The vibrant co-educational learning environment for students in Years 1–3 at the St Andrew’s College Preparatory School, and adjacent Pre-school, provides an engaging, innovative, and above all happy experience for children in their early years of learning.
Head of the junior department, Heather Orman, says flexibility is a vital aspect of the teaching environment, with a range of options allowing teachers to be creative in their planning while meeting the needs of the students. “Each classroom in the Stewart Junior Centre opens onto a spacious, central learning hallway, which can be utilised as an extension of the classroom when appropriate. This creates a range of learning opportunities and gives the Year 1–3 students a choice about where they would like to work.”
Heather says an adjacent Discovery Room is available for teachers and students for extra-curricular activities such as cooking and science-based projects. “One of our junior classes recently ran a café in the Discovery Room, with parents bringing in pizza bases, and the children putting together orders and running the café.”
Being part of the wider St Andrew’s College community, encompassing the Year 4–8 classes in the preparatory school, the secondary school, and adjacent pre-school, is also a significant advantage, says Heather. “Our students have the best of both worlds. They can be the big kids when children from the pre-school join us for activities like Jump Jam, assemblies, and special days like Matariki; and they can also be part of the bigger picture when they are visited by older children from the preparatory and secondary schools. These relationships are powerful and offer a world of opportunity. We are also well supported by the wider infrastructure at St Andrew’s, which includes significant ICT resources and specialist teachers.”
The St Andrew’s College Pre-school is another state-of-the-art facility, which provides a safe, nurturing and fun environment for the youngest members of the St Andrew’s family. By the time they enter the Transition to School programme, the children are already highly familiar with the junior department, which provides a seamless pathway as they prepare for school.
The principal of the preparatory school, Jonathan Bierwirth, says students have a strong connection with their teacher, which is critical to helping them to develop into confident, creative and versatile learners. “Our students are well supported by inspired, passionate teachers, who encourage them through meaningful conversations to be curious, engaged and take ownership of their learning. We believe that we offer an exceptional environment at St Andrew’s College, where students are encouraged to explore their interests, express their talents, and strive for excellence in everything they do.”