Tuesday, 23rd May 2017
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About the School

Curriculum

At St Joseph's In The Park, we follow a broad and balanced curriculum and prepare children for entrance at 11+ to a wide selection of senior schools.  We offer a happy, caring environment that nurtures confident, responsible and respectful children who recognise their own value and importance within the world around us. 

In 2015, our children have gained places at the following schools:

Aldenham, Bishop’s Stortford College, Dame Alice Owen's, Haileybury, Merchant Taylors', Presdales, Queenswood, Sherrardswood, Simon Balle, St Albans Boys, St Christopher, St Edmund’s College and St George's.

Six of our children were awarded scholarships for academic excellence, music and sporting abilities.

Academics

Learning includes our planned curriculum, the preparation for entrance examinations and what children learn from the way they are treated, expected to behave and the many opportunities they are given to display their talents.

We believe that children are entitled to an education which develops their enthusiasm and joy for learning and begins to prepare them for the expectations, responsibilities and experiences in the future.    Our aims are therefore two-fold:

  • to lay a firm foundation of knowledge and skills and
  • to instil a lifelong desire to learn.

Class sizes are kept small, ensuring an optimum environment so that every child has access to the learning they deserve. Our curriculum is focused on English and Maths but it broadens out to encompass Science, Music, PE, Art, DT, French, History, Geography, RE and PSHE & Citizenship.

We strive, not only to ensure every child achieves his/her academic potential, but that every child is supported and valued in their learning journey and leaves St Joseph’s well-prepared, self-assured and motivated for the next stage of their learning pathway.

Assessment

We use different forms of assessment to promote learning:

  • to record progress
  • to identify needs
  • to look at the impact of teaching. 

Children are encouraged to take an active part in the assessment of their work and there is regular feedback to parents through our varied reporting processes.

Reporting

We give feedback to parents on a regular basis both formally and informally.  There are two reports and two parents’ evenings each year.  Parents are informed about their child’s curriculum each term and there are termly welcome letters.   Each week parents are invited to share in our Friday Assemblies.  These occasions give us the ideal opportunity to report on the aptitudes and confidence of individual children and classes.  There is also an extensive calendar of events throughout the year which provide invaluable opportunities for children to display their wonderful sporting, musical and performance abilities.

Science

ScienceScience at St Joseph's In The Park is focused on exploring the world around us. Children are, by nature, curious and are always asking "why?" Science gives them the opportunity to ask this question of the world around them and find the answers.

Science is taught both inside and outside the classroom ensuring maximum use is made of the woodland, pond and school buildings. Activities like mini-beast hunts, habitat surveys and making and testing ensure that children are outside interacting with each other and the environment. The Science room is a dedicated area that is bright and stimulating and encourages the children to develop their scientific ideas. There is a small library where the children can expand their knowledge and they are always welcome to bring in their own questions and objects for identification.

The children have Science in a combination of whole and half class groups. Whole class teaching allows them to plan investigations, discuss topics and compare results. Their half class lessons are lively, practical and are focused on the children finding out for themselves the answers to science questions.

Science-3Science is taught as one subject, but the broad range of topics ensures that all areas of Biology, Chemistry and Physics are included. Some examples of these are Friction, Space, Dissolving, Sound, Animals, Plants and Moving and Growing.

The children also participate in the CREST Science scheme which consists of practical workshops with local companies and schools both on and off site. They test their own skills by engaging in topics like Drugs in Sport, Healthy Lifestyles and Inventions. Both Infants and Juniors carry out investigations to achieve their Science Star and Superstar award.

In Junior 4 the children have the opportunity to visit Dorset and take part in a Science field trip. Activities such as fossil hunting, rock pooling and exploring the Jurassic coastline allow the children to experience a different and exciting environment.

Art

Art-LessonWe are very privileged at St Joseph's In The Park to have our own Art room.  The design of the room was carefully considered with it's future use in mind and offers a wonderful location for our Junior children's learning experience.   All our Junior children visit the art room each week and have the opportunity of working in a wide variety of materials and techniques ranging from 2D weaving, painting and drawing, pastel, collage, computer aided design and 3D model making, landscape and recycle sculpture, mosaic, and traditional clay modelling.

The termly projects follow the school curriculum and approach each from an artistic point of view thus offering the children a rounded and cohesive experience to their topic learning.  Each project is developed in a sequential manner and we take great advantage of our ICT facility which allows both group and individual research at this important early stage.

Art-Lesson-2Sketchbooks are kept and used both as a recording and expressive vehicle for the children's learning. The children look forward to claiming their artwork and sketchbook at the end of each academic year and, rumour has it, work is kept for many years!

Finally, we are in a unique position to offer our children the opportunity of working in a school that sits in the heart of natural woodland and parkland and we take every opportunity to go out into our wonderful grounds for an outdoor art experience.

Music, Drama and Dance

thumb Bugsy-MaloneAt St Joseph's In The Park, we believe that every child deserves a chance to shine. We always aim for excellence in our performing arts but what our children gain from taking part is much more valuable. Through music, drama and dance they experience teamwork, sense of achievement and an immense joy and freedom of being given the opportunity to express themselves. That in turn produces children who are confident, collaborative and self aware. 

All of the children at St Joseph's start treading the boards from a very early age. Even our 3 year olds get to sing and dance in front of an audience during plays, nativities and assemblies. It all culminates with the end of year play when the Junior 4 children, supported by the rest of the Juniors, put on high quality musicals such as The Lion King, The Sound of Music, Oliver, Bugsy Malone and We Will Rock You. It is a celebration of what St Joseph's pupils are: confident, courageous, talented, funny and most of all, joyful.

thumb ChoirsMusic

All the children from Nursery to Junior 4 benefit from having music lessons with a specialist teacher. Through listening, performing and composing, they gain an appreciation for different styles of music.

Choirs

There are three choirs at St Joseph's In The Park: School Choir, Probationers Choir and St Joseph's Singers made out of staff and parents. 

The choirs perform at the North London Music Festival, Mini Glyndebourne concert held during summer in our beautiful grounds and church services such as the magical candlelit Carol Service.

Instrumental and singing lessons

On average, between 75% and 80% of our Infant 3 to Junior 4 pupils take advantage of individual instrumental or singing lessons. We offer piano, strings, flute, saxophone, guitar, drums and singing lessons. Many of our pupils take Associated Board of the Royal School of Music exams. Children who learn instruments can take part in the School Orchestra, Recorder Club, String Ensemble and the Little Violins Club.

thumb Little-ViolinsEvery year, the children show off their individual musical talent when they take part in St Joseph's In The Park Young Musician Of The Year competition.

Drama

All the children from Infant 3 to Junior 4 have weekly Speech & Drama lessons with a specialist teacher and they take LAMDA exams at the end of year. 

In addition to that, there are opportunities to practise being creative and expressive through film making and Infant drama.

Dance

Boys and girls from Preschool to Junior 4 are offered ballet lessons at school. 
There are also two Street Dance clubs, one for Infants and one for Juniors.

Through assemblies, concerts and plays, all the children experience the joy of dance and movement

Sport

Hockey-croppedSport is a very important aspect of school life. We believe that each child should develop a love of healthy living and have the experience of playing sport for pleasure and in the competitive arena.

In the Pre School and Infant Department the focus is on developing such skills as: hand eye co-ordination, ball skills, throwing and catching, co-operation, team games, balance and running.

The Junior girls predominantly play netball in the winter and rounders, athletics and swimming in the summer. They also get some experience of playing hockey, football, lacrosse and rugby.

The boys predominantly play football in the winter and cricket, athletics and swimming in the summer. They also have experience of playing rugby, hockey and rounders.

As well as the more traditional sports the children are given the opportunity to play basketball, badminton, gymnastics and volleyball.

There are after school clubs that change throughout the year and these include cricket, rugby, football, rounders and netball.

We believe in competitive sports and all the children at some stage of their school life will have the opportunity to represent the school.