In the Junior Years at Kilgraston we use the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence as our starting point. With our small classes, our high staff to pupil ratio and our access to specialist teachers from our Reception class onwards, we are fortunate to be able to use the very best from current educational practice worldwide and tailor it to the needs of our pupils.
Kilgraston is in a stunning setting so we focus on outdoor experiences in every year group and we are setting up an outside classroom area in our grounds. We encourage our pupils to care deeply about environmental protection through projects, lessons and clubs. We also place an emphasis on Ethical Enterprise activities, with every child in the Junior School learning about the importance of Fairtrade commerce and contributing to Fairtrade purchases and sales as part of our ‘Fairtrade Schools Award’. Our Sacred Heart Goals underlie everything we do at Kilgraston, and we relate them to our academic, social, creative, sporting and enterprising activities.
We have created a challenging and inspiring curriculum where the children are encouraged to work independently and in small groups to question, explore, enquire and communicate. We teach Maths in a practical, meaningful way, so that the children learn through their mathematical discovery. Our English lessons develop their love of the written and spoken word, and we let the children experience a huge range of types of literacy. We encourage neat presentation of written materials and begin teaching touch typing for those who find this a more appropriate way to present their work.
We teach IT skills and the children have access to desktop computers, laptops and tablets. All of our Junior Years classrooms have projectors and smart-boards. In Social Studies the pupils learn about local history and geography, but also about contrasting communities and civilisations. They develop the skills to research these for themselves and how to compare lifestyles. We take the children out each term on a field trip related to these studies, progressing to residential visits in Upper 3.
Scientific discovery begins with simple experimentation in class and develops with practical science lessons from specialists in our laboratories in the Senior School. French is taught from Reception class onwards, initially with class teachers through songs and games, progressing to written French and specialist teaching. We teach Religious Education, exploring a variety of world religions and philosophies. We have a whole school assembly and two Junior School assemblies each week. Class teachers discuss health and wellbeing issues with their classes regularly.
The children have a weekly drama lesson, music lesson, hymn practice and art lesson. They can also take additional, individual music lessons from peripatetic music instructors. We have our own Junior Years Choir. The children may also be invited to join our Junior Years Orchestra. We have Junior Years Showcases twice a year which gives our pupils a chance to perform in front of an audience. We invite parents and friends to a Christmas celebration with seasonal musical presentations. There is a musical theatrical show in the summer term annually which demonstrates the talents of our Junior Years performers.
Our pupils have PE four times a week taught by our sports team which include some individual sports, some team sports, swimming, gymnastics and dance. We also provide a vast range of clubs and activities that the pupils can join before, during and after school each day. We occasionally invite the children to come for a taster evening to experience a sleepover in our Boarding House.
We want our pupils to become confident life-long learners and happy, healthy individuals. Our aim is to ensure that they are fully prepared for Senior School and beyond.