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Tara is a place where girls are cared for, protected and challenged, and stimulated to strive for their own version of excellence.

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Junior School is a place where the whole school community is united in its desire to achieve optimum learning outcomes for every girl.  We want our girls to grow into global citizens; girls who are caring, open-minded, reflective and principled, girls who have the courage with their learning to approach uncertainty with confidence and independence.

Junior School is a place that is large enough to offer a rich and varied academic, pastoral and cocurricular suite, and for every girl to enjoy a range of diverse friendships. Junior School is small enough for every girl to experience a holistic education, with opportunities across the curriculum, and be deeply known and valued by her teachers and students throughout the School.

In order to be effective inquirers and agents in their world, girls need to gain subject knowledge, including fundamental literacy and numeracy skills. However, at Tara we know this is not enough. Girls also need to acquire skills to help them thrive in a time of disruptive change, high levels of connectivity and unlimited technological possibilities. It is essential for students of today to know how to learn.

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The Junior School is an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School authorised to implement the Primary Years Programme (PYP). IB World Schools share a common philosophy — a commitment to high quality, challenging, international education that Tara Anglican School for Girls believes is important for our students. The International Baccalaureate’s (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) provides our girls and teachers with a research-informed framework which includes interrelated skills known as ‘Approaches to Learning’ (ATL). These cognitive, real-world skills and dispositions across a range of contexts empower individuals and set the scene for lifelong learning.

 
 

Frequently Asked Questions

New South Wales curriculum outcomes are mandatory for all schools. The PYP is a useful tool for organising this learning. Rather than being fragmented into traditional subject areas, learning is connected and presented through themed units. Each unit lasts between six and ten weeks, and involves teachers and children exploring and inquiring into an important central idea.

The IB values student agency. Teachers design programs which bring students into the centre, and in doing so, we create a learning culture of action where students have the power to effect change, be visible and be understood.

The aim of all IB programmes is to develop internationally minded people who, recognising their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world. The IB Learner Profile below, is a set of ten attributes valued by IB World Schools. We believe these attributes, and others like them, can help us become responsible members of local, national and global communities.  As IB learners we strive to be: 

Inquirers
We nurture our curiosity, developing skills for inquiry and research.  We know how to learn independently and with others.  We learn with enthusiasm and sustain our love of learning throughout life.

Knowledgeable
We develop and use conceptual understanding, exploring knowledge across a range of disciplines.  We engage with issues and ideas that have local and global significance.

Communicators
We express ourselves confidently and creatively in more than one language and in many ways.  We collaborate effectively, listening carefully to the perspectives of other individuals and groups.

Thinkers
We use critical and creative thinking skills to analyse and take responsible action on complex problems.  We exercise initiative in making reasoned, ethical decisions.

Principled
We act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness and justice, and with respect for the dignity and rights of people everywhere.  We take responsibility for our actions and their consequences.

Caring
We show empathy, compassion and respect.  We have a commitment to service, and we act to make a positive difference in the lives of others and in the world around us.

Reflective
We thoughtfully consider the world and our own ideas and experience.  We work to understand our strengths and weaknesses in order to support our learning and personal development.

Courageous
We approach uncertainty with forethought and determination; we work independently and cooperatively to explore new ideas and innovative strategies. We are resourceful and resilient in the face of challenges and change.

Balanced
We understand the importance of balancing different aspects of our lives – intellectual, physical, and emotional – to achieve well-being for ourselves and others.  We recognise our interdependence with other people and with the world in which we live.

Open-minded
We critically appreciate our own cultures and personal histories, as well as the values and traditions of others.  We seek and evaluate a range of points of view, and we are willing to grow from the experience.

If you wish to read more about the International Baccalaureate Organisation, please visit the official website.

At Tara there is a long history of educating girls to make a positive impact on the world. An educated girl knows her worth lies in her character and strength, rather than her appearance or gender.

Girls come to understand their identity and to shape their self-concept, self-efficacy, and self-confidence. So equipped, they develop the knowledge and skills required to reject and overcome the stereotypes that attempt to define, direct or diminish them. Girls learn they are infinitely capable, confident, creative and intelligent, with capacity for challenge, service and compassion. Specifically tailored physical environments and varied opportunities across curriculum areas, including STEM, allow Tara girls to succeed and develop intellectually, socially, emotionally and physically.

At Tara, teachers recognise how girls learn best, and so learning activities are designed to be both inviting and challenging. Teachers recognise the centrality of friendship and the importance of connection for girls; relationships and emotional connections impact on the learning process and therefore feature as a learning focus. Play and learning spaces at Tara are designed to encourage adventure and courageous behaviour.

The Junior School Learning Support Team ensures each girl is fully supported throughout all areas of her schooling. For some girls this will be a boost so they can achieve age appropriate benchmarks. For other girls it will be experiences to enhance and extend their existing competencies and masteries.

We recognise that each student learns differently; being ready at different times, and so our programs reflect this. Our teachers and learning support team work collaboratively to prioritise the need for every girl to experience success. Our procedures for tracking student progress ensure every child is monitored, supported and challenged.

At Tara, “learning support” has no negative connotations. We understand the impact of mindset in learning, and therefore we minimise the degree to which a child is withdrawn from her regular class into Tara’s special programs. As much as possible, our interventions are offered before school or in-class, ameliorating any sense in a child, who is fragile in her learning, that she is ‘different’.  This growth mindset approach sees each girl focus on achieving her ‘next step’, replacing an ‘I can’t’ attitude with a ‘I can’t yet’ view of her progress.

Tara takes seriously the teaching and learning of reading. All staff are trained in our research-informed approach which utilises explicit teaching of phonics, reading, vocabulary and comprehension.

All teachers identify and enrich the learning needs of all girls, including those who have strengths across the curriculum. This happens, where girls contribute to the direction of learning by posing quandaries and hypotheses. Teachers enrich girls’ areas of strength and interest through stimulating and creative learning opportunities both within the regular curriculum through an inquiry approach to learning, and outside the classroom through special enrichment events.

The Junior School Gifted and Talented Specialist coordinates the work of identifying and supporting girls with talents across the curriculum.

The arts, technology, and physical wellbeing are integral part of every girl’s Tara experience, with weekly specialist lessons in music, visual art, technology, PE and library. From Year 1 girls learn Spanish as an additional language. From Year 3 girls participate in specialist drama lessons. In Years 3 and 4 all girls participate in the Instrumental Program, with weekly small group tuition.

Music

  • Mary Elizabeth Choir (For all girls in Years 3-6, divided into the Mary Choir for Years 3-4, and the Elizabeth Choir for Years 5-6)
  • Ellangowan Choir (For all girls in Kindergarten-Year 2)
  • Cedars Concert Band (For girls in Years 3-6)
  • Roseneath Band (A training band for Junior School girls)
  • Arcadia Strings (An ensemble for Junior School string players)

Tara participates each year in an annual Band Day Festival and a Strings Ensemble Day.

Visual Art

Through visual art, the girls gain technical skills and knowledge, and explore art as a medium of personal expression. Visual Arts is about connection, where learning is authenticated by linking in with classroom units of inquiry and real-life contexts.  The visual arts in the Junior School is a place of colour and texture, diverse media and tools, experimentation and investigation, and joy and surprise.  Students have the opportunity to express their individual uniqueness. Our Art Walk and Exhibition is an annual celebration of the creative growth of every girl.

Spanish

Research has linked learning a language with increased intellectual enrichment, cognitive development, literacy, tolerance and respect, adaptability and opportunities to develop friendships.

Spanish learning is embedded in and integral to the life of the classroom. The girls have the benefit of three Spanish lessons every week, learning alongside their classroom teacher in every lesson. This means the girls are experiencing Spanish often, both formally during Spanish lessons, but also importantly, incidentally as their teacher is able to bring in Spanish vocabulary naturally and in a meaningful way throughout the week. 

Sport and PE

Physical education at Tara focuses on learning about the imperative of a balanced life to achieve lifelong wellbeing for ourselves and others. Tara’s playground, sports oval, gymnasium and pool are inviting spaces which give opportunity for the entire Junior School to engage with a variety of energetic and relevant learning experiences.

Tara girls’ experiences are wide and varied:  football, athletics, dance, hockey, cheerleading, gymnastics, netball, tennis, cooperative games and cricket, to mention a few.  Our School carnivals are the highlight of the calendar, and events where the school community experiences a sense of belonging through support, encouragement and fun.

Additional cocurricular opportunities for students can be accessed through the Tara Enrichment Centre.

Regardless of her language background or ability, language is how a girl expresses herself, her culture and her faith, and communicates and makes sense of the world. At Tara, girls learn language, learn about language and learn through language.

Language is an essential tool for living. It is transdisciplinary – integral to and transcends all disciplines and therefore all teachers are language teachers and all spaces are language learning centres.

The teaching and learning of English incorporates an integrated model of reading, viewing, writing, responding, spelling, handwriting/word processing, and grammar and punctuation, across a range of multi-modal texts.  Our philosophy of language supports language development, additional language learning and the mother tongue.

Upon enrolment, students will be assessed for their English readiness, and support programs will be offered if necessary.

Tara welcomes students and families from many backgrounds and faiths into our School community.

As an outworking and expression of our faith, all girls have opportunities to develop a heart for service for others, and the necessary skills to be able to enact this.

STEM

STEM involves finding out about the world in a systematic way. STEM is not just a body of discrete knowledge but is a process of in-depth inquiry and investigation for a real purpose. STEM inquiries are a distinct way of finding answers to interesting questions and solutions to important problems.

All Tara girls are scientists. They learn an appreciation and awareness of the world as it is viewed from a scientific perspective. Science equips the girls with the ability to explain behaviour, relationships and phenomena, of objects around us in the natural and made world. Scientific inquiry is intimately connected to curiosity and ingenuity, acknowledging that our understanding of the world is constantly changing and evolving.  Students pose hypotheses and wonderings which are addressed by working scientifically and technologically.

The girls become proficient in the key scientific skills and processes: posing questions, conducting fair tests, verifying findings, using evidence, justifying and reasoning, and using and evaluating technology. Reflecting on her knowledge helps a Tara girl develop a sense of responsibility regarding the impact of her actions on herself, others and the world around her.

All Tara girls are technologists, becoming proficient and confident in using and appreciating platforms, applications, environments and devices. Girls learn about technology and learn through technology, using it across the curriculum to access learning, enhance learning and express learning. Common learning platforms in the Junior School are Seesaw, Microsoft Teams and Canvas, and each one is utilised depending on the age of the child and the learning intention of the teacher. 

Every learning space is equipped with interactive screens, and girls access iPads and laptops. Within classrooms, our ‘technology hub’ (which includes a lab, green screen recording studio and construction zone), lunch time clubs and IT lessons, girls learn about 3D printing, coding, robotics, movie making, animation, and green screen technology.

All Tara girls are engineers who respond to design problems in innovative ways. Opportunities are provided for girls to generate ideas, plan design solutions, build and test prototypes and modify their designs for optimal aesthetic and functional success. Through their engineering experiences, girls manipulate a variety of physical and digital materials. They develop fundamental skills in spatial awareness, sequencing, construction and fine motor coordination. Engineering tasks often require students to collaborate, reflect and respond to feedback.

All Tara girls are mathematicians. Underpinning the teaching of mathematics is the work of Jo Boaler and Carol Dweck, pertaining to mindset. Girls develop a strong sense of efficacy in their mathematical capability, rather than a notion so prevalent in society that mathematics requires a special set of cognitive talents only held by a few. Teachers do this by valuing mathematical reasoning over mathematical speed, creative permutations of problems over rote formulas and single strategies, and flexible groupings based on readiness and interest.

Mathematics is a creative activity involving reasoning, abstraction and generalisation in order to identify, describe and apply patterns and relationships. Through purposeful guided inquiry, Tara girls construct meaning through ever increasing levels of abstraction. Each new mathematical concept and process is explored from the concrete through to the representational stage, which employs diagrams, signs and symbols. The essential power of mathematics is in its relevance in all subject areas, aiding girls in making sense of the world around them. This enables them to interpret and apply mathematics in a variety of real-world contexts.

Tara is a great place for a girl to start her ‘big’ schooling experience. The Early Learning Centre (ELC) at Tara offers a five day a week, child centred, play based, investigative program.  In this first year of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme, our goal is to nurture the joy of discovery as children continue to explore and make sense of the world around them, becoming deeper thinkers and more active inquirers.

The ELC is a wonderful bridge between Preschool and Kindergarten at Tara as the girls learn the routines of School and become an important part of our community.

The girls in ELC get an early start with the NESA syllabus for Early Stage 1, usually the domain of Kindergarten alone, with a foundational introduction to key literacy and numeracy concepts as well as other core learning areas such as science, social studies, visual and creative arts, music, library, and physical education.