‣ Disclaimer
This article contains information that is for general information only and should not be used for the basis of making any decisions regarding education or anything else. It is solely the writer’s opinion of the writer’s experience of one open day at the school and the writer’s interactions with the people present on that day. The writer’s article is purely subjective. Facts and information may or may not be complete, accurate, reliable or valid reflection of the school in question.

I encourage you to personally tour the school and meet the educators and students, form your own opinion and leave a comment here.

Best of luck with your search for the perfect school!

Tour Details

Number of students: 195 students and they have composite classes

Tour date: Wednesday 14th February 2024

Name of person who conducted tour: Katelyn Joyce (Acting Principal)

Vibe of Kingston Heath Primary School

The school is set in serene surroundings and extensive grounds. There are 195 students at Kingston Heath and classes are composite classes. A relatively small cohort enables the school staff to do things a little differently – in a way that they felt was conducive to the happiness and success of their students.

Down-to-earth and warm, Katelyn Joyce, the acting Principal strolled through the school, greeting students that she passed as she briefed me about the school and its philosophy. There was no formal spiel. More like a friend taking you around showing you where everything is.

Everyone knows everyone.”

Community and school is an extension of family.”

There is a really strong sense of community in this school as they invite and involve parents along the journey of the child’s education by holding parent information sessions and inviting parents to whole school assemblies which take place 3-4 times in a term.

Kingston Heath PS offers the children three food breaks along with three 30-minute outside play times. The reason being, a one-hour lunchbreak can be daunting for some kids and they recognise the importance of fresh air and physical movement to break up the day for the students so that they can learn more effectively.

See photos here

Even though the school has a small number of students, it has recently been awarded a a $5.99M grant and is currently undergoing a building programme which will provide eight brand new class rooms by 2024.

Vibe and physical layout at Kingston Heath PS

When you step into the school gates, you forget that you are close to a main road. The sounds of birds chirping drowns out the noise pollution of the Warrigal Road traffic and you’re suddenly in a serene, nurturing environment. The school is build around a large gum tree in its courtyard.

Curriculum and academics at Kingston Heath Primary School

According to their website, Kingston Heath PS offers the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP), an internationally recognised curriculum framework for primary school students. They use this framework as a vehicle to deliver the Victorian Curriculum.

A point of difference was their philosophy about teaching and learning. KHPS have a two year curriculum as they believe learning doesn’t just happen in one year between February -December. Katelyn mentioned that regardless of numbers; the school prefers to have composite classes to support the two year learning approach.

There are five specialist areas:

  • LOTE: AUSLAN
  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)
  • Physical Education
  • Art (visual art)
  • Performing Arts (music and drama)

In STEM T=the students get to work on robotics, lego, coding. They work through the plan, design and try phases. There are private groups that offer music lessons and there is also a school choir.

A team of Learning Support work either inside or outside of the class. For those with special needs or for those requiring extension programs.

Uniform at Kingston Heath Primary School

See photos here

Wearing the uniform is compulsory. So long as colours align with the school colours; logo doesn’t have to be on it.

Leadership at Kingston Heath Primary School

Grade 6 leadership opportunities include two school captains, two house captains per house (four houses) and peer support students.

For junior students there are also some leadership opportunities such as class library captain, sustainability leaders and junior school council reps.

Teachers at Kingston Heath Primary School

The staff all seemed genuinely happy. Staff retention seemed high. A good mix of teachers that had been there for more than 15 years with some new faces in the past year or two.

Foundation at Kingston Heath Primary School

Foundation students are “buddied” with a year 5 student who then remains their buddy for a two-year period. At the beginning of the year there are formal activities for the kids to undertake together and then less formal activities as the year progresses and the foundation students settle in.

There are transition sessions for prospective foundation students (prior to enrolment) in August and September. And in term 4, the students that do enrol, have 4-5 days of transition and also meet their buddy for the first time.

They start their day with developmental play to transition them from a play-based kindergarten environment to a more explicit teaching approach. 

The school also holds sessions for parents in literacy and maths and it gives parents on opportunity to meet and mingle with other parents. 

Garden kitchen program at Kingston Heath Primary School

A garden kitchen program is offered to years 3 and 4. They learn how to garden and also a component of cooking where they cook vegetarian, gluten-free meals and set it up a restaurant.

Clubs at Kingston Heath Primary School

See photos here

There are several lunchtime clubs available for students to get involved in for free. These may vary from term to term depending on what the availability of teachers. Currently the clubs are:  Mondays is performing arts club, Tuesdays is art club, Wednesdays is STEM club, Thursdays is mindfulness club (yr 3-6), Fridays mindfulness club (foundation-2).

On Fridays after school there is a paid Chess club for students interested in learning chess.

First aid

There is no school nurse. Instead, all staff are trained in First-Aid. If ill or injured the Administration Office handles it.

Afterschool care

Before and afterschool care is provided by a third party called Their Care in the performing arts hall.

Conclusion

In conclusion, KHPS is a unique school that is able to do things a little differently as it has smaller numbers than other local primary schools in the area.

It offers an IB program and their overall philosophy comes across as one that is conducive to learning whilst making the students feel well nurtured and cared for.

The community feel and subject offering may equip students with a well-rounded education that the acting principal assured me prepares them for secondary school.

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