St Margaret’s School Curriculum
In Grade 0 we prepare the girls for formal school using an integrated learning approach through the medium of play and active learning. There is a strong emphasis on physical activity and learning through participation. Our approach is theme related and all areas of learning are covered under that umbrella.
The general aim of our Numeracy activities is to develop critical and creative thinking by identifying and solving problems. We foster confidence in counting, creating a greater awareness and knowledge of number values, number sequence and some mathematical symbols. The Abacus Maths programme is used as a scaffolding for presenting interactive new maths activities.
Language skills are linked to our auditory and visual perceptual programme. Reading and spelling are introduced through the introduction of Jolly Phonics where the sounds of letters are taught using songs, actions and colourful posters. Correct letter formation is an important part of writing in Grade 0, so handwriting is explored in a fun multi sensory approach. Art and handcraft is used to constantly reinforce basic fine motor skills.
Life skills and thinking skills are discussed and encouraged continuously during the course of the day. Our girls look at the core values of truth, honour, freedom and courtesy, where social skills, classroom etiquette and respect for others are taught using fun activities. Independence and responsibility are promoted and encouraged. The Thinking Friends programme is introduced and the Habits of Mind vocabulary and De Bono’s hats are used to help generate a love for different Thinking Processes.
The girls leave the classroom for Physical Education, Music, Computers and Library, and in this way become used to the various learning centres around the school as well as the concept of subject teachers.
Grade 1 is an important year in which the foundation for a happy and positive approach to a continued school experience is laid. It is a busy and exciting year where formal learning is introduced in a fun, and ever encouraging environment.
In Grade 1 the Jolly Phonics programme continues to be taught. The girls continue to recognize the sounds, accompanied by actions, that individual letters make within the alphabet. They then explore different blends and are exposed to important high frequency words, which are fundamental building blocks to reading and writing. The individual reading programme continues so that confident readers are born and a love for reading is developed. Sequencing and the introduction of basic grammar skills help to generate an enthusiasm for written expression; especially when the girls are able to start using basic sentences to tell their teachers their weekend news.
The Abacus Maths Programme forms the basis of our Numeracy Curriculum. We use fun, exciting, and practical lessons which are interactive, to deepen and enhance each girl’s understanding of number. Differentiated tasks or activities are pursued so that each girl is able to access the maths being taught at a level in which she is confident.
Thinking Skills are introduced more formally and taught both implicitly and explicitly. Habits of Mind, De Bono Hats and relevant Thinking Maps are all brought together with the Thinking Friends programme, in enjoyable, easy to remember lessons.
Grade 2 is a year of consolidation and continued growth, ensuring that the foundations laid in Grade 1 are reinforced and strengthened.
In Literacy, the Jolly Phonics Programme continues to dictate the curriculum covered. Phonetic rules from Grade 1 are consolidated and developed, by introducing other blends and spelling alternatives. Grammar is taught using fun, practical activities which help to support both the girls reading and writing skills. The individual reading programme continues from where the girls end off in Grade 1, ensuring that reading, and the love thereof, continues to grow and be a strong focal point. In Grade 2, the written work is carefully crafted to allow the girls the confidence to express themselves more freely, using their grammar and spelling knowledge learnt.
The Abacus Programme continues to form the basis of our Numeracy Curriculum. Consolidation, extension and differentiated activities are delivered within fun, interactive lessons. The number range continues to broaden to ensure progression from Grade 1.
Our Thinking Skills are taught both implicitly and explicitly on a daily basis. Habits of Mind, De Bono Hats and relevant Thinking Maps are all brought together with the Thinking Friends programme, in enjoyable, easy to remember lessons.
Grade 3 (FI)
As Form 1 is the final year in the Foundation Phase we pride ourselves in consolidating and building upon the skills that the girls have acquired throughout their St Margaret’s journey. These are necessary for the girls to move confidently into the Upper Junior School.
In Literacy, reading for meaning is encouraged as the skill for decoding words continues to be mastered. Girls are encouraged to share opinions and to contribute new ideas so that they are able to react meaningfully to a piece of text. Different writing genres are explored and girls enjoy implementing their impressive vocabulary, language structures and improved spelling skills to share their ideas or create clearer mental pictures using words.
In Numeracy, the Abacus Programme continues to be used. In conjunction with this, speed and accuracy of times tables are taught and enjoyed by using interactive, fun challenges in class.
Our Life Skills curriculum is guided by the guiding principles of truth, honour, courtesy and freedom, and helps to develop the girl’s awareness of self, and their place in the world within a kind, nurturing environment. We encourage girls to become more conscious of their physical and emotional well being, their social responsibility, as well as their own personal goals and ideals. Thinking Skills are further consolidated both implicitly and explicitly on a daily basis. Habits of Mind, De Bono Hats and relevant Thinking Maps are all brought together with the Thinking Friends programme, in enjoyable, easy to remember lessons.