Our school aims to stay abreast of educational trends that are of benefit to the cognitive and developmental stages of our girls by embracing 21st century learning. Our girls are familiar with De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats, as well as Thinking Maps, which are used during lessons to assist in developing the seven C’s of 21st century learning, namely: critical thinking (finding solutions to problems); creativity and innovation (thinking outside the box); collaboration (working with others); character (social emotional learning skills); culture and ethical citizenship (sharing what we value); computer and digital technologies (transforming how we learn and lead); and communication (making sense and expanding perspectives).
Principles such as adopting a growth mindset, the Learning Pit and P4C (Philosophy for Children) are used in the classroom and are applied practically. A growth mindset is vital as it teaches our girls that learning is a process and that it is alright to make mistakes. Our girls are also provided with valuable study skills which will equip them well for their secondary and even tertiary studies.
Our girls are also exposed to inquiry-based learning, which is a method that emphasises the student’s role in the learning process. Rather than the teacher telling our girls what they need to know, they are encouraged to explore the material, ask questions, and share ideas. Inquiry-based learning uses different approaches to learning, including small-group discussion and guided learning. Instead of memorising facts and material, students learn by doing. This allows them to build knowledge through exploration, experience, and discussion.
Our girls’ creative needs are met through our vibrant Visual Arts, Dramatic Arts and Musical programmes. For our Grade 4 –7 girls, the theory and practical components of Art are explored.
Our Senior Primary Girls enjoy Specialist Drama lessons and take part in a drama production every second year.
Girls have the opportunity to participate in a variety of musical activities at St John’s D.S.G., which include general class music, choirs, marimbas and individual music tuition. Class music is offered to all girls and includes syllabus enhancement through participation in instrumental groups and concerts.
At St John’s D.S.G. we envision not only broadening our girls’ programming and computer skills, but furthermore aiding them in problem-solving, creative thinking, reasoning systematically, and working collaboratively. This is what our Robotics programme aims to achieve, using kits that house many S.T.E.M. aligned lessons. These lessons are guided by the engineering design process whereby girls define problems, conduct background research, develop multiple ideas for solutions, develop and create a prototype and then test, evaluate, and redesign.
Lesson themes vary, crossing between important scientific knowledge, such as the life cycle, to real world problems, such as designing a prototype that will remove plastic from the ocean.
Our girls attend a weekly, age-appropriate chapel service with the school chaplain as well as a Christian-based assembly. In addition to this, to develop Christian grounding, our girls attend Divinity lessons.
Each Junior School girl is part of a “family group”, which consist of at least one girl from each grade. Our family groups regularly get together during the year to connect through fun and interactive activities. The purpose of family groups is for our girls to make friends in other grades; for our younger girls to form bonds with, and look up to, the older girls; and for our older girls to see, and be reminded of, the positive impact they can aspire to make in the lives of the younger girls.
St John’s D.S.G. Junior School has a part-time counsellor for girls who require support and guidance. For long-term support, counselling is referred.
St John’s D.S.G. has a committed and enthusiastic Academic Support Department in the Junior School. The aim of Remedial therapy is to tailor, and implement, a specific learning programme around the needs of a child who may experience challenges in her learning profile, with the focus being primarily on academic difficulties.
Therapy is done during the school day, enabling our teachers and therapists to work together to ensure our girls get the support they need. In addition to this, there is a Speech Therapist and an Occupational Therapist who work with our girls who have difficulties in either of these areas.
From the U9 age group, participation in sport becomes more competitive, although still within a nurturing environment. Girls have the freedom to learn, develop and ultimately excel, but without fear of failure or overwhelming pressure to perform. We have a number of girls who represent district, provincial and national teams in various sporting codes, of whom we are extremely proud.
St John’s D.S.G. provides transport for regular users every school day to and from Howick, Hilton and Athlone.
SOCIAL & ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITIES
Our girls play an active role in various recycling initiatives and fundraising events through Civvies Days, donating the funds raised to many local charities around our city, which enables them to learn about self-sacrifice. As well as caring for our environment, they are made aware that making a difference is important. We also encourage our girls to donate their time and get involved as volunteers for worthy causes.
AFTER-SCHOOL CARE PROGRAMME
The school provides a free after-school care programme, which is run by our teaching staff, from Monday to Friday until 17h00 for Grades RR to Grade 7.
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