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Learning Stages

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Nikki Williams

Director of Enrolments and Communications Cont-tara

Learning Stages

Early Learning at Tara (Early Stage 1)

Ready, Set, Go

The Early Learning Centre at Tara offers a child centred, play-based, investigative program.  Our goal is to captivate the joy of discovery as children begin to make sense of the world around them.  We want the children to become deep thinkers, active inquirers and lifelong learners.  It is a wonderful bridge between pre-school and Kindergarten. 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, and physical education. 

Kindergarten at Tara is a place where girls are given the time and opportunity to wonder and  share in rich experiences as they engage with the world.  Whether a girl begins her education at Tara in Kindergarten or follows on from ELC, it is a year of immense growth both academically and socially. Using a research-informed approach to the teaching of reading, we have designed a program that springboards from an appreciation of the aural and oral. The girls learn to distinguish individual sounds and individual words in a sentence first, in order that they can then ascribe meaningful letter symbols to those sounds. It is this firm foundation for strong skills in reading, writing and spelling. This program rigorously tracks student progress in reading, so intervention and extension can be timely and targeted.

This language development sets the girls up strongly for other learning areas, such as mathematics, a field where the ability to communicate and reason is a core skill. In Kindergarten, the girls are growing their sense of number, and how patterns and relationships are at the heart of that understanding.

Stage 1 Learning (Years 1 – 2)

Up and Away

Tara girls in Stage 1 know, that from the moment they step foot in our Ellangowan centre, they are loved and valued. This security builds confidence and helps create an environment in which all girls thrive. Creativity is embraced and independence is fostered.  Curiosity is encouraged. The girls’ wonderings help drive our inquiries. An exciting experience in Year 1 is the girls' first encounter with our second language, Spanish. 

In Stage 1, girls are connected to the world in which we live through events, experiences and excursions, and are encouraged to become active participants as a result.  Learning experiences are specifically designed to meet girls at their point of readiness, need and interest.  

From Year 2 onwards, girls are invited to nominate for the school’s Student Representative Council – a group of volunteer students who work in small collaborative teams on a self-nominated school improvement project. 

Stage 1 is a time of much growth and at the heart of it all is fostering in each girl a lifelong love of learning. 

Stage 2 Learning (Years 3 – 4)

Flying High

As girls move into Stage 2 they participate in a balanced selection of experiences, such as the Year 3-6 sport carnivals, musical instrumental program, outdoor education camps, sport squad training and Saturday sport.  Experiences in Years 3 and 4 aim to spark the girls’ curiosity and develop the skills that enable them to sit in the driver’s seat of their learning. Mathematical and scientific investigations, research tasks, online learning and learning through real life experiences make Stage 2 a great place to learn. 

A big highlight is the instrumental program. Learning from experienced and well qualified tutors in small groups prepares the girls well for their inclusion in the Roseneath or Cedars Bands, or Arcadia Strings. 

Stage 3 learning (Years 5 – 6)

Passport to Success / The Future

Stage 3 is an exciting and challenging place.  What is immediately apparent is the level of ownership of knowledge portrayed by each individual girl. Stage 3 is a time when the girls consolidate, practice and play with the skills which they have developed in their time at Tara to date. This is never more apparent than in the Year 6 PYP Exhibition, the culminating learning event for Year 6 where, through a showcase of their indepth research inquiry into a current issue, they demonstrate their skills, knowledge, conceptual understandings and capacity for meaningful action. 

In Stage 3 girls extend their capabilities by accepting leadership roles.  The girls challenge themselves academically with events such as ‘Write a Book in a Day’ and the ‘Maths Olympiad’.  They socialise and mix at the annual dance and continue to learn how to serve our Lord and our planet through weekly Cru groups, camps and chapel. Throughout Stage 3 The girls undertake 12 units of inquiry that leads them to be compassionate, informed and active lifelong learners.  The outcome for each girl will be that she can think globally, act locally, and be the creator of the change she wishes to see in the world.

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