The Queen Margaret College Junior School (Year 1 – 6) aims to foster resilience, independence and confidence in its students. We provide a joyful and nurturing environment where a strong sense of community exists amongst students, teachers and families. Our students are easily motivated and engaged, and our programmes offer learning opportunities that encourage the development of critical thinking skills, along with opportunities for the creative arts, second language learning from Year 2 and education outside the classroom.
Children are natural inquirers therefore guided inquiry learning, fostering of curiosity and development of critical thinking and collaborative skills through the Primary Years Programme (PYP) form the basis of all classroom programmes in the Junior School.
We believe a child’s early years at school are a time to develop interests and their own learning theories. Our teachers observe and develop each child by planning uninterrupted play time, building strong relationships with students and their families, creating and maintaining responsive and interactive learning spaces and offering many opportunities for exploration and expression. Teaching of numeracy and literacy skills is a key feature of this programme to build a strong foundation in Year 3–5.
In these years, the emphasis is on developing independence in learning by providing broad opportunities to build our students’ abilities across many areas of academic, sporting and cultural endeavours and fostering confidence by learning to express and justify ideas.
There is a strong focus on exploring six themes including the Arts, English, Mathematics, Science, Technology and Humanities. We continue to build on numeracy and literacy skills set down in the early years.
In addition to exploring the six themes identified in Year 3–5 and refining their literacy and numeracy skills, students in Year 6 have the opportunity to choose an issue to explore through a teacher-guided inquiry process. This leads to the Year 6 Exhibition which celebrates the skills and learning dispositions students developed over their time in the Junior School. It also acknowledges our learning community for the ongoing collaborative role they play in the lives of students.
We have a number of specialist teachers that enhance learning for our Junior students. All Junior School students take part in a specialist music class once a week. This builds confidence with instruments and allows girls to experiment with creating sound.
Year 2–6 students participate in two sessions of French each week. The Accelerative Integrated Methodology (AIM) is used to deliver the programme. This means the classes are in French only, children learn through stories, plays and music and only learn grammar on a needs basis.
A specialist RE teacher visits Junior School classrooms once a week. This programme explores the development of key values and contributes to our wellbeing education.
Students have multiple opportunities to demonstrate their progress in these specialist subjects. Year 2 – 6 students perform plays in different languages at the Celebration of Learning and the language festival, Lingofest. Junior School choirs and musical groups also perform at events, including Prize Givings, Mothers to School and Grandparents to School days.
Trips and activities
Students participate in a range of activities outside the classroom including trips to Te Papa, Zealandia, City Gallery and the National Library. Year 6 students attend a camp annually and participate in exchanges with other schools to build resilience and confidence. Students can also join a number of clubs including Art, Gardening, Chinese and Robotics.
All Junior School students take part in physical education as part of the curriculum and we encourage our students to take part in a physical activity or sport. The following options are available to our Junior School students; Athletics, Badminton, Cross Country, Flippaball, Floorball, Futsal, Hockey, Miniball, Netball, Touch Rugby and Underwater Hockey. The girls also take part in Swimming Sports and Year 1–8 Athletics Day.
In addition to the weekly Specialist Music classes from Year 1–6, Year 6 students can choose between the Band and String Programme. Violin, viola and cello are taught to the String Group. In the Band Programme, students can choose from flute, clarinet, saxophone, trombone, trumpet, bassoon, oboe or percussion. Dance and drama are incorporated into units of work throughout the year. In alternate years, all Junior School students have the opportunity to participate in a musical or drama production to build confidence, relationships and collaborative skills.
Students are encouraged to show leadership by taking responsibility for thoughts, actions and behaviour. Class leaders are elected from Year 3–6 and change each term to allow for maximum opportunities for leadership.
House Leader Representatives are elected in Year 6 and these students take an active role in leading house activities in the Junior School and work alongside Middle School Leaders and Senior House Prefects.
Junior School students are encouraged to take action as a result of learning. This action takes many forms but is often a response to a community need and focuses on raising awareness and funds.
For several years, the Junior School has supported the Mary Potter Hospice through the Strawberry Festival and a sponsored sports event.
Encouraging compassion, responsiveness and responsibility for self, others and the environment are all features of community service in the Junior School.
Taking time to have warm, caring and positive relationships in an environment built on respect and empathy is integral to our Junior School teachers and classrooms.
We aim to build self-confidence, resilience and independence and to nurture a strong sense of self, along with an acute awareness of others. Tolerance, honesty, cooperation, manaakitanga (respect and care for others) and kotahitanga (unity) are actively promoted, encouraged and celebrated.
Students who require support to learn literacy and numeracy skills can work with our specialist teachers who work part-time in the Junior School as required. Those who require extension beyond the classroom take part in our Gifted and Talented Programme (GATE). Our GATE coordinator designs engaging and challenging activities over the course of the school year.
A few kind words
“My daughters started in the Junior School at the beginning of 2017, and although they haven’t been there long it has been the best move we ever made. Educationally they’ve already had some fantastic opportunities and their individual needs are being catered for. For me, though, it is the family atmosphere at QMC and the knowledge that the girls are well cared for that has made the biggest impact. From the teachers to the students – the whole school has welcomed them warmly and the girls have felt at home from day one” – Alix Chapman, Junior School Parent.