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 and language, which they commence in Kindergarten.

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.

Years 3-6 concentrate on writing using the Seven Steps to Writing Success Program, which helps students to plan their writing through structure and develop skills in creating ‘sizzling starts’ and using interesting writing techniques.

Intervention programs are also used for students who may have deficits in particular areas and 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 Fielding class for high potential learners in Years 5 and 6.

This structure provides greater challenge where students are working in a fast paced environment, meeting stage based outcomes and working beyond the standard curriculum.

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 in Year 5 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.

  • Yoga
  • Drama (ASCA, Theatresports and group drama classes)
  • Dance
  • Chess
  • Visual arts
  • Tennis
  • Drama (group drama, classes and theatre sports)
  • Gymnastics
  • Ballet

Academic care.

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

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

We guide her to develop resilience and perseverance, bravery, creativity and curiosity, while learning how 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 strengths.

St Catherine’s uses the VIA character strengths ​as the foundation of our academic care program and we believe that by focusing on strengths rather than weaknesses, students will flourish.

We start building every student’s character strengths from Kindergarten and continue all the way through junior school in preparation for transition to senior school. Through her time we show her how to harness her bravery, 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.

Forming bonds with others is a central part of feeling connected and engaged, and we ensure girls in junior school have every opportunity to mix socially with different year groups.

Wellbeing groups are formed early in each school year and focus on working collaboratively and reinforcing St Catherine’s values. They also encourage Year 6 students to develop leadership experience as they facilitate the learning and prepare the resources to present to the group.

Students excitedly wait to hear about which group they will be in and the relationships they will develop over the coming year.

Sports and camps.

Sport and social interaction are important elements in developing teamwork, relationships and independence, and we provide plenty of opportunities for girls 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 and 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 girls 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 including learn-to-swim, 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 two nights away at camp—a thrilling experience where they test their independence and challenge themsleves through carefully structured activities.

Music and drama.

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

From choirs, group lessons and private study in music, to exploring theatrical styles and physical expression in drama, girls can find an artistic outlet that suits their personality and feeds their creativity.

Developing a love of music.

Our music program is an important part of the academic curriculum in junior school.

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

All girls have the opportunity to enrich their musical development by joining choirs and ensembles, 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 girls 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, get to different classrooms for various subjects can be overwhelming. It is a big change for Year 6 girls, moreso 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 day.

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 conducted in mathematics and English and doesn’t need any preparation or prior study. It is a chance to meet other students getting ready for senior school life, and gives us a good indication of how best to form classes and study groups for effective learning.

New Year 6 students are invited to St Catherine’s in Term 4 prior to their year of entry for a half day of academic testing, while existing Year 6 students are tested while at school.

Orientation Day.

Orientation Day for new Year 6 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 orienation 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 immerse yourself into life at St Catherine’s. Hear from our headmistress and take a guided tour of classrooms, facilities and spaces to get a unique insight.

Open mornings are offered four times a year and registration is essential.

Open mornings 2023:

  • Tuesday 21 March
  • Thursday 18 May
  • Tuesday 29 August
  • Wednesday 22 November

All at St Catherine’s School acknowledge the Bidjigal and Gadigal people of the Eora nation, 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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