this translates into happy students who learn more effectively.
Learning Support plays an integral role in the academic sphere of All Saints Grammar School. Our aim is to ensure that each student has the opportunity to reach their full learning potential and achieves their goals.
The structure of the Learning Support Program is underpinned by a research based Early Intervention Approach where the main focus is placed on the development of sound literacy skills by the end of Year 2. This begins with our school readiness program, which is held in Semester 2 for students entering Kindergarten the following year. During this time we observe the children whilst they take part in various structured, play-based activities. These activities help us understand their learning styles and strengths. The information gathered assists the staff to develop teaching programs that cater for the individual needs of each learner.
The students at All Saints Grammar are closely monitored from Kindergarten to Year 6 to ensure the needs of all students are being met and that barriers to learning have been addressed. Learning Support programs are provided as in-class support and small group instruction. More intensive one-on-one programs are offered to students who need extra support.
Our team work under the strict direction of the Learning Support Coordinator and classroom teachers to supplement support programs. They offer additional one-on-one assistance as part of the intensive reading program and within the classroom. To further enhance the support All Saints Grammar offers, we also have a Speech Therapist and Occupational Therapist who provide their services on school premises. This allows families whose children require the specialist intervention, the opportunity to do so within school time.
Learning Support staff work in conjunction with the classroom teacher to develop and implement Individual Adjustment Plans for students who require a specialised program to meet their needs. They provide support and communicate with teachers, families and specialists on a regular basis in order to maintain a collaborative approach to learning. By doing this, each student at All Saints Grammar can reach their full learning potential.
Gifted and Talented Education
The philosophy, policies and programs of All Saints Grammar aim to ensure that all children reach their full potential. The school’s understanding of the nature of giftedness is based on Gagne’s differentiated model of giftedness and talent which identifies gifted potential across many domains (intellectual, creative, perceptual and/or social). The nurturing of the diverse gifts and abilities of individuals is seen as central to the purpose of education and to the establishment of well-rounded individuals who can take their place in society.
The learning needs of gifted students are qualitatively and quantitatively different to those of other students and thus require implementation of methodology, programming and pedagogy that suit their specific academic and affective needs.
Procedures to identify gifted and talented students are multi-faceted and ongoing and include strategies such as standardised testing, parent and teacher nomination and external assessment. All Saints Grammar adopts a policy of streaming in some subjects and classes. Extension programs at All Saints Grammar aim to provide for a students’ academic, social and emotional needs through a close collaboration between staff, parents and students.
Strategies to cater for the needs of advanced students, and which assist in transferring their gifted potential into achievement, include the following:
A Differentiated Curriculum
Teaching programs are modified to meet individual needs. Modification allows teachers to ensure that students have the basics in order to extend and enrich students beyond grade expectations. Gifted learners require modification to regular learning programs as they progress towards their full potential. Different programming strategies, such as clustered grouping of students within the classroom, are used to develop their talents and provide appropriate challenge.
Ability grouping is a purposeful grouping of students which assigns students to groups according to their ability. It honours individual differences and allows the curriculum to be differentiated. It enables students to work with others of similar ability, at an appropriately challenging level. Ability grouping takes place in the classroom and is varied according to each Curriculum area.
Small Group Withdrawal
The Gifted and Talented Coordinator teaches extension lessons, to small groups of students who have gifted potential, across a range of subject areas (English, Science, Mathematics, History, and Philosophy). The teaching programs in these classes are designed to enrich, extend, engage, stimulate and enthuse students. It encourages inquiry based learning and critical thinking, a pedagogy well suited to the gifted learner. The aim is to nurture self-confident students who remain engaged in education, are resilient, and have strong mind-set of self-efficacy by believing they can achieve success.
Subject and Grade Acceleration
All Saints Grammar is supportive of students requiring single subject or whole grade acceleration. Care is given to the children’s social and emotional needs when considering both these options. Students need to meet strict criteria and are tested to ensure they are able to successfully manage the content and expectations of that grade. Should a student be capable of working at a higher grade in all curriculum areas, they can be accelerated for a whole grade. Individual Education Plans are constructed in collaboration with parents to structure a program that best meets the child’s needs.
External Competitions and Opportunities
All Saints Grammar participates in a wide range of competitions including Tournament of Minds, Da Vinci Decathlon, Debating, Chess, RoboCup and APSMO Maths Olympiads. Students also have opportunities to participate in Band, Dance performances, Violin, Chess Training, Leadership Workshops and Public Speaking events.