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Primary School

"Through primary school we take students from learning to read, to reading to learn. Their skills become second nature and they are able to apply them to further their learning.”

– Ms Esther Vallance, Head of Primary

Primary school sets the foundations for everything.


A lot of rapid learning occurs in the primary years as children develop very quickly in this age group. Their abilities increase and they refine their personality and interests. As students begin to learn things about themselves, about their skills; whether it be that they’re good at mathematics, at writing, or have strong social skills, their identity starts to form. Teachers need to be prepared to meet this rapid development with meaningful learning opportunities.

We want our primary students to enter high school with a better knowledge of who they are as a person. To know who they are as a learner, as a friend, as a son or daughter, as a team member. To know where it is that they fit in the world. This is the big challenge for parents and teachers. To help students achieve an understanding of who they are and grow confidence. Southern Hills staff love to watch the students developing and growing and see the difference they make to one another.

One of the challenges in primary school is that students are learning who they are. We strive to help students progress from being self-centered to being other-centered. We want our young people to be confident to believe their convictions whilst being compassionate towards people around them.

The primary teachers at Southern Hills are motivated by care for children and their learning. The relationship between teacher and student is core to everything else that goes on in the classroom. Staff in Primary work together to complement each other’s skills for the benefit of the student.

Ultimately, we work to support families in raising boys and girls that are respectful, hardworking, grateful and others focused. We highly value the relationship between parent, teacher, and student.

"In primary years you’re watching change actually take place, and it’s really exciting. It’s every teacher’s dream to watch a student go from ‘I can’t do this’ to ‘now I understand’."

– Ms Esther Vallance, Head of Primary

The primary school teaching is delivered through a balance of explicit instruction and enquiry-based learning and the program is complemented by several courses conducted by visiting specialist teachers. Currently these include Music, Chinese Language, Physical Education and Library skills.

In the upper primary school learning phase, students’ growing independence and peer-group orientation will be built upon by providing opportunities for them to participate in important forms of decision making within the classroom and school, and to work with others. Students will assume increased responsibilities, develop decision-making skills, explore values and further refine their social and collaborative work skills. Our leadership development program also starts from Year 6.

Our students will emerge from primary school confident and equipped to embrace the opportunities, challenges and choices that their time at the Secondary campus will bring.

Primary Handbook