Welcome from the Head of the Junior College
I am delighted to be able to give you a glimpse into the DNA of Ashton, which when unravelled and examined, reveals the true nature of our three phases of the Junior College – the Ashlings Early Learning Centre for Pre-Schoolers and our Grace Wing, the Foundation Phase for Grades 1, 2 and 3 and the Intersen Phase for Grade 4-7.
Central to our existence as a school is the belief that we find our identity in Christ and celebrate every member of our school family as sons and daughters of a living God. In the words of our school prayer: ‘Father God, this College is founded in faith in You’.. speaks to the most vital aspect of our DNA – that of relationships and family: of us all belonging to God’s family, of being a member of our school family and ofcourse, our own precious biological families.
The DNA strand of educational excellence in academics continues to thrive and multiply in the Junior College. This is the seventh year that our Grade 6 students have written the external Cambridge Primary Checkpoint examinations which develop student skills and understanding in their primary years in English, Mathematics and Science. The examinations which are written annually in November and marked in Cambridge, provide us with an international benchmark of student performance. The Cambridge Primary curriculum also provides an excellent preparation and platform for the IGCSE’s in the Senior College and sets clear learning objectives for the three subjects mentioned. We have found the Cambridge Primary programme to be compatible with other curricula and right from Grade 3, we are enjoying ongoing success in dovetailing our National curriculum with Cambridge thinking.
This year we opened our new Intersen block adding Reggio-inspired thinking as an integral component of our Junior College curriculum, thus ensuring that not only are academic standards exemplary but that learning remains relevant in our fast changing world. Central to Reggio thinking is the development of ‘ateliers’ which we at Ashton are calling Creative Studios so with this in mind, the new classrooms for Grade 4-7 has been beautifully designed and constructed to incorporate an adjoining creative space onto each classroom.
The Reggio approach is an educational philosophy focused on human potential, active learning, research, innovation, creativity and exploration. It promotes the premise that all children are able to learn through the development of thinking, project-based learning and collaboration. Staff are excitedly exploring ways to ensure creativity is not lost in the classroom, growing children who can ‘think out of the box’ and understand that we were created by a Creator to be creative!
The brand of sport being introduced at the Foundation phase is being nurtured and developed to grow competitive young sportsmen and women in the higher grades who bring honour to our school, but always in the spirit and love of the game.
On the cultural front, every student is able to showcase their creativity and talent as we annually stage musicals where maximum participation is encouraged. Our wonderful mums ensure every child looks the part and certainly contribute to the spectacular success of the shows.
Another vital aspect of the coil of our DNA is our strand of significance. Against a background in our country where there is so much need, we will always desire for our students to continually acknowledge their privilege and gain a better understanding of diversity, service and social responsibility.
The laminan in our Junior College DNA – the cross shaped molecule that binds us together, makes us a joyful school. We invite you to come and experience the great privilege of what it means to be a part of our Ashton family.
Mrs FM Holmes