Collaborative and independent learning are valued equally both in and out the Junior School classroom. Different approaches are used as teachers adapt to the specific needs of individual children. Pupils are often grouped for some aspects of literacy and numeracy to ensure that the level of challenge is appropriate for everyone.
Our pupils are encouraged to be reflective learners.
Many areas of the curriculum are taught by the class teacher. However, specialist teachers also work with the children as they move through the Junior School. Our pupils are encouraged to be reflective learners. They engage regularly in both self-assessment and peer-assessment and work together with teachers to set their own learning goals.
Effective learning involves a partnership between pupil, parent and teacher. At the start of each session, parents are given an overview of the year. Each week pupils receive a programme of home-learning tasks, designed to reinforce the work done in the classroom and to establish good work and study habits. The amount generally increases over the Junior School years, though we are sensitive to the time constraints that many older pupils experience, when juggling home learning with a wide range of extra-curricular activities.
Children are encouraged to research and develop their studies in all subjects, through the use of our Lower and Upper Primary Libraries, which are bright, well-stocked multimedia resource areas. All classes are timetabled to use the Library and, in the Upper Primary library, our Junior School Librarian is available to assist all pupils. There is an extensive stock of fiction and non-fiction books, reflecting a wide range of reading abilities and interests. Many are available on audio and DVD, to assist in the development of literacy skills. The Library also stocks a selection of resources for parents of pupils receiving Support for Learning.
Information Technology and eLearning
The ability to use technology is now a key life skill required by our young people and is now fundamental to learning and teaching throughout Watson's.
Teachers and pupils increasingly use IT creatively across all areas of the curriculum. The technology used in the Junior School includes iPads, desktop machines, programmable toys and smartboards, all helping our pupils develop the necessary digital literacies as well as computer science skills for life in the 21st century.
In the early years, technology is used primarily to support early maths and phonic acquisition. However, by the time pupils reach Primary 5, the iPad they are given for use within School allows technology to be blended into the curriculum as and when appropriate. For example pupils may use animated puppets when speaking in French or Spanish, or create ‘green screen’ films about life in the past.
Technology is redefining our curriculum whilst also providing a platform for children to experience the online world in a safe and secure environment. By the time the children leave the Junior School, we hope our pupils make intelligent decisions about the use of technology in learning and in its wider context.