Why Investing in Primary School Matters

Why Investing in Primary School Matters

As a new school year begins, Melbourne Girls Grammar welcomes a new gaggle of Grammarians embarking upon the start of their school years.

The Junior Years program at the School plays a critical role in the formative years, as we instil lifelong qualities and skills that enable our graduates to be confident in their ability to tackle anything.

Over the years the debate has raged on regarding public versus private education, particularly in the primary years of education. While both sides discuss class sizes, career prospects and contacts, we’re now seeing the data that backs up the worth of the investment in Primary Years, particularly in VCE results.

In our 2019 cohort of VCE results, students who attended the School for longer received a higher ATAR.

There was a clear increase in ATAR scores on average for students who began at Melbourne Girls Grammar in the Junior Years or early Middle Years than those who started later. The ATAR score was 1.55 points higher in students who started in Prep to Year 6, compared to those who came to the School from Year 7 onwards.

This graph shows there was a clear increase in ATAR scores for students who began at Melbourne Girls Grammar in the Junior Years or early Middle Years than those who started later.

“Investing in the Junior Years sets up good habits, establishing the foundations for life-long learning. The capacity to think is one of our most important assets, and as children grow and develop, they are best able to develop strategies for future success,” said Dr Toni E. Meath Principal of Melbourne Girls Grammar. “A student’s trajectory is often set early, that is why it is so important to place equal importance on education throughout the educational continuum, and not just at the end. That is why our VCE results indicate that more time spent at Melbourne Girls Grammar will only do great things for their future aspirations.”

By placing an emphasis on the challenge and choice that we offer at every age and stage, our youngest Grammarians are given the opportunity to interact with a high quality, personalised learning environment. This environment sets up good habits and builds scaffolded support that sees them through to the Senior Years.

As Loris Malaguzzi, best known for his role in the creation of the Reggio Emilia approach, once said; “The wider the range of possibilities we offer children, the more intense will be their motivations and the richer their experiences.”

Inspired by the Reggio Emilia philosophy, the Junior Years Program allows time for each girl’s unique interests and passions. We place equal importance on expanding numeracy and literacy skills as we do on focussing on the individual and creating a student-centred learning environment.

“Learning is not something that happens in isolation. As contemporary educators, it is not only our responsibility to allow students the space to connect learning to their interests but also to promote students’ awareness of these connections” said Kellie Morgan Executive Director of Early Learning and Junior Years at Melbourne Girls Grammar.

“Our purpose in Early Learning and Junior Years is to ignite students’ passion and joy, and to harness children’s innate curiosity to make sense of the world around them. Here we see children begin to understand and see themselves as empowered learners.”

L.S. Vygotsky, a prominent theorist of education, proposed that an essential feature of learning is the way children interact with people in their environment and cooperation with peers. At Melbourne Girls Grammar we encourage students to think, make connections and develop that burning desire to know more. This learning is carefully scaffolded and purposefully mediated.

At Melbourne Girls Grammar, our Junior Years Program encourages big picture thinking. We draw out a student’s curiosity, creativity and critical thinking as we demonstrate how important it is to be collaborative. By providing relevant, engaging learning experiences, our Grammarians discover their interests, what they’re good at and what they need to work on, and develop the self-awareness that allows them to thrive.

To see the Melbourne Girls Grammar difference in action, book a tour here.