Welcome to junior school

Junior school is a place of wonder and excitement, where young minds are eager to explore and learn, discover exciting things and develop new friendships.

Our vibrant and inspiring learning environment fosters this inquisitive nature, building the important foundations and learning approach that allow students to thrive academically while exploring their passions beyond the classroom.

We cater for up to 350 students from Kindergarten to Year 6 and our highly qualified and experienced junior school educators excel in building young students’ confidence, resilience and wonder

From our Head of Junior School

Welcome to junior school at St Catherine’s.

Our focus is to develop and nurture the whole child, encouraging them to learn through hands-on, practical activities while providing balance academically, socially and emotionally to ensure their time with us in rewarding and fulfilling.

Mrs Elizabeth Worsley, Head of Junior School.

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Learning in junior school

Junior school inspires creativity and curiosity, deepens knowledge and understanding and sparks the enthusiasm to investigate, collaborate, communicate and reflect.

Our teachers adopt this approach to provide a blend of explicit instruction and inquiry-based learning, building strong learning partnerships with each student as they develop their confidence and independent thinking on their learning journey.

Widening their worlds

We continue to build on the initial foundations, ensuring the fundamentals of literacy and numeracy are established successfully. Students expand their learning in STEM, Music, Drama, Visual Arts, PDHPE, French and Chinese.

Importantly, students learn how to transfer and apply their learning strategies across subject areas, further deepening their knowledge and skills. Class teachers focus on English, Mathematics, Science, History and Geography, and we have specialist teachers for STEM, Art, Music, Languages, Drama, PDHPE, Biblical Studies and library lessons.

Developing literacy and numeracy

Building a strong foundation in the fundamentals as early as possible is key to ensuring students make the most of their learning and achieve academic success.

Phonics-based learning for our K-4 students builds the foundations for reading and writing, and we employ the IniaLit and MultiLit programs to teach spelling, reading, writing, and grammar.

In Years 5 and 6, the Spelling Mastery program is employed to take the next step in reading, writing, and spelling. This program is not just a spelling program but also delves into the origins and meanings of vocabulary.

Years 3-6 concentrate on writing using the fundamentals of The Writing Revolution and the Seven Steps to Writing Success Program. These programs help students to plan their writing through structure and develop skills in creating ‘sizzling starts’ and using interesting writing techniques.

Intervention programs are used for students who may have deficits in particular areas. We also provide extension opportunities for students who are working beyond the stage level.

We provide a range of programs in Mathematics, primarily using Mathsonline to enhance our blend of explicit teaching and hands-on learning.

Our differentiated Mathematics programs are rigorous and effective, focusing on developing the mathematical and problem-solving skills required for the 21st century and our digitally-connected world.

Thanks to the close relationship between junior and senior schools, we offer a streamlined approach which makes for a smoother, easier transition from junior school to senior school Mathematics.

Learning as a collaborative partnership

Keeping you informed

We see learning as a collaborative partnership, one that connects parents or guardians to their daughter’s educational development and provides them with an appropriate level of communication on her progress.

Our skilled teachers determine each student’s individual needs through comprehensive assessment, observation and consultation. Monitoring their individual learning style and development informs regular review and reporting.

Regular review of student data ensures any learning needs, whether that be support or extension, are being met. Our dedicated Learning Enrichment team provides the appropriate guidance and support.

Fielding Class in junior school

St Catherine’s has a well-earned reputation for its outstanding learning enrichment and, as part of our continual efforts to enhance this area, we have adopted the Year 5 and Year 6 Fielding Class to cater to our high potential learners.

This structure provides a greater challenge, with students working in a fastpaced environment, meeting stage-based outcomes, and working beyond the standard curriculum.

A student participating in Fielding Class at St Catherine's

Planning and registering for Fielding Class

Class selection

Our Learning Enrichment team works with teachers in Year 4 to identify students with increased learning potential and tailor an academic program to suit their particular abilities.

Parents of current Year 4 students or future Year 5 families about to join St Catherine’s in the following year are asked to complete an expression of interest form in Term 3, with standardised testing and interviews to follow.

Online presentations regarding the Fielding Class are conducted in Term 3 each year – for further information and to register interest in attending, please contact the enrolments office.

Beyond the Curriculum​

Beyond the Curriculum is our extra-curricular program offering a whole world of opportunity full of sport, arts and adventure — a wide range of activities that foster teamwork, motivation, learning and leadership.

Its primary purpose is to complement and enhance students’ experiences by encouraging participation, fun, friendship and learning. These programs invite students to discover new passions beyond the classroom, and develop lifelong skills to support their academic, social and emotional growth.

The BTC structure

Before/After School Care

Our Before and After School Care program is a warm and welcoming environment run by kind and caring staff. Girls can come to school as early as 7am and can be picked up as late as 6pm. We provide structured activities and free play and girls are supervised moving to and from their BTC activities and the aftercare area.

Holiday program

Our vacation care program is one of the most popular in the local area, with a multitude of activities to engage children of all ages, including siblings and friends. For working families, we extend holiday care beyond school hours, so you can drop off as early as 7.30am and pick up by 6pm. Activities include visual arts, drama and dance, science and investigations, food and cooking, and sports camps.

Extracurricular courses

We offer a wide range of activities to spark every girl’s passion and develop her abilities.

Wellbeing program

Learning at St Catherine’s requires effort, application, and above all, balance. Our wellbeing program focuses on developing positive emotions, a resilient mindset, academic tenacity, and strong relationships.

We build each student’s character strengths so she can understand and apply her unique capabilities.

We guide her to develop resilience, perseverance, bravery, creativity and curiosity while learning to be fair, kind, and hopeful.

In essence, we aim to prepare every student for their future, understanding that they will encounter hurdles and obstacles on their journey.

Forming strong virtues and a sense of purpose

Developing character

At St Catherine’s our wellbeing program focuses on building strengths rather than weaknesses and encourages our students to flourish and grow.

We start developing each student’s character strengths from Kindergarten and this continues all the way through junior school in preparation for the transition to senior school. Through her time, we show her how to demonstrate courage, creativity, and curiosity and develop her senses of gratitude, leadership, and perseverance.

Our ultimate aim is for her to use the skills she develops to lead a fulfilled and purposeful life.

Creating internal strength

Building resilience

Having the strength to cope with difficulty or adversity is an important attribute in managing the demands of school life. Being aware of feelings, staying calm when things can be upsetting, and managing behaviour to bounce back, all form part of being resilient.

Each Friday during wellbeing time, students from Kindergarten to Year 6 participate in the well-respected URstrong program, focusing on strengthening self-belief and social-emotional skills.

Making friends and forming relationships

We see learning as a collaborative partnership, one that connects parents or guardians to their daughter’s educational development and provides them with an appropriate level of communication on her progress.

Our skilled teachers determine each student’s individual needs through comprehensive assessment, observation and consultation. Monitoring their individual learning style and development informs regular review and reporting.

Regular review of student data ensures any learning needs, whether that be support or extension, are being met. Our dedicated Learning Enrichment team provides the appropriate guidance and support.

Sports and camps

Sport and social interaction are important elements in developing teamwork, relationships, and independence, and we provide plenty of opportunities for students to take part in a number of sports and camps throughout the school year.

For sporting interests, girls can join teams in a wide range of sports including AFL, touch football, basketball, cricket, hockey, netball, soccer, tennis, and water polo. St Catherine’s is also a member of the Independent Primary School Heads of Australia (IPSHA), joining other independent schools to compete in carnivals and team sports.

For camps, we choose from some of the most rewarding outdoor education programs Sydney has available for our students from Years 3-6.

Join a team and represent the school

On the team

Girls in Years 3 to 6 can take up representative sports, where they join squads and can be selected to make up a team in athletics, swimming, diving, cross country, gymnastics, or snowsports.

Once team selections are made, the students are offered an appropriate training program to prepare for the IPSHA carnivals. 

Performing Arts & Aquatic Centre

Our Performing Arts & Aquatic Centre provides a state-of-the-art platform to support our aquatic sports programs. This includes our Learn to Swim program, squad training, water polo, and diving. 

For those who love swimming, they’ll feel right at home in our brand new pools and facilities.

Happy campers

As girls grow in their independence, they have the chance to spend time away from home.

For Year 3 students, we gently introduce time spent away from home, with a one night camp on the outskirts of Sydney.

Years 4, 5, and 6 are offered one or two nights away at camp—a thrilling experience where they test their independence and challenge themselves through carefully structured activities.

Music and drama

Music and drama are integral elements of life at St Catherine’s providing students with a number of creative avenues and finding new ways to express themselves.

Our students have the opportunity to engage in choirs, ensembles, group lessons, and private lessons. Exploring theatrical styles and physically expressing themselves through drama activities gives our students a creative and artistic outlet.

Developing a love of music

Music is an important part of the academic curriculum in junior school.

In Year 2 and Year 3, students participate in a strings program and can choose from violin, viola, or cello. By Year 4 they will experience the complete range of orchestral instruments including wind, brass, and percussion.

All students have the opportunity to enrich their musical development by joining choirs and ensembles, and performing at school and at civic and cultural events.

Exploring individual musical ability

Private music study

In addition to extensive classroom lessons, girls can undertake private music study and choose from a range of instruments and lessons including woodwind, brass, percussion, strings, voice, guitar, piano, composition and music theory.

Music students can choose to undertake St Catherine’s examinations, or external examinations through the Australian Music Examinations Board and Trinity College London.   

Drama

Drama is a compulsory part of the arts curriculum in junior school, offering a platform for students to investigate the human experience. By exploring and challenging ideas, students are able to deepen their understanding of their place in the world.

The drama learning environment is highly collaborative and practical. Students engage with contemporary theatre-making practice as they build a healthy approach to creative risk-taking, learning to ask questions that guide their process and building their knowledge of theatrical styles and forms.

Year 6 Musical

The Year 6 Musical involves all students in the year group and is the culmination of their music and drama education in junior school. Students work together as a inclusive, collaborative and creative experience to stage a polished production of a well-known musical for their family and friends.

This project includes learning songs, dance, building props and costume creation.

Preparing for senior school

As students reach the final year of junior school, thoughts turn to life in senior school and the new challenges and exciting opportunities it offers.

Learning to interpret the timetable, manage a diary, find a locker, and get to different classrooms for various subjects can be overwhelming. It is a big change for Year 6 students, more so for those coming from other primary schools, and we aim to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Assessing academic level for the best start to senior school

Academic testing

This test is used to assess a student’s level of academic development to assist with class placement and ensure the best possible start to life in senior school.

The testing is focused on Mathematics and English and doesn’t need any preparation or prior study. It gives us a good indication of how best to form classes and study groups for effective learning in senior school.

New students who will be joining Year 7 in the following year are invited to St Catherine’s in Term 4 for a half day of academic testing while existing Year 6 students are tested at school.

Orientation Day

Orientation Day for new Year 7 students happens on the academic testing day.

During Orientation Day, future students will meet the senior school leadership team, have a tour of the senior school, familiarise themselves with the Year 7 common room, and collect their orientation kit in preparation for their first day in Year 7 the following year.

The first week of Year 7 at St Catherine’s also extends to a fully inclusive orientation week where pre-existing students come together with new students to begin their life in senior school.

Open Mornings

Our Open Mornings allow you to experience the magic of life at St Catherine’s for yourself and discover why we’re the right school for your family.

Open Mornings :

  • Wednesday 6 March 2024
  • Thursday 22 August 2024
Applications for senior school are currently closed for 2024 and 2025 – except for boarding and scholarships.

All at St Catherine’s School acknowledge the Bidjigal and Gadigal people, the traditional custodians of the lands on which the school sits, and we pay our respects to Elders past and present.

We extend this respect to the continuation of the cultural, spiritual and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

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