Beginning primary school is a friendly and exciting experience at Meriden. Caring, experienced teachers gently introduce students to the routines, interpersonal skills and academic requirements of primary education, equipping them with the fundamentals they need for success at school and beyond. Meriden’s nurturing Kindergarten program supports young girls to find their voices, connect with their peers and think creatively about the world around them.
Kindergarten students attend school on the vibrant, colourful Lingwood Campus, an award-winning space designed specifically for the educational and developmental needs of young children.
At Meriden, girls are valued members of a caring and supportive community. Teachers and dedicated pastoral care staff nurture every student to develop her confidence, self-esteem and learning capabilities.
A daily pastoral care program for all students ensures the girls learn to feel secure and valued and build positive relationships with their peers. The approach includes a comprehensive resilience-building program that helps students live out practical values such as integrity, respect, responsibility, friendliness and co-operation. Students are taught how to face challenges and how to recognise, explore and manage their own emotions and responses to others. Each year, all students participate in an anti-bullying program and there is a strong sense of camaraderie and loyalty amongst the girls.
Extensive steps are taken to ensure the School is a safe and secure environment. Staff are thoroughly trained in procedures for safety and emergency management. The majority of staff members hold a current first aid certificate and there is a registered nurse on staff.
From Kindergarten to Year 6, our students undertake far more than the standard curriculum requirements of the New South Wales Education Standards Authority (NESA) and the Australian Curriculum. The School’s approach to teaching and learning is designed to equip students with skills for life-long learning, facilitated by the expertise of outstanding teaching staff.
The acquisition of literacy and numeracy skills is a key focus and the timetable provides for daily, uninterrupted time devoted to both areas. Meriden’s rigorous teaching and learning programs see students consistently exceed state averages in national testing and educational competitions.
All students, from Kindergarten to Year 6, study the subjects of English; Mathematics; Science and Technology; Human Society and its Environment (HSIE); Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE); and Creative Arts (Music, Visual Arts, Dance and Drama).
Students have regular lessons in Christian Education and a language other than English, build literary engagement by visiting the Lingwood library and participate in assemblies and Chapel services. Subjects such as French and Mandarin, Music, Christian Education and Physical Education are taught by specialist teachers.
Kindergarten girls participate in a comprehensive Personal Development, Health and Physical Education program which encourages them to develop the knowledge, skills, values and attitude needed to live a healthy and fulfilling life. Each class engages in weekly Personal Development and Health sessions that promote all aspects of wellbeing, including social, emotional, spiritual and physical health. Through regular Physical Education lessons, students develop skills in a variety of physical activities and are equipped with the knowledge to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
At Meriden, we understand that all children have unique learning needs and our teachers are committed to meeting these needs so every girl can reach her potential. Formal assessments are available to students from Kindergarten to Year 6 for giftedness, learning support and English language learning so evidence-based support can be delivered by classroom teachers and specialised educational staff.
The high academic achievement of all Meriden girls speaks to the personalised support each girl receives for her learning, whatever her level of ability.
At Meriden, we understand gifted children have unique learning needs that warrant particular attention within the school environment. We are committed to meeting the needs of our highly able students through specialised teaching staff who provide extension and enrichment activities throughout the school day.
Our fine standard of academic achievement testifies to the richness, depth and rigour of the learning environment provided for our gifted students.
At Meriden, the intellectual growth of gifted students is strengthened and deepened when these students work with others of similar ability and interest. It is also strengthened when they experience a rich and challenging curriculum organised around complex concepts designed to develop skills in thinking, problem solving and inquiry learning. Gifted students move through the curriculum more quickly than their age peers and, for this reason, their teachers compact the curriculum to provide opportunities for enrichment, extension and subject acceleration.
Process of Identification
In the Junior School, thorough, school-wide assessment and standardised screening processes are regularly undertaken for all students. The progress of our students is carefully tracked to identify those who may need assistance or those who may benefit from extension programs. More formal assessments may be undertaken to clarify the needs of individual, gifted students, and a learning pathway is developed in consultation with teachers, parents, psychologists and the students themselves.
All teachers in the Junior School carefully plan extension activities for each of the Key Learning Areas, and consideration of prior learning is incorporated in the planning process. Students’ current skills and knowledge form the springboard for new learning.
Teachers differentiate the content, pace, process, product and environment so that learning experiences are scaffolded around students’ needs, interests and competencies. Students participate in learning experiences of varying detail and depth, depending on their strengths.
Grade-acceleration or early entry to school is available at Meriden if it is considered to be in the best interests of the individual student. Accelerated progression is managed by a Gifted Education Committee, and decisions are made in consultation with parents, students, teachers and professional advisers, including our School Psychologist.
A girl’s academic ability, social and emotional wellbeing, and capacity to attend to classroom tasks and work output requirements are issues that are considered carefully in relation to whole grade acceleration. Psychometric assessment is foundational to this process. Meriden’s early entry policy and procedure encompasses the process of acceleration for those students commencing school at an early age.
With so many skills being introduced and mastered simultaneously, the early years of schooling can be challenging for some students. Learning support in the Junior School is provided through Meriden’s Learning Enhancement program. This program is designed around the principles of collaborative learning and progression through work pitched at the individual student’s level of development. Learning support intervention promotes the self-esteem of each student and encourages her to develop appropriate, individual skills and abilities.
Assistance takes place within the framework of the regular classroom or small groups of students may be withdrawn to an area of minimal distraction. Students cover core work taught in class, where possible, and are given additional instruction specific to their areas of need. Evidence-based reading programs such as MultiLit and MiniLit are provided to assist students who require additional support in developing reading fluency.
The frequency of instruction varies according to the needs of each individual. Where possible, learning support sessions are timetabled to coincide with their class literacy and numeracy times.
Meriden aims to support each girl to become the best that she can be.
Meriden offers a supportive environment for students from non-English speaking backgrounds while they develop their confidence in speaking English and improve their proficiency in the language.
All students at Meriden are encouraged to speak English inside and outside the classroom. Immersion in the language gives them the opportunity to hear everyday English spoken by both native and non-native speakers. They are motivated to participate in class discussions and learn how to express their own ideas in English.
Support for Junior School students through the English as an Additional Language (EAL) program is offered according to need to students whose first language or main language is not English.
EAL is an intervention program that addresses specific language needs, helping students to become competent enough in English to take part in social and educational activities. The program is scaffolded with grammatical and vocabulary intensive learning experiences in reading and responding, writing and oral interaction. The program design ensures that these learning experiences are linked to all curriculum areas and builds on students’ linguistic and cultural identities in order to foster their confidence and motivation.
Beyond the Classroom
A Meriden education develops accomplished young women through opportunities that allow every girl to expand her interests and hone her talents. Specialist staff develop the girls’ confidence and skill in sport, music, performing arts and many more areas. Consider the possibilities of your daughter’s cocurricular journey.