Central to the children's intellectual, emotional and social development is Language, which has an essential role across the curriculum. Focusing on the four areas of listening, talking, reading and writing, and employing a wealth of carefully chosen materials and resources, we endeavour to provide a structured, balanced and stimulating programme of study.
In Mathematics we seek to provide our youngsters with a mathematical "toolkit" of concepts, facts and techniques, and to offer the progressively challenging experiences in which to develop their problem-solving and enquiry skills.
Here work is structured to provide a syllabus that is continuous, coherent and progressive. We aim to develop not only pupils' knowledge and understanding, but also the skills they require to investigate and comprehend the world around them.
Throughout the Junior School topics are chosen which provide a balance between Science, Social Subjects and Technology. We seek to enhance the study of different topics by organising visits, either local or further afield.
Primary 7 classes also benefit from being timetabled to use the Senior School science laboratories where they are taught by a Senior School science specialist.
At Watson's we place a strong emphasis on the Expressive Arts.
Music is taught by specialist staff from the Nursery Unit to Primary 7. Through a varied programme of class and group activities, children are encouraged to develop their musical skills in singing, listening and the playing of percussion instruments.
Individual tuition is available for all orchestral instruments, recorders and bagpipes. The age at which pupils can start to learn is dependent upon the instrument. A wide range of extra-curricular musical activities is also on offer. There are four choirs, string, woodwind and brass groups, two recorder groups, a chamber orchestra and chamber ensembles. There is ample opportunity for children to perform in the many concerts that take place throughout the session.
Specialist tuition in Art begins in Primary 1. The pupils are encouraged to develop their abilities in recording from observations and personal experience. Pupils express and communicate through drawing, painting, collage and printmaking. Three-dimensional work is also explored via the construction of models in clay and a variety of other materials.
Drama is used both as a separate discipline and as an alternative teaching medium by which to deliver the wider curriculum. Form teachers teach drama, although drama specialists do visit to work with our pupils on particular projects.
In the early years the focus is on developing movement and speech within a meaningful context. From Primary 4 to Primary 7 the conventions and skills of dramatic work are studied in more detail enabling the children to ultimately initiate, structure, present and review their own work.
A wide variety of extra-curricular Expressive Arts opportunities exist throughout the School. In Expressive Arts, links have been made with external educational groups to enhance the children's work in Music and Drama. This use of groups outwith School will continue to develop, providing children with the opportunity to perform. At all stages of the Junior School, children do have the opportunity to perform musically or dramatically.
Watson's is committed to the importance of Modern Languages within our global community. Hence, the teaching of French begins at the start Primary 3, and in their early years children gain confidence in the spoken language through teaching by native-speakers. Pupils joining the School at later stages are given special classes and soon catch up with the early learners. Emphasis in the Junior School is on conversation, songs and games, with writing, reading and grammar being introduced progressively.
Physical Education is taught throughout the Junior School by specialist staff. Girls' hockey and boys' rugby begin in Primary 6 and matches are played at home and away against other schools. Swimming is part of the curriculum from Primary 3.
Throughout the Junior School there are programmes of study for Personal and Social Development and Health Education which seek to increase our pupils' awareness of their growth and maturation both as individuals and as members of society. Sex Education is developed using the "Health E" series produced by BBC Wales and programmes are in place to tackle sensitive areas such as Bullying, Substance Abuse and Child Protection. Skills for Adolescence encourages our older Juniors to come to terms with their changing feelings and emotions and to have respect for others.
Religious and Moral Education lessons are planned under the three main headings: Christianity, Other World Religions and Personal Search.
Using Philosophy for Children, we encourage our pupils, through dialogue, to use open-ended questioning to explore wide issues about life and develop the ability to discuss these.