We recognise the changing needs of our girls as they grow from young children into young adults. St Dominic’s Priory College is a place where they feel safe and are encouraged to explore, socialise and learn.
We have approximately 185 girls in our Junior School, separated into single classes from Transition through to Year 6. While they share many facilities with our Secondary School students, the St Dominic’s Junior School is nestled in a quiet part of the campus. This gives our younger girls an area of their own to confidently play, explore and create. St Catherine’s Courtyard and the Nature Playground are reserved especially for our youngest girls, while the Adventure Playground is used by all our Junior School students.
While it’s important that younger girls have spaces of their own, we also recognise the benefit of bringing our larger student community together. We hold many events, celebrations and outreach programs that involve all of our girls, from Transition through to Year 12.
Our Junior and Senior faculties work collaboratively to create a College that feels connected, but still recognises the different needs of our girls as they grow.
Our Year 6 students are part of our Middle School program, but are also the oldest members of our Junior School. We offer girls at this age special leadership opportunities in many areas of school life.
Social and Emotional Growth
The time a girl spends at St Dominic’s is about much more than academics. From the very beginning, we’re laying the foundations for healthy social and emotional development in our students. Inspired by our College motto of ‘Veritas’ (Truth), our girls learn the importance of being true to themselves, working hard, and being kind and respectful. We strive to instil the understanding that with rights come certain responsibilities – and that we have a duty to care for ourselves, others and our environment.
We hold some key beliefs that underpin our entire teaching program here at the college.
- Students learn best when their school and home lives support one another
- Every student should feel valued, and have a safe and secure environment to learn in
- Parents are expected to be involved in their daughter’s progress
- Teachers should be skilled, well-informed, enthusiastic and positive role models
- Students, teachers and parents should treat one another with respect and courtesy
- We create learning environments that encourage students to take risks, develop independent learning and organisational skills, and achieve their potential.
Prayer is a vibrant daily ritual at St Dominic’s and integrated in many parts of school life. We also hold regular school and class masses, college-wide times of Stillness and Silence and other shared liturgies. These practices also extend outward, as we guide our girls to look beyond their own needs by helping others and taking part in Social Justice activities.
The teachings of our Religious Faith and Tradition are tied to our being a Catholic college. We strive to foster the knowledge and embodiment of Jesus’ teaching in our students. Our Dominican approach to the College motto of Truth extends to a love of learning and understanding, as we encourage our girls to seek truth in all things.
More formally, our Religious Education program is guided by Crossways, The Religious Education Framework for Catholic Schools, and the MITIOG Program (Made in The Image of God).
We design our Primary Curriculum to be accessible, challenging and engaging for our students. The content is guided by the Australian Curriculum, but uniquely brought to life for our girls by a dedicated team of classroom teachers and support staff. Our students receive the encouragement they need in the areas that challenge them and the opportunity for extension in their areas of strength. The curriculum is built around the following learning areas:
Good literacy is the cornerstone of a good education, and in our Junior School, teachers from every subject are involved in developing this skillset. Our Junior School Curriculum Coordinator and Inclusive Education Team, along with classroom teachers, identify and work with students who may be at risk of falling behind and those who need extending.
Early on, we teach students the importance of mathematics in other learning areas and everyday life. Our Numeracy Coach works alongside teachers and students, and ensures numerate practices are integrated right across our Junior School Curriculum.
- Information Technology
We recognise the role technology plays in preparing our girls to thrive in a modern world. Information Technology is an integral part of daily learning – from Transition right through to Year 12.
Before they’re ready for a device of their own, our girls (Transition to Year 4) are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the desktop computers in our dedicated Computer Room. Teachers also have access to laptops and iPads to enhance classroom learning experiences. From Year 5, all students work with their own laptop device.
Each week, students from Transition to Year 6 participate in a specialist music lesson with their class. During these lessons, our girls engage with music in many different ways – from singing and playing instruments, to listening, appreciating and composing. Our girls have the opportunity to share the joy of music with regular guest performers and by performing themselves at College Assemblies and major school events.
- Specialist Areas
While all subject areas require special skills, our classroom teachers are well-equipped to teach across most subjects. We do however have specialist primary school teachers for Italian, Music and Physical Education.
We’re proud of our teaching faculty – a team of skilled and passionate educators who inspire our students through their own love of learning. As a College, we prioritise their wellbeing and growth alongside that of our students.
All of our teachers attend regular Professional Development sessions to ensure they are up to date with curriculum changes, as well as the latest practices and procedures in educational thinking.
We see and treat our students as individuals, whether they are in need of support or could benefit from extended learning. Constant evaluation and assessment of teaching programs and student progress is an integral part of our processes here at St Dominic’s Priory College.
- At the beginning of each year, we assess every student in the areas of Literacy and Numeracy
- In their fifth term at St Dominic’s, we assess students against the Early Years Assessment Tool
- Our Inclusive Education Team – made up of the Director of the Junior School, the Junior School Curriculum Coordinator, the Inclusive Education Teacher, the Inclusive Education School Services Officer and classroom teachers – meets regularly to discuss the progress of all students.
If a child needs extra support to supplement regular classroom teaching, we have strategies in place to help them thrive. This might involve:
- In-class support
- Learning Assistance Programs (LAP)
- Withdrawal (in groups or individually)
Through our Special Education Consultant, we are also able to draw on Catholic Education South Australia services to support our girls on their school journey.