At St Katharine’s we are proud of our legacy of learning and the long-standing tradition of achieving a high academic standard. Our teachers work hard to create an environment in which the pursuit of academics is taken seriously while never losing a sense of the joy of achievement.
Grades 0–4 are taught by class teachers. Core curriculum subjects are taught by specialist teachers from Grade 5. There are also specialist teachers for Afrikaans, isiZulu, Computer Technology, Music, Physical Education and Visual Art throughout the school. Mathematics is taught in two smaller groups and a full-time teacher acts as a learning facilitator in the Junior Primary.
Our aim is to develop resourceful pupils who are critical thinkers. The academic focus is on developing collaborative ideas and learning for life. Emphasis is placed on excellence, independence, creativity and problem solving. The curriculum is broad, innovative and challenging with a strong emphasis on core curriculum subjects. The Grade 7 girls participate in scholarship and entrance examinations at the Senior School of their choice.
The girls are extended through their exposure to a wide variety of texts and media. They are motivated to read broadly, to write across a wide range of literary forms, and to express their thoughts with imagination and precision. The study, writing and performance of poetry is given special emphasis.
The focus is on building confident, creative thinkers and mathematical excellence. From Grade 4, each class is divided into two sets according to the girls’ mathematical ability. This enables them to work in smaller groups in order to achieve their personal best.
Natural and Social Sciences
These subjects are content and skills driven. They are taught thematically and cover a broad spectrum of topics. In order to deepen the girls’ understanding of what they are studying, they go on cultural outings. Project and group work form part of the curriculum and this culminates in the project term at the end of Grade 7.
These lessons form part of the curriculum and they provide a platform for the girls to express themselves creatively.
Grade 7 research term
Each year in the last term the Grade 7 the timetable is collapsed in order for the girls to research a topical project theme. The class is divided into groups, each mentored by assigned tutors from the teaching team, and each girl works on a chapter for inclusion in the final product, which changes regularly. In the past, the girls used PowerPoint, they also created and published printed books using a software programme and, most recently, they compiled artists’ books and replacement animation clips. The theme is researched in depth at school and many hours are spent crafting, drafting and editing the text. Once completed, the girls present their work to an audience that includes staff and parents.
This is for children who may require further assistance in specific areas. It is separate from remedial lessons and takes place at the Class Teacher’s convenience at no extra charge.
In addition, a learning support team is available to provide assistance. An OT, speech therapist, and part-time school psychologist is available on-site.
Additional opportunities are given to participate in public speaking, general knowledge quizzes, Kids Lit Quizzes and debating sessions, to name just a few. The Grade 7 girls attend a weekly enrichment session. They also write and recite their own poetry for their parents and the staff at an evening function that falls at the end of their Grade 7 year.
The girls are encouraged to use the library as much as possible and they are expected to have a school library book to read at all times. The school encourages the girls to develop a rich vocabulary along with a love of reading. The role of the library is also to satisfy their natural curiosity. The Library is always available for project work and the changing of books. There is controlled internet access available as another resource for the girls’ research work.