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We are often asked, what are the benefits of moving my child for Year 6 at Helena College?
It’s an important question. We know that families wonder if their child is ready to make the move. They worry about whether they will miss out if they don’t do the final year at their current school.
We understand it is a difficult decision. Since introducing Year 6 to Middle School at the Glen Forrest Campus in 2016, we have seen the many ways that our students benefit from the programme. It is a nurturing and scaffolded transition to the high school years that sets them up for success in the crucial years ahead.
Ready for new challenges
By the time students finish Year 5, many are ready for new challenges and excited to embrace a broader range of experiences. Moving schools helps re-engage them, opening up greater opportunities for teaching and learning. Our Year 6 students have specialist subject teachers for Physical and Health Education, Music, Visual Arts, Languages, Media and Food Science. They also have a comprehensive introduction to the use of laptops and other digital technologies.
Year 6 is the first year of the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme, a framework for teaching and learning. The WA curriculum determines what the students learn and the MYP determines how they learn. In the first year of the MYP, Year 6 students begin to develop the skills and concepts needed to become independent and reflective learners, as well as creative and critical thinkers.
By Year 6, students are also ready for new faces and new places, ready to establish the new routines and friendship groups that will help them to make a success of their high school journey.
Getting ready for high school
Year 6 at Helena College has much in common with the primary school experience everywhere. Each class has a dedicated classroom teacher who is from a primary school background. The students spend around 65 per cent of their day with their teacher, developing positive relationships that set them up well for a successful high school experience. The classroom teacher takes the students for their core subjects and the rest of the day is spent with specialist teachers.
In this way, students become familiar with the high school experience in a safe environment. The transition to Year 7 is so much easier for our Year 6 students who have had a scaffolded introduction with the support of their classroom and other teachers.
The Year 6s have their own self-contained part of the Glen Forrest Campus, which is off limits to the other students unless invited. Yet the Year 6s are free to explore the rest of the school and they enjoy spending recess or lunch in the gym or on the oval, in the library or at the canteen. Everywhere they are treated with the respect and kindness that is a hallmark of the Helena community.
When I picked up my son after his first day of high school, he was grinning from ear to ear… he met new kids, played a gamelan, had a really nice lunch from the canteen, and just really enjoyed the day. (Year 6 parent)
It was great to see the Year 6 buildings – I loved the design and the fact that the four buildings make a separate space. The undercover area in the middle is a very clever design – it looks and feels safe and secure, and makes the most of the beautiful surrounding bushland. (Year 6 parent)